Maplewood makeover

Change is coming to Maplewood. The troika that has run the city council for the last two years will no longer be in the majority come January. John Nephew and incumbent Will Rossbach triumphed easily on Tuesday at the polls, each garnering support from roughly 30 percent of voters. That means Rebecca Cave, an ally of Mayor Diana Longrie and council member Erik Hjelle, will leave office at the end of the year.

"I'm tremendously glad that the voters have spoken really loudly," says Nephew (pictured above). "That really renews my faith in the whole self-corrective nature of democracy."

An interesting question come January will be the fate of Maplewood city manager Greg Copeland. He was tapped by Mayor Longrie for the city's top post in April, 2006 after Richard Fursman was unceremoniously fired. A background check, however, raised serious questions about Copeland's qualifications. Here's the money quote from my March cover story on Maplewood.

"He has no job experience that really in any way makes him qualified to be a manager of any type, specifically a manager of a city," says Rossbach. "He hasn't had what one would view as a normal job for a long, long time."

So now that Rossbach is in the majority, will he seek to oust Copeland? "It's important to me that the city be run well," he says. "How that ends up manifesting itself through the entire council I'm not going to predict."