Shoreview’s Schwerm receives statewide honor


James Miller, left, presented Shoreview city manager Terry Schwerm with the James F. Miller Leadership Award at the annual League of Minnesota Cities conference, an award that was named after Miller this year after he retired as the League’s long-time executive director.

Terry Schwerm

Terry Schwerm has been Shoreview’s city manager since 1993. 

After more than two decades of service in that role, he’s been honored with an award, which he said couldn’t have come at a more meaningful time.

Schwerm received the James F. Miller Leadership Award at the annual League of Minnesota Cities conference on June 15.

The award, which is considered to be the League’s highest honor for an appointed city official, is presented in recognition of outstanding leadership in public service and dedication to the community.

To Schwerm, however, part of what makes it so significant for him, is who it was recently named after. James Miller, Schwerm said, is a former mentor of his. 

 

‘Distinguished’ service

Schwerm, 59, has a record of public service that spans over three decades, one the city of Shoreview calls “distinguished.” 

“He has been instrumental in the development of Shoreview from a small second ring suburb into the outstanding, vibrant community it is today,” a city statement read. 

Mayor Sandy Martin said she thinks the award went to the right person. 

“Terry’s record of service to the city of Shoreview and other communities within Minnesota exemplifies the ideals of commitment, dedication, and leadership that the James F. Miller award recognizes and honors,” she said.

The League of Minnesota Cities noted that under Schwerm’s management, Shoreview has received the highest bond rating from Standard & Poor’s on a continual basis, and that it’s one of the smallest communities in Minnesota to achieve the AAA rating, “illustrating how well-managed the city is financially.” 

During his time as Shoreview city manager, he has not only acted as chief administrative officer of the city, but when a long-time parks and recreation director retired, Schwerm took on those daily management tasks in addition to his role as city manager.  

 

Blazing the trail 

Schwerm was also involved in developing a comprehensive trail system, which, according to the city, “has been a major attraction and amenity to residents of all of Ramsey County and which led to Shoreview being named one of the first ‘Bicycle Friendly Communities in Minnesota.’”

As for his own path, Schwerm said Miller played a key role in his career.

Prior to working in Shoreview, Schwerm worked for five years as assistant to the city manager in Minnetonka, and then five years as assistant city manager, all while Miller was that suburb’s city manager. 

“I worked for Jim for 10 years,” Schwerm said. “Jim was really instrumental in my career in terms of helping me develop as a city manager. He was really a mentor to me,” he added. 

According to Schwerm, the League of Minnesota Cities has had this leadership award for some time, but this is the first year that it’s been given out under its new name, since Miller retired from his long-time role as the League’s executive director just recently. 

“This was a really special honor,” Schwerm said. 

 

It’s a ‘team environment’

Schwerm has served on the Ramsey County Contract Cities Joint Committee, the Lake Johanna Fire Department Board of Directors and the Board of Directors for the Municipal Legislative Commission.

He described his City Hall workplace as a “team environment.”

“Any success I’ve been able to have can be attributed to the great city councils that Shoreview has had over the years, and of course the quality staff that we have here,” Schwerm said. “They’re the ones out there doing the day-to-day tasks, providing the services and programs we offer.”

Shoreview is a member of the League of Minnesota Cities, an organization dedicated to assisting cities throughout Minnesota build quality communities through advocacy, expert analysis, trusted guidance, and collective action. The League currently serves more than 830 cities.

“I think one of the reasons we get into this business is to try to make a difference in the quality of life in the communities we serve,” Schwerm said. 

“This is a level of government that can make a huge difference in people’s lives, and we try to keep that in mind.” 

 

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815. Follow him at @JPooleNews.

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