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City Manager Blog

Each week I send out an FYI Update to City Council and staff on the latest happenings within the City of Maplewood.  I would like to share this information with the residents of Maplewood, as well. 

Follow my blog if you would like to be kept up to date on the behind the scenes happenings within the City. 

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Apr 10

April 10, 2020

Posted on April 10, 2020 at 10:43 PM by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:   

  • The next City Council meeting and workshop will be held on Monday, April 13th. Please let Mychal Fowlds know if you any questions regarding the remote teleconferencing for Monday night.
  • There are updates from various departments below.

 

Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION 

COVID-19 Workers Compensation Bill

https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/covid-19/files/COVIDWorkersComp.pdf?v=4062020

 

A bill was passed Tuesday and signed by Gov. Tim Walz Wednesday that changes Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law to include a presumption that whenever a first responder, health care worker or others on the front line of the state’s coronavirus response gets COVID-19, they got it on the job.

 

While the impact to Maplewood is unknown at this point, initial cost estimates from $320 million to $596 million statewide, according to the state Department of Labor and Industries. What’s more, the added cost would be borne not by all employers who pay into the system, but by the employers of the covered workers. As set up currently, cities and counties would pay more if their police and firefighters get COVID-19, as would private and nonprofit hospitals and other healthcare entities. We will continue to monitor and advocate for a  significant contribution from the State to cover additional expenses.

 

Employee Wellness

The city’s Wellness Program continues to offer programs and service for employees working from home.  Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), healthy eating habits, exercise, and mental health outreach efforts are just a part of the robust programs/services offered to employees.  These efforts have yielded huge dividends in the past (18% reduction in healthcare premiums in 2020) and our 1st trimester period reports are coming in showing strong participation.

 

IT

Technology Setup for Next Council Meeting

Our next City Council meeting is fast approaching.  The purpose of this FYI item is to make sure that we are all on the same page regarding the expectations for the next meeting.  The feedback we received at the end of the last meeting was that calling in via the phone went well and that having Councilmembers on screen via video is not preferred.  That being said we are planning on setting up the next meeting as follows:

 

  1. Councilmembers will dial in to meeting audio just as they did last meeting
  2. NEW:  Councilmembers would also join the Zoom meeting via their preferred device (iPad).  Doing so, will allow you to view any remote presentations given by staff.
  3. NEW:  Staff presenting will also join using their computer/iPad and the host will allow them to share their screen at the appropriate time to present their item
  4. NEW:  Communications will capture Zoom meeting for live broadcast on Ch. 16 and online
  5. Meeting will be recorded via Zoom and existing video system for replay

 

If you have any comments, suggestions or questions please sent them to Mychal and Melinda.

 

COMMUNICATIONS
Big Shout out to our collaboration with Nature Center and Parks and Recreation.  Through social media we’ve been able to maintain a reach into the community despite ceased in-person programing.

Each of the three Meet the Animal videos had a reach that neared or surpassed 1,000 people, with average engagement (meaning people clicked on or reacted to the posts) over 200 for each.  These are some of the highest viewing numbers for the Nature Center’s Facebook Page.  In the past month the, page has gained more than 90 followers. 

Check out the Nature Center’s latest videos at Facebook.com/MaplewoodNatureCenter/

 

Over on the Park and Rec page, they’ve been providing near daily recreational lessons, with their Priory Preserves and What’s in a Park Wednesday reaching more than 1000 people.

Check out these videos and updates at facebook.com/MaplewoodNatureCenter/

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

Public Safety continues to monitor and prepare for the COVID-19 crisis and has continued to escalate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as the contagion spreads.  Police Officers and Fire/EMS personnel are now required to wear surgical masks for contacts with other members of staff such as time spent in the office, and are wearing N95 masks during calls for service.  Public safety staff also continue to use full PPE during incidents which are evaluated to be at risk for exposure.  All public safety staff are receiving updates and additional training on PPE as well.  The Police Department will be moving to a different schedule next week in an effort to lower the risk of staff contaminating each other as well.

 

Related to COVID-19, the Maplewood Fire/EMS Department was notified by the Minnesota Department of Health that they would be receiving a short-term emergency funding grant related to being an EMS provider.  Details as to when payment would be received are still unclear.  This is only one of the grants that has been applied for, and while it is less than the amount requested it will help our EMS department to cover some related expenses (Award notice attached).

 

The Police and Fire Departments will be working with our communities families on a “Birthday Patrol” for kids who are homebound and unable to have a normal birthday party.  Police and Fire will be driving by with Emergency lights activated and issuing a “Happy Birthday” from their vehicles.  This type of outreach has been popular and well regarded in other communities such as Hopkins and Savage.  After a single post on social media the Public Safety Department already has over 10 requests for a “Birthday Patrol” for youth in our community.

 

Public Safety also launched a program that is designed to notify first responders if there are persons living in a residence who may have a disability.  The program is being modeled after a successful program in St. Paul and is voluntary for our residents.  Essentially residents will have access to a free sticker that they can affix to their home (typically the front door) to notify first responders that a resident may be deaf or hard of hearing; have Dementia or Alzheimer’s; or have Autism or Special Needs.  A copy of the stickers is attached, and we will be advertising this program through social media.

 

NEWS FROM THE WEEK

https://www.twincities.com/2020/04/06/coronavirus-minnesota-law-enforcement-begin-to-cite-those-violating-stay-at-home-order/  Reference:  Lt. Dan Busack

 

I wish you a Happy Easter. It will be strange not to be with friends and family but I suspect we will be communicating in new ways to stay connected. Be well. MelindaMonday will be our second teleconference City Council meeting. If you have any questions or concerns, please give me a call. In spite of the daily challenges, city staff is working hard at providing public services and those working from home are being productive keeping busy with work and on-line learning. Next week, I will be working from home on Tuesday and Wednesday and Mike Sable will be in the office those days.