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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


A Longrie Vignette

At our last city council meeting, there was a moment that I thought was a pretty revealing snapshot of Mayor Longrie's character.

Soon after I joined the council, we changed the discretionary spending limit for the city manager from $5,000 to $10,000. For expenditures over that amount, the city manager has to obtain prior approval from the city council. Two meetings ago, it came to light that we did this as a policy change in 2008, but the previous change (reducing it to $5,000 in 2006) had been done by means of an ordinance.

Given staff changes in relevant positions (city manager, finance director, city attorney) since the ordinance was passed, and the strangeness of doing it by ordinance in the first place, it's not too surprising that the current occupants of those positions were blindsided. Still, everyone but me on the council was there when it passed and voted on it, for or against, and they all seem to have forgotten too. Or did they?

How does one interpret this? Is Diana saying that she knew all along it was an ordinance, and was just hanging on to that knowledge as an "ace in the hole" to spring on the council at a politically opportune time (like this election season)? Or is it just pride, not wanting to admit an imperfect memory like everyone else?

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