Mayor's News Update 6.18.10

New Police Chief Takes Oath of Office

Since being elected Mayor of Saint Paul, there are some events I will always remember. The Oath of Office Ceremony for Tom Smith was one of those events.Despite talk of rain, the skies were clear and sunny over Harriet Island as the ceremony started Tuesday. The turnout for the event was amazing, with standing room only in the Wigington Pavilion. It is interesting to note that Tom Smith is the 40th Police Chief of Saint Paul, a tradition that was started in the 1850’s when the City Council appointed the first police chief because they were upset with the Mayor, who was acting as police chief at the time.It was an honor to swear in Tom Smith. I know as a son of Saint Paul, born and raised on the West Side, he has a deep understanding and passion for this City. Tom is the product of this department, and of this city. He was educated in Saint Paul, has raised his family in Saint Paul and was molded into the dedicated cop he is today in Saint Paul. It is this history that will make Tom Smith a great police chief.The next Saint Paul Mayor, Police Chief, Fire Chief, or State Representative is being molded and shaped right now in our community. Chief Smith stands as a reminder that we all play a role in helping our youth achieve their dreams. One of our most revered native sons, Charlie Brown, said it best when he said, “Few people are successful unless other people want them to be”This was never more evident than when I announced that Chief Smith would be the new police chief at Humboldt – his alma mater - a few weeks ago. That day, Chief Smith showed every child in our community that regardless of their race, their country of origin, or the circumstances of their birth, they can do anything in our community, that they are the future of our community and that they can be successful because we want them to be.

Saint Paul and Minneapolis have the Highest Volunteer Rate in America

I am proud to announce that Saint Paul-Minneapolis has the highest volunteer rate among the 51 largest cities in America. According to the Volunteering in America report, between 2008 and 2009, 37.4% of our residents dedicated their time to serve as volunteers. This report illustrates the success of service in our community. Clearly, Saint Paul residents are willing to commit their time and effort in volunteer service to create a stronger community. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all residents in Saint Paul who give their time as volunteers, and encourage everyone who calls Saint Paul home to help our city remain a national leader in volunteer service. The Volunteering in America report shows that all across the country, volunteering has increased. In 2009, 63.4 million Americans volunteered—an increase of over 1.5 million since 2008. This report highlights the engagement of Americans in an effort to confront social and economic challenges within their communities. The fact that Saint Paul and Minneapolis are leading the way should be commended. One statistic from the report I feel says a great deal about our metro is that Saint Paul and Minneapolis also ranks first in volunteer retention rate. With a 75.4% rate, our volunteers are substantially more likely continue their service than are volunteers across the nation. On average, volunteers in the Twin Cities committed 43.9 hours of service per resident. Our volunteers serve our community through a wide range of areas, the most common of which include religious service, social service, and educational volunteering.In Saint Paul, many volunteers who choose to work in education serve through the city’s VISTA program. VISTA members work to ensure that all youth in Saint Paul have access to quality educational opportunities. For the past two years, this program has been successfully supervised by Caleb Jonas. After serving as a VISTA member from 2007 to 2008, Caleb joined my office as VISTA coordinator. Caleb is now leaving to attend graduate school, and I thank him for his dedicated service and wish him luck in his future endeavors. Willy Tully will join my office as the new VISTA coordinator. I am confident that he will be a strong leader for the VISTA program, and welcome him to Saint Paul.Again, congratulations to all Saint Paul volunteers who have served our community. For more information about volunteering in our community and across America, visit

Exciting Summer Events in Saint Paul

Finally, I want to highlight some great summer events happening right now in Saint Paul. If you receive Joe Spencer’s weekly blog you know all about Jazz Fest, which began Thursday, but I just want to encourage everyone to go out and support these amazing artists who will bring some great music to Saint Paul.Also, Music in Mears is underway and happening every Thursday. This is another chance to see some talented acts and catch a free movie. Schedules for both events can be found at here.