The Square: A Podcast from the Iowa League of Cities


The Square, your podcast from the Iowa League of Cities, brings current and important topics for communities across the state to your city square. 
Episodes are released monthly and available for download from Sound Cloud, Google Play, Apple Podcast and Sticher. 


Episode 30: The one about city elections| Listen on Sound Cloud
Released July 19, 2021
It may be summer but this fall’s regular city elections are right around the corner. This month we brought in Heidi Burhans with the Secretary of State’s Office who is a true expert in all thing’s election. We discuss what cities need to do to prepare, the nomination process, what is required for someone to be eligible to be a candidate for elective office in Iowa and much more.
We then welcome Greg Broussard with Bolton & Menk, an engineering firm who works with clients all over the state and is a League Community Alliance Partner. Greg shares what projects we should be looking out for around the state.
Send us what Mickey Shields will be doing this summer with his wife from this month’s episode and you could get a shout out in an upcoming episode. Send any questions or comments to
Episode 29: The one about summer trips | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released June 8, 2021
What's your favorite place to visit in Iowa? In this month's episode we chat with Amy Zeigler, the State Tourism Manager at the Iowa Tourism Office, about the many great places around the state to visit this summer. And our hosts, Katie Wheeler and Mickey Shields, also share some of their favorite summer travel spots. Give it a listen and let us know your favorite places in Iowa!
This month's episode also features a discussion with Dustin Leo of McClure Engineering who details some of the interesting projects the firm has helped cities with recently and what is on the horizon. Send in your questions, comments and travel suggestions to


Episode 28: The one about Clinton's Neighborhood Revitalization | Listen on Sound Cloud 
Released April 22, 2021
Spring is in full bloom and cities across Iowa are gearing up for summer programs and projects. Part of the work includes nuisance abatement, which is usually not a fun part of municipal government but always a necessity. This month's episode of The Square features a lively discussion on city nuisance abatement efforts as we are joined by Clinton's Rich Foley and Tammy Johnson along with Pat O'Connell from the Lynch Dallas law firm (a Community Alliance Partner with the League). 

The group shares some of the work that has been done in Clinton to deal with nuisance property issues and help turn around derelict properties. Hear what a nuisance process looks like from a city zoning official's perspective and the various problems that can arise. We also chat about the legal concerns a city has when taking action on nuisance properties and staying the course to revitalize neighborhoods. 
Drop any questions or comments you have at Enjoy the show! 
Episode 27: The one about your streets | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released March 22, 2021
A community's road infrastructure is critical to daily life and in this month's episode we are joined by Travis Goedken, Humboldt City Administrator, who talks about what it's like to manage a city's street system. Travis details the importance of planning and prioritizing needs, the different types of streets that the city maintains and the process to complete road projects. 

We are also joined by Derek Johnson of ISG, one of the League's Community Alliance Partners that provides engineering services to cities across Iowa and the midwest. Derek gives a look at what it's like from an engineering perspective to get public infrastructure projects done and also shares some of his background, which included serving as a city engineer. 

Send in your comments and questions to, enjoy the episode! 


Episode 26: The one with IMWCA's Safety and Risk Improvement Team | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released February 9, 2021
Welcome back! After a bit of a delay, The Square is rolling again as this month we chat with IMWCA's Safety and Risk Improvement Team. Dean Schade, Scott Smith and Staci Griffin provide insights into working safely during an Iowa winter, pitfalls to avoid, and navigating the roads when winter weather hits. 

We are then joined by Jim Holz of MSA, an engineering and architectural design firm that works with cities all over the state and is a League Community Alliance Partner. Jim shares some tips on how cities can identify when infrastructure needs to be updated, prioritize community needs and complete important projects. 

Thanks for listening to another episode and be sure to send any questions or comments to


Episode 25: The one about city budget season | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released October 27, 2020
City budget season has arrived! The Square chats with Marion's Budget Manager, Zach Wolfe, to get his thoughts on how to prepare for the city budget and what leads to a successful process. As a city official that is relatively new to Iowa, Zach also shares his perspective of learning our state's property tax system, fund accounting and more.

We are also joined by Nate Summers from D.A. Davidson, one of the League's partners that serves as a municipal advisor for cities as they go through capital projects. Nate discusses financing options available to cities, how to manage debt and keep the city budget in the best position to complete needed projects.

We hope you enjoy this month's episode and as always, let us know your thoughts at

Episode 24: The one with Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released September 28, 2020
Summer has ended, school has started and The Square is back with a new episode! We talk with Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart, who was recently elected as President of the League. Mayor Hart shares what led him to serving on the city council and as mayor, the unique position of being a full-time mayor (a rarity in Iowa) and some of the fun and challenges that come with the job. We also talk about Mayor Hart's plans for his League presidency and finding ways to enhance services and programs.

e then chat with Kathryn Kunert of MidAmerican Energy and Joel Schmidt of Alliant Energy about the work each company did to restore power after the derecho storm that swept through the state in August. Kathryn and Joel talked about the importance of having strong partnerships with cities and how critical that is to storm recovery. The League thanks each of these partners for their incredible work in our communities to get power back to residents and businesses following such an unprecedented storm.

We hope our listeners and communities are doing well, please contact with any questions or comments!

Episode 23:
The one about the COVID-19 financial impact| Listen on Sound Cloud
Released July 28, 2020
Summer is rolling along and we have another episode of The Square for your listening pleasure! This month we talk to Erin Mullenix, the League's Research Director, who provides a rundown on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on city finances. We discuss the various revenues that are projected to decline as well as expenditures that may be affected. Erin also shares findings from recent surveys of cities that measure the local financial impact of the pandemic.

Erin was gracious enough to stick around for the Get to Know Your League segment, which is always a fun listen.

We encourage cities to utilize resources we have available online to help respond to the pandemic, including ourCOVID-19 Finance Toolthat can help gauge local impacts. Take care and join us next month for another episode! 

Episode 22: The one with Strawberry Point City Administrator Alison Osweiler | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released June 5, 2020
How does a native of Southern California end up as the city administrator in Strawberry Point, Iowa? Find out in this month's episode of The Square! Alison Osweiler, who joined the city in 2016, talks about her interesting journey to Iowa and to municipal government. We talk about what it's been like to manage a city during a pandemic, some of the city's plans for reopening facilities and programs, ideas for making adjustments to the city budget and what it's like living on a farm. Thanks to Alison for the fun conversation! 

This month's Get to Know Your League features Sara Shonrock, who serves in a joint role with our friends at Iowa State University Extension and leads the Municipal Professionals Institute and Academy. Sara is a native of Ames who got lost in Minnesota for a few years before making the wise decision to come back home!

We hope our communities are doing well during these challenging times, and as always, your League is here to support you! Contact us at with any questions or comments you may have. 

Episode 21: The one with Carlisle Library Director Stacy Goodhue | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released April 30, 2020
The Square is back with a new episode! Enjoy a fun interview with Stacy Goodhue, who serves as the library director for the City of Carlisle. We actually recorded this prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Stacy's thoughts on the importance of public libraries rings true now more than ever. Hear what it takes to run a city library and the various programs and services they provide - you may be surprised at how much libraries do for a community! 
We are also joined by Emma Kline, the League's Administrative Assistant, for the always entertaining Get to Know Your League segment. We wish all communities good health as we continue to respond to the pandemic, and encourage our members to access a variety of helpful of resources at
Take care and we'll talk to you soon on The Square! 



Episode 20: The one about COVID-19 | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released April 7
, 2020
The Square took a break from its regularly scheduled interviews to talk about COVID-19 and the impact it has on city governments in Iowa. We cover some League news, including adjustments we have made thus far to scheduled in-person workshops and how we will continue to operate through remote working. We also discuss some of the critical issues cities are facing currently, including the use of electronic meetings to get city business handled. The episode then wraps up with some of the positive stories cities have shared with us that illustrate some wonderful ways communities are coming together to support one another during this trying time.

Be sure to check out our Coronavirus Resources page to access a wide variety of helpful information. ​​
Episode 19: The one with Grinnell Police Chief Dennis Reilly | Listen on Sound Cloud
February 25, 2020
Buckle up your seat belts! The Square chats with Grinnell Police Chief Dennis Reilly for an insightful discussion on community law enforcement and the critical role police departments play in our cities. Dennis shared some of his background of growing up in New Jersey and starting out as a police officer before eventually working his to becoming a chief of police, as well as how he landed in Iowa. We also talk about the many jobs of a city police department, which go well beyond writing tickets as police officers are instrumental in effective community engagement.
We are joined by Robert Palmer once again for our monthly Legislative Update and sit down with IMWCA's Andrew Justice for the Get to Know Your League interview. We also talk about the value of planning in our Question of the Month. 
Enjoy the episode and be sure to send any comments or questions to!  
Episode 18: The one with Solon's Scott Kleppe | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released January 28, 2020
Our first episode of 2020! It's a new year, a new decade and we have a new edition of The Square that features a very interesting discussion about municipal public works. Scott Kleppe, Solon's Public Works Director, joins us to chat about how a city's water and wastewater system works. For those who have wondered how water gets to their faucet, or what happens when you flush a toilet, give a listen and find out! Scott also shares some of his background and how seeing his grandfather do city work gave him first introduction to public works. 
We have a new segment to go with the new year as we get our Legislative Update with the League's General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs, Robert Palmer. Hear about the latest issues at the State Capitol important to city officials. And we also sit down with Scott Smith, IMWCA's Senior Loss Control Representative, for the Get to Know Your League interview. 
We wish all cities a happy new year and we look forward to working with you! Send us your questions and feedback to

Episode 17: The one with Mayor Tom Lazio | Listen on Sound Cloud​
Released December 20, 2019
Happy holidays! The Square closes out 2019 with an interview of Tom Lazio, Ottumwa Mayor and President of the League Board. We learned some interesting things about Mayor Lazio's career before he entered public office and how that helped prepare him to be an effective mayor. He also shared some of the great work they're doing in Ottumwa, a few of their goals for the future and what he hopes to do as League President.

This month's Your Questions Answered asks about cities' ability to set their own council meeting rules of procedure, something we strongly encourage all cities to have. And the League's Senior Accountant, Alison Deiter, joins us for the Get to Know Your League segment. Alison's pay our bills (and issues paychecks to staff) so we took it easy on her!

As usual, we wrap up with the answer to last month's trivia (which county in Iowa has the most cities) and ask a new trivia question: what is the lowest temperature recorded in Iowa and where? Send in your trivia answers, questions to stump our staff and other feedback to Enjoy the holidays!

Episode 16: The one about city names | Listen on Sound Cloud​
Released November 25, 2019
It is a busy time for the League as we are visiting various cities for our Budget Workshops and Municipal Leadership Academy. So, we decided to have a little fun with this episode with an idea that sparked during our travels. We have 942 great cities in Iowa and each has a unique character and some have a unique name. We discuss our favorite city names and attempt to pronounce them right! This is meant to be fun (and funny)! We hope no one takes offense if their city is mentioned or doesn't enjoy the humor in a funny pronunciation or story behind the city name.

This month's Your Questions Answered asks if there is a recall process in Iowa for elected positions and our Get to Know Your League interview features Jess Vogel, the League’s Communication Coordinator.

We also cover last episode's trivia question, which asked what year did the League's Municipal Leadership Academy begin? (We may know the official date?!). If you do not know what MLA is, make sure to check it out on our website! It is a fantastic training opportunity for newly elected and for veteran officials. In addition, we offer some new trivia: what county has the most cities?

Send your trivia answers, questions and feedback to!​

Previous Episodes (see all episode descriptions on our SoundCloud page)

Episode 15: The one about the 2019 Annual Conference & Exhibit | 
Listen on Sound Cloud​
Released October 31, 2019

Episode 14: The one about training | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released August 28, 2019

Episode 13: The one about safety | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released July 25, 2019

Episode 12: The one about our favorite city slogans | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released June 18, 2019

Episode 11: The one about the 2019 legislative session | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released May 29, 2019

Episode 10: The one about nuisance abatement | Listen on Sound Cloud
April 29, 2019

Episode 9: The one from Colfax | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released March 25, 2019

Episode 8: The one from Atkins | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released February 21, 2019

Episode 7: The one to kick off legislative session | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released January 10, 2019

Episode 6: The one with a few of our favorite things | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released December 21, 2018

Episode 5: The one with Jim Thompson from IEDA | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released December 3, 2018

Episode 4: The one where we talk to Scott Naumann | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released October 22, 2018

Episode 3: The one about the 2018 Annual Conference & Exhibit | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released September 25, 2018

Episode 2: The one about the 2018 All-Star Community Awards | Listen on Sound Cloud
Released August 15, 2018

Episode 1: The one about Home Rule with Bob Josten | Listen on Sound Cloud​
​Released July 25, 2018