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Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Diana Longrie Evaluates Copeland

At the DFL screening for resolutions of support, one audience member asked mayoral candidates what they would do about the city's increased insurance costs due to wrongful termination lawsuits. Diana Longrie, under whose watch as mayor the illegal firings (e.g., John Banick and Sherrie Le) took place, disclaimed responsibility by stating that Maplewood is a "Plan B" city in which the council has no control over personnel matters.

Denial of responsibility for the messes of the Longrie-Copeland years is also one of the messages in Longrie's taxpayer-funded, two-page campaign literature editorial in the August Maplewood Monthly. She writes:
Occasionally, citizens may hear individuals accuse certain council members or the mayor of terminating past Maplewood city employees. However, more and more of our citizens are coming to realize that as a result of Maplewood being a plan B city, organized under MN Stat. §412.611, that all city staff employment questions they may have should be directed to the City Manager – the person with the real authority to evaluate staff, terminate city workers or manage the day-to-day affairs of the City.
Citizens may ask questions of the city manager -- but of course it's the mayor and city council who have authority over the manager. So as Greg Copeland was running up our insurance tab with illegal firings, what did Mayor Longrie do to exercise her limited but important role in a Plan B City, to hold Copeland accountable for his performance?

Here's the evaluation she gave Mr. Copeland at the June 11, 2007 workshop:

At this point, the insurance trust had already, multiple times and in writing, communicated its concerns about litigation. Mayor Longrie did not question Mr. Copeland's performance with respect to actions that had invited personnel litigation and made it hard to defend the city in court (e.g., "publishing a budget document that explicitly linked the reorganization to unionization activities").

Instead, she basically worried that Mr. Copeland worked too hard and too long while doing a wonderful job for the city, and wasn't taking enough time for himself. And she thought he needed to do more mentoring of his subordinates.

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