Mueller prepares to take Mounds View mayoral baton

When the new year rolls around, Mounds View City Council member Carol Mueller will settle into the chair right beside her current one: the mayor’s seat.

After a decade of service as a council member, she will be moving into the spot now occupied by Mayor Joe Flaherty, who decided to not seek re-election after two terms.  

When Mueller, 62, learned that Flaherty planned to retire from elected office, she thought it was time to step up, she said, noting that she wouldn’t have run for the seat if he were staying. 

“I’ve always thought that Mayor Flaherty has done a really good job,” Mueller said during in a recent interview. “I wouldn’t have thought about running against him because I respect and admire him.” 

Even so, she said she’s been “preparing for this for several years,” knowing that one day Flaherty would step down.

Mueller has lived in Mounds View, a suburb of about 12,500 residents, for 35 years. Originally from Superior, Wisconsin, Mueller and her husband of 37 years, Dan, moved to Mounds View in 1989. 

She took a job in Target’s finance division and worked there until she retired just over a year ago. The couple have two adult sons, both of whom attended Mounds View Public Schools. 

Mueller said she wants Mounds View residents to know that she aims to “always be accessible, whether by email, cell phone or text.”

“I think many residents already know that they can contact me with any concerns,” she said. “And I’m happy when they reach out to me. Of course, our city staff does an excellent job with residents’ concerns, but it’s also nice when they contact me, so I can know what the concerns are and whether the council is on the right track.”

She said she’s proud that Mounds View residents feel comfortable offering opinions on a variety of city-related issues, and know that their input is valued. 

She cited a fairly recent topic as an example: how the city conducts trash collection. 

“When the city of Mounds View took a look at moving to organized garbage collection, the message came through loud and clear that the residents wanted to retain their rights when it came to choosing who their garbage company was,” Mueller said, adding that sometimes it doesn’t matter if a change might save the city money, especially if it’s an amenity residents hold dear. 

She added, “Mounds View is a good community with good people, so it’s really exciting to take on the role of mayor now.”

Moving forward, Mueller said one of the opportunities the city might have in the coming years is possible housing, commercial and retail growth as the 427-acre TCAAP development in neighboring Arden Hills takes shape.  

Mueller said she and the council have worked to grow strong partnerships with the Ramsey County Board, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Mounds View School District, the state Legislature, and other entities “to help ensure Mounds View has had a voice in the Arden Hills development.”

Through all the changes that will take place in the coming years, Mueller said she hopes Mounds View will “always be a small city with a really big heart.” 

“It’s evident in how residents are so neighborly,” she said. “People step up to help their neighbors here. It’s a very generous and loving community, and I hope that never changes.”

She does, however, hope that generosity can grow further, in the form of more residents donating their time around the city. 

“We have numerous volunteer opportunities in our community and in the surrounding communities,” she said, emphasizing that giving time to organizations like the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf can only “grow a community stronger.”

Mueller takes her own advice to heart when it comes to civic involvement. She has served as a board director of Ramsey County League of Local Government, Minnesota Women in City Government, League of MN Cities; and has served as a member on a number of other boards and commissions. 

She’ll take the reins from Flaherty at the first council meeting of 2017. 

 

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

 

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