Monthly Archives: April 2010

Follow up to SW Journal story about Commissioner Bourn

The following letter-to-the-editor appeared in the April 19, 2010 issue of the Southwest Journal:

MORE NEEDED ON THE BOURN FINED STORY

I am writing the Southwest Journal to point out that the article “Panel Fines Bourn …” did not tell the whole story regarding the complaint filed by Park Board candidate Meg Forney against Brad Bourn who won the election. It failed to quote the State Judicial Panel’s conclusion, which is the other half of the story.

Forney, the runner-up, was attempting to prove that she lost the Park Board’s District 6 seat because of Bourn’s “false endorsements.”

The panel, however, recognized the validity of Brad Bourn’s other endorsements, including the Minneapolis DFL endorsement, and that he had campaigned hard. It did not determine that Bourn’s false claim of endorsements by Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Frank Hornstein caused Forney to lose the election.

The Judicial Panel stated that it was “unable to conclude that Forney would have been elected had Bourn not claimed the false endorsements. The evidence at the hearing demonstrated that Bourn campaigned for the seat for many months and received the endorsement of the Minneapolis DFL as well as that of other prominent organizations and individuals. Likewise, the Panel is not convinced by Forney’s contention that the effect of the false endorsements was somehow compounded by the use of instant run-off voting in this election.”

Yes, Bourn was fined, but the rest of the story was that Forney was unable to convince the Panel that Bourn was to blame for her loss.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

April 21, 2010 Park Board Meeting

HEADS-UP FOR THE APRIL 21, 2010 PARK BOARD MEETING

5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING followed by committee meetings. Some topics on the agenda are Boom Island/BF Nelson, 2010 Proposed Budget Reduction and Chinese Garden at Washburn Fair Oaks Park.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME.

5:45 P.M. There will be an opportunity for public input on qualifications for the new superintendent. Individuals desiring to speak need not sign up in advance.

The meeting will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road.

MPRB meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The regular meetings are rebroadcast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at the web site.

The complete agenda is on the Park Board’s website minneapolisparks.org.

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

Heads-up for the April 21, 2010 Park Board Meeting

HEADS-UP FOR THE APRIL 21, 2010 PARK BOARD MEETING

5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING followed by committee meetings. Some topics on the agenda are Boom Island/BF Nelson, 2010 Proposed Budget Reduction and Chinese Garden at Washburn Fair Oaks Park.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME.

5:45 P.M. There will be an opportunity for public input on qualifications for the new superintendent. Individuals desiring to speak need not sign up in advance.

The meeting will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road.

MPRB meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webcasts.

The regular meetings are rebroadcast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at the web site.

The complete agenda is on the Park Board’s website minneapolisparks.org.

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

Superintendent Search Timeline: Proposed Timeline for Executive Recruitment of M P R B Superintendent

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH TIMELINE: PROPOSED TIMELINE FOR EXECUTIVE RECRUITMENT OF MPRB SUPERINTENDENT

Activity and Target Date
√ Public input on Superintendent qualities (online input). April 14-28
√ Public input session (during board meeting). April 21
√ The Waters Consulting Group (WCG) Completes Interviews to Develop Candidate Profile and Recruitment Brochure; MPRB Approves Ad Placement Schedule and Timeline. April 28, 2010
√ WCG Sends Draft Recruitment Brochure to the MPRB.
√ Public input session (during board meeting). May 5, 2010
√ MPRB Returns Draft Recruitment Brochure (with edits) to WCG. May 13, 2010
√ WCG Commences Executive Recruitment Advertising and Marketing. May 17, 2010
√ WCG Commences First Review of Resumes. June 23, 2010
√ WCG Sends Semi-Final Candidate Books to MPRB with Recommendation for Semi-Finalists. July 1, 2010
√ WCG Discusses Recommended Semi-Finalists with MPRB; MPRB Selects Semi-Finalists. July 7, 2010
√ WCG Conducts CareerNavigator™ Assessment with Semi-Finalists. July 7 – 12, 2010
√ WCG Completes Interviews with Semi-Finalists. July 16, 2010
√ WCG Recommends Finalists to the MPRB; MPRB Selects Tentative List Finalists for On-Site Interviews. July 21, 2010
√ WCG Completes Reference Checks/Background Checks/Academic Verification for Finalists. Names become public. July 30, 2010
√ WCG Sends Final Candidate Books to the MPRB. July 30, 2010
√ WCG Conducts On-Site Interviews with Finalists. August 17 – 18, 2010
√ MPRB Extends Conditional Employment Offer to Finalist. September 1, 2010

M P R B Press Release re New Superintendent Search

The following MPRB News Release provides information on how the public can provide input
on desired qualifications for the next superintendent:

MPRB News Release. Park Board seeks public input regarding qualities of next superintendent

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is conducting a search for a new superintendent and is providing the public with several opportunities to give input on what they think are important qualities to seek in a new superintendent.

The following public input opportunities are available:

Survey – An online survey is available April 14-28 at www.minneapolisparks.org (click on the 2010 Superintendent Search button on the left side of the home page). Survey documents are available weekdays at the MPRB customer service area: 612-230-6400 or 2117 West River Road. Surveys are also available at all 49 MPRB recreation centers. Surveys in Spanish, Somali and Hmong will be available by Friday, April 16.

Public Input Sessions – Public input sessions are scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Wednesdays, April 21, and May 5, as part of the regular scheduled Board meetings. The sessions will be held in the board room at MPRB headquarters, 2117 West River Road.

Phone Line – A 24-hour phone line will be available from April 14-28 at 612-230-6591 to leave comments via voicemail.

Last month, Park Commissioners selected a search firm to conduct a national search for the next superintendent. Superintendent Jon Gurban will be leaving the Park Board at the end of his contract on June 30, 2010.

Additional information about the superintendent search process and schedule are available at www.minneapolisparks.org.

M P R B Seeks Public Input On Qualities For New Superintendent

The following article by Cristof Traudes appeared in the April 14, 2010 online issue of the Downtown Journal:

MPRB SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT ON QUALITIES FOR NEW SUPERINTENDENT

The opportunity for public input on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s next superintendent has begun.

The Park Board today launched an online survey gauging residents on the qualities they want to see in the successor to Superintendent Jon Gurban. It will be open through April 28. Click here. Similarly, a 24-hour phone line has been set up to take comments. Call 230-6591.

The board also is expected to take input at two of its upcoming meetings, April 21 and May 5. Public hearings are scheduled for 5:45 p.m. both days at the board’s headquarters, 2117 W. River Road.

Andrea Sims, who is coordinating the superintendent search with the Waters-Oldani Executive Recruitment firm, has developed a time line that matches the board’s goal to hire someone in September. Gurban’s last day is June 30, while an interim superintendent, David Fisher, is scheduled to be in place July 1 through Oct. 31.

For more information, go to www.minneapolisparks.org

Committee of the Whole Meeting, April 14, 2010

HEADS UP FOR THE APRIL 14, 2010 COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING

There will be an extra Park Board meeting on Wednesday, April 14 at 5:00 P.M. The meeting will be held in the Minnehaha Room at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road. It will not be televised or broadcast, but it is open to the public. Here’s the link to the agenda (pdf):

http://www.minneapolisparks.org/documents/meetings/agendas/uploaded04-14-10cow.pdf

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

Heads-up for the April 14, 2010 Committee of the Whole Meeting

HEADS UP FOR THE APRIL 14, 2010 COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING

There will be an extra Park Board meeting on Wednesday, April 14 at 5:00 P.M. The meeting will be held in the Minnehaha Room at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road. It will not be televised or broadcast, but it is open to the public. Here’s the link to the agenda (pdf):

http://www.minneapolisparks.org/documents/meetings/agendas/uploaded04-14-10cow.pdf

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch

David Fisher: Former and Future Superintendent talks parks, paternalism

The following article by Cristof Traudes was published in the April 5, 2010 issue of the Southwest Journal:

FORMER AND FUTURE SUPERINTENDENT TALKS PARKS, PATERNALISM

David Fisher was superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board from 1981–1998. His hallmarks include the creation of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and laying the groundwork for rehabilitating the Downtown riverfront.

On March 17, Park Board commissioners unanimously voted to hire Fisher back for four months to bridge the gap between outgoing Superintendent Jon Gurban and the system’s next leader. He’s expected to begin July 1.

The Southwest Journal caught up by phone with Fisher, who was on vacation hunting fossils in Utah.

Why did you decide to come back to Minneapolis?

Fisher: It seemed like they sounded like they needed some help. Plus, I just retired — again — from St. Louis.

What did you do there?

Fisher: I worked on putting together what I call sort of a Minneapolis system, a regional system. We interconnected 640-some miles of greenways, concentrating around the rivers — there are five rivers.

It was a pretty good challenge for about eight years. But in March, I’d thought, well, ‘I’ve had enough of that. I’ve probably had enough parks. I should probably just go away.’ But I didn’t. (Laughs)

Did anything in St. Louis add to your set of skills?

Fisher: Yeah — I think I honed the skills of developing citizen advisory committees and using citizen advisory committees to make decisions, or to make recommendations to the board to make decisions. We used those extensively. When we did the first master plan [in St. Louis], we had over 700 people involved in the entire region.

Why is citizen involvement so important?

Fisher: Ownership. Ownership. It’s totally an ownership issue.

You know, those who work in the field ought to know what’s good for the field. People who use the parks, enjoy the parks — they know what works.

Have you been keeping tabs on Minneapolis?

Fisher: I’ve always been very paternal about Minneapolis. I spent 30 years there, almost two decades as superintendent. So yes, I’ve kept tabs on it. I have lots of friends there. Obviously, they keep me up to speed on what’s going on.

I think that — how do I say this gently? — I think it needs to be gentrified again, where it is a compassionate part of what people think and do. Let the city get on with its real life and not worry about whether the staff is doing this or that.

Staff should be running in the background. It should be the background of all of the organization. It should never be the front ground.

As opposed to the commissioners?

Fisher: Yes. They’re the ones who the citizens elect. Staff can’t be the target.

How do you plan to keep staff out of the spotlight?

Fisher: I’m going to listen to the commissioners. I’m going to let them be the mouthpiece and set the policies.

I think they’ve had a good start.

What will be some of your goals as interim superintendent?

Fisher: I want to look at [organizational] structure. I know some restructuring has occurred. I don’t have any answers as to whether that’s good or bad, but I want to take a look at that. The thing I certainly have concentrated on doing in St. Louis was not developing a bureaucracy. We had an annual $10 million budget, and we managed that with seven people.

I think the public — what they really care about is that the parks are maintained. I’m not saying that that’s a problem in Minneapolis. I just want to be sure that that sort of fundamental hasn’t been lost in the city.

What do you think of the Park Board’s pending purchase of the riverfront lumberyard site?

Fisher: Scherer Bros. — yeah, that’s a big thing. I remember trying to buy that piece of property 20 years ago. That’s a big connection to the North Side. Whoever pulled that one together is just brilliant because that needed to happen.

Do you plan to get your hands dirty with the system’s budget?

Fisher: Yes. I wanted President [John] Erwin to understand I wouldn’t be a babysitter. I have a philosophy of running a public agency, and I’m going to make sure that that’s carried through.

In addition, putting together this national conference [the National Recreation and Parks Association’s 2010 Congress, which Minneapolis is hosting in October] is in fact a big deal. There’s five or six thousand people in town. This will be the third I put on. …

My goal is to hand off to a new superintendent the best-designed, best-managed park system in the country. Because it’s only with that kind of system that you’re going to get the kind of talent that you need to run it.

Cities and states all over the country now are having trouble with their park systems, and what they’re trying to do is close them down. What they don’t understand them to be is the necessity to quality of life that Minneapolis knows makes it such a treasure. Minneapolis really understands that.

That’s sort of the mystique of Minneapolis. But it’s also got to be known professionally as a well-managed, well-run parks system.