Civic beat: Pogemiller leaving

Share this:
November 7, 2011
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter
Pogemiller leaving Legislature for higher ed post

State Sen. Larry Pogemiller, the longtime lawmaker from Northeast Minneapolis and former Senate majority leader, is stepping down after 31 years to take a job in Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration.

Pogemiller will take over as director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. That office provides students with financial aid programs and post-secondary information, and administers $150 million in need-based grants to Minnesota residents attending Minnesota institutions.  

Pogemiller was elected to the House in 1980 and to the Senate in 1982, winning every election since. He served as Senate majority leader from 2007 until 2011, when the DFL lost control of the Senate.

Pogemiller was born and raised in Minneapolis, graduating from DeLaSalle High School and holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.

A special election will be needed to fill his Senate District 59 seat. That district includes all of Northeast as well as the University of Minnesota and Cedar-Riverside.

Minneapolis mayoral aide Peter Wagenius and DFL activist Jacob Frey have announced they will run for Pogemiller’s seat. A primary will be held Dec. 6.  


New leader takes over at Minneapolis Parks Foundation

Cecily Hines is out and Mary deLaittre is in as president of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

deLaittre takes over on Nov. 1 for Hines, who is stepping down. deLaittre spearheaded the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition and is also leading the development of that design.

Hines was the Parks Foundation’s first president after the organization was created three years ago. She will serve on the foundation’s board of directors.


Park Board’s budget has no tax increase, no layoffs

Minneapolis Superintendent Jayne Miller’s 2012 budget will reduce the Park Board’s workforce by 18 full-time positions from last year, but she is not proposing a tax increase or any layoffs.

Many of her proposed budget cuts were made in July, after she met with Park Board commissioners on a budget retreat. Notice was given of the proposed cuts, but the Park Board never approved the budget adjustments.

Miller eliminated 10 full-time park keeper positions in July, as well as three mobile equipment operators. Some of the park-keeping work was shifted from full-time employees to part-time employees, as the Park Board added 8,800 seasonal park keeper hours.

In total, Miller’s budget reduces the number of full-time positions from 483 to 465, when factoring in the mid-year adjustments. When part-time hours are considered, overall Park Board staffing would decrease from 811 to 801.

All reductions were handled through eliminating vacant positions, not through layoffs.

Miller’s most significant proposal is the closure of Fort Snelling golf course.

It’s unclear if the Park Board will be able to close the course because it has a lease with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that includes a revenue sharing pact.

According to Park Board stats, the Fort Snelling golf course lost $75,000 in 2010. The course has lost money every year since 2000, including a loss of $105,000 in 2007.

The Park Board would spend $58.4 million in 2012 under Miller’s budget, down slightly from $58.7 million in 2011.

In her budget materials, Miller also included a list of requests from Park Board members that did not get included in the budgets, mostly due to financial restraints.

For instance, Commissioner Brad Bourn (Sixth District) asked for lifeguards at every public swimming area.

Park Board President John Erwin asked for more swimming docks, as well as the introduction of yoga programs and stationary bikes around the Chain of Lakes. He also wanted a bigger movie screen for Movies in the Park and
an ice skating rink at Loring Park.

Those requests were left out of the budget, and Miller mostly held to the overwhelming request of Park Board commissioners to “maintain what we have,” as Commissioner Anita Tabb wrote in her requests.

Reach Nick Halter at