Mike Reeves appointed to county library board

Mike Reeves
Mike Reeves

Former Lake Elmo City Council member and retired business executive Mike Reeves has been appointed to represent District 3 on the Washington County Library Board. The county’s library board is an advisory group to the Washington County Board of Commissioners, which is the governing board of the county’s library system.

Washington County Library system has six branch locations, but does not include the Lake Elmo Library, which is city-owned. Lake Elmo’s independent library was built by a large group of volunteers, who were frustrated with the county’s decision to shutter the Lake Elmo branch in January 2012, in an effort to save money.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners appointed Reeves to the advisory board March 10.

“I’m very impressed with his vast leadership and business experience,” District 3 county commissioner Gary Kriesel said. “This is a unique opportunity for the citizens of Lake Elmo to have a good representative on the [library] board.”

Reeves said he’s fortunate to have both good health and time to dedicate to public service, and when Kriesel asked him if he would be interested in filling a vacancy on the board he was honored.

“I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a tremendous public servant,” Reeves said. “When people like that ask you to help it’s hard to say no.”

Reeves’ appointment to the seven-member advisory board comes at a critical time.  The county board is looking to update the Washington County Library strategic plan -- an area Reeves has decades of experience in.

Reeves has served on Lake Elmo’s human resources and planning commissions and was appointed to serve on the city council in 2013, following the resignation of council member Nicole Park.

He ran for a term on the council last fall and lost by just over 400 votes. While he intends to stay active in the community, Reeves said he does not have plans to run for public office again.

Prior to those appointments, Reeves, 65, worked as an executive for Deluxe Corporation for 30 years and for the Minnesota Wild hockey team for six. He has also worked independently as a business consultant, which he said he continues to do, mostly pro bono for non-profit organizations.

He said much of his current work focuses on helping organizations become financially sustainable over the long term.

Kriesel said Reeves’ wealth of experience in strategic planning and board development would serve the county well.

The county’s library board makes recommendations on policies for final approval to the county board of commissioners. Policies include building policies, board bylaws and county library goals and objectives, as well as public service and materials selection policies. The board also develops initial strategic and operational plans for final approval by the board of commissioners, among a list of other duties. Library board members serve three-year terms.

Reeves said libraries in the county and across the country are facing challenges as the needs and wants of consumers change along with technology.

“One of those challenges is how do we best serve residents as their needs and wants continue to change,” he said. “Libraries need to keep up and stay in front of those changes. It’s an area rich with opportunity.”

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7822.

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