03/24/2016 A Voice from the Gallery

A Voice from the Gallery


             “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

Haile Selassie

The March 21, 2016, special meeting to accommodate business before the Alcester Board of Equalization convened at 6:00 p.m.   At least that was the official call to order. A quorum of the Alcester City council was ‘in session’ with members present: Lance Johnson, Mark Dykstra, Audri Carlson, Kama Johnson, Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens seated at the council table. Councilman David Larson was running late and was not present at the time. For those approximate 10 plus minutes prior to officially opening the meeting, Mayor Glas, Mark Dykstra and Lance Johnson discussed city business concerning the tractor or was it fuel (nope, Lance was talking  about fuel before the unopened March 7th meeting with a quorum present) with Audri Carlson and Kama Johnson observing the blatant violation of opening meeting statutes described in SDCL 1-25-1 through SDCL 1-25-10. Mayor Rick Johnson and councilpersons Burke, Larsen, Dykstra, K. Johnson, S. Johannsen and W. Van Gelder received a tutorial two years ago on open meeting violation when the council meeting adjourned and the full council remained in the room discussing city business in violation of South Dakota Open Meeting statute and a complaint was filed.

Recently and on a recurring, regular basis the council has been going into executive session to discuss personnel, almost but not quite every city council meeting. The most recent was on March 21st, 2016, Councilperson Kama Johnson moved to go into Executive session via 1-25-2.1 to discuss personnel with a second coming from Councilperson David Larsen and with a unanimous approval vote the group went into executive session at 6:19 p.m. by Mayor Glas’ time. At 6:43.75 p.m. councilperson Lance Johnson left the session headed downstairs to the restroom(?) and at 6:44.65 p.m. he was walking back through the executive session door. Please note the times, I was using my recorder timer and landmark sounds i.e. door open at 6:43.75, footsteps down the stairs (16 seconds), paper towel dispenser activation at 6:44.49, up the stairs foot steps (16 seconds) and back through the door at 6:44.65 p.m. OMG! Business done-5.8 seconds…Hey that must be a record! The CDC recommends after using the bathroom, one should wash his hands with soap and water for 20 seconds–singing the following lyrics to the tune of Happy Birthday will take 20 seconds per the CDC:

 “Wash hands well each day,

To keep germs away.

Scrub with soap and water,

And be on your way.

Wash hands well each day,

To keep germs away.

Scrub with soap and water,

And be on your way.”

( 20 seconds )

 Or was it just a ploy to see what I was doing??? Let’s consider the process for gents, how many seconds does it take to unzip, ready for launch, give it a shake, recovery and zip up before the gent washes his hands, 5.8 seconds? I think not! Hey, ya know a gal does get bored standing quietly by the door of the finance office and folks, I did not hear any singing of the CDC Happy Hand Washing Song before I heard the paper towel dispenser activate! The council, well most of the council present spent 30 minutes discussing (?) personnel. It appears when the council wants to exclude the public (gallery) they call an executive session to discuss personnel for 30 minutes. How is it the city has so many personnel issues that require executive session and lengthy discussions?

The council was warned about the ambiguity they were perpetuating on the Ward III residents. Alcester Municipal Ordinance revisions approved by the council, effective August 6, 2014, and provided me by the City Finance Officer as a true copy of current city ordinances per my FOIA request dated July 9, 2015, establish the boundaries of Ward III as:

 2.0201 C… Ward Three shall include all of that part of the City east of the line defined by Park Avenue, the boundary between Lots 32 and 36 of the Morningside Addition, the boundary between Lots 1 and 2 of Block I of the Hyden Height Addition, Hyden Drive and Church Street.”

Mayor Glas chooses to blow me off and ignore the facts with Councilman Dykstra presenting as Pinocchio each time he makes a statement in the paper attempting to refute my facts. Councilman Dykstra loves to gossip about employees of the City of Alcester and of the State Bank of Alcester, one has to wonder if he shares executive session chit-chat with the public? H-m-m? Mayor Glas needs to get his act together because with the Ward III boundary issue, he will disenfranchise certain voters, cost the city thousands of dollars and invite a lawsuit. Mayor Glas feels our City Attorney is costing too much money and is not useful during council meetings so he routinely gives City Attorney Haugland the boot and proceeds to violate open meeting and executive session rules as put forth in South Dakota Statute.  Salute Mayor Glas!!