Feb. 15, 2012
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Agency receives national award for annual performance reporting

report group

At right, Bobby Derrick, Association of Government Accountants, presents staff from MnDOT’s Office of Performance Measures and Analysis with an AGA award at the managers meeting last November. From left, Mitch Webster, Deanna Belden, John Gostovich, Arnoldo Martinez and Jason Junge. Photo by David Gonzalez

MnDOT recently received the Gold Certificate of Achievement in Service Efforts and Accomplishments Reporting from the Association of Government Accountants for the 2010 Annual Minnesota Transportation Performance Report.

The AGA presents the Gold Certificate to state and local government entities whose annual performance reports fulfill the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s suggested criteria for communication results, thereby increasing public accountability.

“Accountability and transparency are a foundation of success for public agencies,” said Commissioner Tom Sorel. “MnDOT’s Annual Transportation Performance Report provides a means for the public, Legislature and transportation stakeholders to see how efficiently we are delivering our services and how effective our program activities are.

“Beyond that, the ongoing measurement and review process assists MnDOT in evaluating performance and identifying areas where we need to improve to achieve our goal of building and maintaining a safe, efficient and sustainable transportation system that improves Minnesotans’ quality of life, helps the economy and respects the natural environment.”

The report was first published in 2008 and previously won a Silver Certificate that same year. The 2009 report also won the Gold Certificate.

“The report provides measures of various aspects of Minnesota’s transportation system, indicating areas where the system is working well and areas where it is not meeting performance targets,” said Deanna Belden, director of measurement.

Agencies that receive the AGA’s Gold Certificate of Achievement are required to fully meet at least 13 of 17 suggested criteria for reporting performance information. MnDOT fully met 16 suggested criteria, including:

  • Multiple levels of reporting—enable the reader to control how much information they learn from the report.
  • Significant information—enable the reader to assess performance; provide factors affecting results, historical data, targets, trend analysis and comparisons against national averages.
  • Presentation of information—provides a clear, consistent and succinct format that is easy to read and understand.

To view of copy of the 2010 Annual Minnesota Transportation Performance Report, visit

For more information about the AGA, visit


E-JAM2 ideas move closer to reality

By Stephany Osuji, Office of Customer Relations


Several ideas that originated from E-JAM 2 are now under consideration for Gov. Dayton’s Better Government for a Better Minnesota program.

“The purpose of the Better Government for a Better Minnesota program is to inform Gov. Dayton’s office of planned, ongoing and recent agency projects, allow agencies to view their own and others’ data, and also to serve as a repository of information,” said Jean Wallace, Policy, Analysis, Research and Innovation director.

A total of 10 ideas from E-JAM2 were submitted to the program:

  1. Improving contract delivery methods
  2. Using SMART BOARD meetings
  3. Soliciting sponsorship of FIRST vehicles
  4. Building the MnDOT Knowledge Network
  5. Deploying mastic road repairs
  6. Streamlining spending authority for purchases under $500
  7. Expanding the statewide e-workplace initiative
  8. Providing access to Microsoft SharePoint and Lync software
  9. Enabling use of e-signatures
  10. Sharing the E-JAM program concept across all state agencies

Since the December 2011 close of EJAM2, employee ideas for agency efficiencies continue to be reviewed by the MnDOT Stewardship Council. 

Some of the ideas that are already happening can continue to expand, such as black-and-white and two-sided printing. Remaining ideas approved by the Stewardship Council will be candidates for the development of business and implementation plans. Additional employee ideas may be eligible for Destination Innovation funding.

“While there are ideas that need additional staffing, legislative authority or simply extra time to work on, there also are ideas that can be acted on a daily basis,” Wallace said. “These ideas, along with carpooling, reduced printing and video conferencing, can be encouraged among employees, and with day-to-day practice, can become good habits.”

Stay tuned for more updates on EJAM as ideas continue to move forward.

For more information on the Better Government for a Better Minnesota program, visit


Whatís new in social media?

Video: Minnesota GO: State Multimodal Transportation Plan--What is multimodal?

Check out these recent updates to MnDOT’s social media channels:

  • As part of Minnesota GO’s outreach efforts for the State Multimodal Transportation Plan, the agency produced a series of videos asking Minnesotans what they thought about transportation and the different transportation modes. Employees can see how the public responded by visiting the Minnesota GO page on the agency’s YouTube Video Channel. Minnesota GO has been using the videos during their meetings around the state in January and February.
  • The department’s Aeronautics team now has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. Like them or follow them.
  • The Seeds program also has a new Facebook page that includes photos and current program updates.

For more information about social media at MnDOT, visit ihub/socialmedia/index.html.


Commissioner's next book discussion set for March 7

Employees are invited to attend the latest Commissioner’s Reading Corner discussion Wednesday, March 7, at 1:30 p.m., in the MnDOT Library at Central Office.

Linda Draze, leadership development project manager, will lead a discussion of “Leadership From the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader for Life,” by Kevin Cashman.

Employees also can participate virtually via Adobe Connect and should log in as a guest no earlier than 1:15 p.m. All employees are encouraged to attend, even if they have not yet read the book, according to Qin Tang, MnDOT librarian.

This will be the third CRC event of the 2012 season.

For more information on the Commissioner’s Reading Corner, visit ihub/readingcorner. Employees with questions can contact Qin Tang at 651-366-3784.

To read an interview featuring Draze’s reaction to the latest book, visit


New Library Materials posted on Web

By Qin Tang

The January 2012 edition of New Library Materials is now available at

Employees can check out this issue and the technologies page on the library’s website.

Archived editions of New Library Materials are available at

New Library Materials is a compilation of new titles and other resources added to the library collection during the previous month. If you would like to be added to the distribution list, please contact Pam Gonzalez at 651-366-3749.

For other information requests, contact the library at 651-366-3791 or email Employees can also send requests via the “Ask a Librarian” web page at

District 6 raises more than $10,500 for Special Olympics Minnesota

Polar plunge group

From left, Marnie Krohse, District 6 Human Resources; Beth Johnson, friend of District 6 employee; and Nelrae Succio, district engineer for District 6, jump into the ice-covered lake at Foster Arend Park in Rochester Feb. 11.

A 31-member team of District 6 employees, retirees, family and friends raised more than $10,500 for Special Olympics Minnesota as part of the polar plunge event. In total, more than 1,000 plungers raised nearly $220,000 at the Rochester event.

Since 2008, the District 6 team has raised more than $35,000 for Special Olympics Minnesota. Photo courtesy of District 6


State employees join forces to fight cancer

State employees have the opportunity to team up with the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer by taking part in the Cancer Prevention Study-3.

Employees between 30 and 65 years old who have never been diagnosed with cancer are eligible to schedule an enrollment appointment. The enrollment period will take place March 14 at the State Capitol Rotunda between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Did you know?

One out of two Minnesotans will be diagnosed with cancer in his or her lifetime.

* Minnesota Department of Health

Appointments will take about 20 minutes. Employees will complete a survey about lifestyle, behavioral and other factors related to their health, have their waist circumference measured and give a small blood sample. All data will be kept confidential.

American Cancer Society studies began in the 1950s and involved hundreds of thousands of volunteer participants. These studies have demonstrated the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, and revealed that obesity is a significant risk factor for colon and prostate cancers in men. The new CPS-3 will help researchers build on evidence from previous studies and bring the world closer to eliminating cancer as a major health burden for this and future generations.

“MnDOT is committed to the health of our employees and the public,” said Commissioner Tom Sorel. “We understand the link between health and physical activity as a result of previous cancer studies. If we can help reduce the risk of cancer in the future by joining in this effort, we are eager to participate.”

For more information about CPS-3, visit


Black History Month: Growing up in St. Paulís Rondo Neighborhood

By Vanessa Levingston, Office of Customer Relations


Vanessa Levingston, MnDOT Customer Relations, leads a panel discussion about past, present and future transportation impacts to African-American communities in Minnesota. Photo by David Gonzalez 

My family moved from Chicago to the Rondo Neighborhood in St. Paul in 1976—about 10 years after Interstate 94 was built. I was seven years old and had no concept of the freeway’s impact on my new community.

The new I-94 greatly improved mobility, but it also split the primarily African-American Rondo Neighborhood in two and caused several families and businesses to move away or close. For some, the move was for the better. For others it was for the worse. When the freeway came through, several ‘mom and pop’ shops closed and were never replaced. I-94 is like a valley through the old Rondo neighborhood. Several homes still face the freeway, with no noise wall in sight.
Now, I work for the agency that arguably separated my community. I am more effective at connecting the public—particularly underserved populations—and MnDOT, because I have those memories of growing up in a community that completely changed because of a freeway.   

I first realized I-94’s impact in junior high. Some community members organized a parade to celebrate and remember the Rondo Community before I-94. The idea was to bring back, for at least a day or a weekend, those who left . I was in the marching band and remember feeling silly marching down Old Rondo—commonly known as Concordia Avenue—because hardly anyone was there. The event grew and as an adult I became a board member of the Rondo Days festival, which is about music, laughter and sharing the history of Old Rondo Community.

I also remember walking across the pedestrian bridges over the interstate and feeling unsafe because they looked corroded and weak. But I frequently used them because I’ve lived on both sides and I  had friends and family on both sides.

In high school, my friends and classmates labeled the once unified Rondo Neighborhood as the Selby side and the University side of the interstate. Friend groups naturally split and living on one side or the other came with its own stereotypes and assumptions. Now, kids continue the separation with identifying whether they take the route 16 or route 21 bus.

magazine cover

The cover of the July 1964 issue of Minnesota Highways depicts grading and paving operations on Interstate 94’s ‘depressed route’ through St. Paul. From front to rear, the picture shows the Snelling Avenue bridge to the Western Avenue grade separation. The frontage road to the left of I-94 is St. Anthony Ave. and to the right is Rondo St. This segment of I-94 was scheduled to open in fall 1964. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Highways

I still live in the Rondo Community, because I want to walk out the door and see faces like mine. I want my kids to have that experience too. But the neighborhood currently lacks the community and economic drive it needs to thrive. Beyond churches and community centers, the Golden Thyme Coffee Shop is one of the few community gathering spots. We also have community gardens, and the foods in those gardens are changing as new people from various cultures share native plants from their countries.

Several neighbors want to continue the memory of Rondo. The problem is that our youth have never known anything different and they don’t have that same sense of community. Newer generations didn’t experience the change.

Many community members fear that the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit project down University Avenue is the next Rondo, because it too improves mobility for the masses yet creates a fear of the unknown for those living near the construction. What will our neighborhood be like, and how well will it bounce back once construction is complete? What will happen to our property values and taxes? Will we still be able to afford living here?

On a positive note, the community felt heard after advocating and receiving three additional stops on the CCLRT line. Now, riders will be able to stop at the Western Avenue, Victoria Street and Hamline Avenue stations.

Throughout someone’s life, several events happen that create both positive opportunities and negative impacts. Transportation agencies and communities must improve relations and continue sitting down to talk about transportation planning, projects and impacts. The problem we must strive to solve—as Minnesota’s statewide transportation agency—is how to balance the positive and negative impacts and improve quality of life for our constituents no matter what the color of their skin is, how much money they make orwhat language they speak.

Black History Month is half over and it is not too late to take time and learn about African-Americans in Minnesota. One great read is The Days of Rondo by Evelyn Fairbanks.

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