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City Council gives Bodway good review (10/17/2012)
By Emily Buss

The Winona City Council held a closed meeting on October 8, 2012, to conduct a performance evaluation of City Manager Judy Bodway. During Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Jerry Miller read the review and said Bodway had "exceeded all expectations."

“As a City Manager, Ms. Bodway has shown significant knowledge of community and city operations,” Miller said. “We appreciate her services and dedication to the City of Winona. We look forward to working with Ms. Bodway to continue working toward the betterment of the Winona community.”

Mayor Miller also said Bodway works well with city staff, business members and Winona citizens.

The Minnesota Open Meeting Law (OML) requires that when a government body closes a meeting to the public for the purpose of evaluating a high-level government employee, it must summarize the performance review at its next regular meeting. The summary must include specific evaluation areas, not just a vague description, and state administrative commissioner rulings since the OML was amended in 1990 have upheld that vague descriptions do not meet the requirements of the law.

Bodway took the position of City Manager in April after serving as the Interim City Manager for four months, following the resignation of former City Manager Larry Thompson. Bodway has been a city employee since 1984.

The performance evaluation was Bodway’s first as City Manager. Former City Manager Larry Thompson underwent two such performance reviews while he held the job for less than one year in 2011. His predecessor, former City Manager Eric Sorensen, was never given a performance evaluation during his 23 years with the city. As council members worked on the process for replacing the longtime manager, it was decided that a formal review should take place annually, just like other staff members, and more in line with similar sized cities in the state of Minnesota, according to research conducted by the Winona Post in 2010.


Other business

The Council heard from Project FINE, the nonprofit organization focused on integrating newcomers to the Winona area, and which has given 48 local Hispanic and Hmong residents the necessary knowledge to start their own businesses.

Back in April 2011, Project FINE, with the help of the city’s Microenterprise Program, was awarded a $20,000 block grant to provide entrepreneurship training through the Voices in Harmony Project.

The grant, awarded by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, paid for local individuals to participate in business development training. Immigrant and refugee business owners were educated on the fundamentals of marketing and business practices in training that took place from October 2011 to March 2012.

“Through the support of the Microenterprise Program, we were able to provide translated materials and interpreters,” said Fatima Said, Project FINE executive director.  “This funding truly transformed the program into a multicultural discourse on adapting to American business practices.”

Said said the program was successful in helping participants gain a greater understanding of small business ownership. Of the 48 participants, 20 created a business plan and 17 created a marketing plan. 


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