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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


What's My Motivation?

Why am I running for office? The short answer is that I have concluded that Maplewood city governance is broken, and I believe I can help fix it.

Over the coming months, this website is meant to explore the long answer to that question, but let me kick things off with some general observations.

I know that political candidates often have laundry lists of things they want to do — support this project, oppose that one, cut these taxes, raise those fees, cut that budget, etc. There's a place for that, but I think in the current Maplewood situation the problems run much deeper. Until we restore some competence and a basic respect for process at the top of city government, none of those policy debates really matter.

Let me give you an example: the firing of Deputy Chief John Banick. Set aside the policy question of whether or not the deputy police chief's position belongs in our police department. Whether by choice or ignorance, the city did not follow its own written policy concerning job eliminations, and it did not respect state law with regard to role of the Police Civil Service Commission. As a result, the city is embroiled in a completely unnecessary lawsuit, which we appear certain to lose.

We've seen many more examples over the last year, and I'll talk about some of them in the future. For now, let me suggest that we need to restore professional management and a respect for process at the top. That can only happen by changing the council majority, and by hiring a competent and professional city manager capable of executing its will effectively. Then we will be in a position to engage in meaningful debates about the policy details.

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