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CGMC honors Oberloh, Clark with service award

Oberloh, Clark

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh and City Administrator Craig Clark have been recognized by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities for their excellence in service to greater Minnesota.

They were honored earlier this month at the coalition's summer conference in Winona.

According to a CGMC news release, the Excellence in Service Award is given annually to city leaders who demonstrate knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program areas over the past year.

Oberloh was lauded as a strong advocate for issues affecting greater Minnesota cities.

"Mayor Oberloh has demonstrated outstanding leadership over the past year by continuously giving his time and effort so that rural communities have a strong voice at the state Capitol," said CGMC President Timothy Strand in the release.

"Oberloh has become well-respected statewide because of his knowledge and advocacy of the issues facing rural cities. His thoughtful, bipartisan approach has influenced state policy leaders and as a result, rural Minnesota communities have been protected from even deeper aid cuts."

"I told them I didn't deserve it," Oberloh responded. "Worthington is just one of the 75 cities involved in the coalition."

In the past several years, he has extensively lobbied his local elected officials, organized and attended media visits for CGMC members and promoted CGMC issues before the legislature.

"I have talked to several legislators, not just those who represent us, but throughout the state ... about the effects of (Local Government Aid cuts) and what it means to be a greater Minnesota city," Oberloh said.

Clark, in addition to his service on CGMC's Economic Development Committee, "took the lead role in organizing and facilitating a critical meeting with local legislators on behalf of the CGMC, where he advocated strongly for preserving and protecting Local Government Aid, a funding program that holds property taxes down and pays for critical local services," CGMC said.

"Earning an award from your peers is obviously a humbling experience and great honor," Clark said. "Especially since I've been here a short time, it was even more of an honor,"

"In the public sector, you have to make arguments and outline why it's (LGA) important for cities. You've got to be able to enter the arena and make the case for it, and I think that's what I tried to do."

In the coming year, local elected officials and city staff will be tasked with educating the public about the "tangible impacts" of LGA cuts, Clark said.

CGMC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 75 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.