11/08/2016 A Voice From the Gallery

          Last night’s meeting was such that I feel I must start my account with a span of days and events well before the November 7, 2016, meeting.
     »After the October 3, 2016, meeting was adjourned at the library I approached Mayor Glas to press on the public safety issue involving illegal parking at his place of employment, the Total Stop. Mayor Glas had been informed by Peter Larsen that the Mayor was illegally parking in South Dakota State Right of Way (ROW), Mayor Glas blew Mr. Larsen off. I pointed out in October 2016 Alcester City Council during public input Mayor Glas was illegally parking in the South Dakota ROW at Total Stop and again Mayor Glas blew the public safety issue off. Mayor Glas seems to think he is not subject to the rules and he does not care about the welfare and safety of the residents of Alcester. As I had a spirited discussion on his illegal parking, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens decided to throw her two cents in by verbally attacking former Mayor Peter Larsen by asking, “…why didn’t Pete take action when he was mayor…” to which I responded, “Pat you were on the city council, why did You fail to take action?” Folks the area under the Cenex sign was not painted as a parking spot when Peter Larsen was mayor.

Cenex sign II

Encroachment photo by SD DOT
     »October 27, 2016, I received a telephone call requesting the address of Mayor Glas, the Finance Officer had been rude and disparaged this resident. The resident wanted to speak with Mayor Glas to present their case about an issue in person without the Finance Officer’s** gut feelings creating bias. I gave the Mayor’s address which is available via internet with no opinion on the Finance Office’s rudeness or disparagement because I had not witnessed it personally. However that was to change!
      » On Friday, November 4, 2016, as is my custom to review and research the items on the agenda before a city council meeting I went to the city finance office around 2:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. in the afternoon to obtain a copy of the November 7, 2016, agenda. I asked for a copy of the agenda and after receiving what my daughter calls the ‘stink-eye’ from Finance Office personnel, I was informed by Finance Officer Pat Jurrens** she had finished the agenda but had not yet printed it. On other occasions when the agenda has not been ready, I have requested a copy be emailed to me and that request has been honored.   So I requested a copy be emailed to me to which Alcester Finance Office Pat Jurrens still in the throes of her “hairy eyeball” responded I could pick up the agenda on Monday. Confused, not recognizing the “Junior-high girls-clique club attitude” I asked the question, “was the meeting moved?” which Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens replied, “…you can pick it up (the agenda) later this afternoon or on Monday. Yup the hairy eyeball” was in full force and the dance was on!
      » Since Friday November 4, 2016, I have visited with others who have been exposed to the Alcester Finance Office “Stink-eye”  Golly, maybe there is a shot the residents can get to protect us from the Alcester Finance Office “Stink-eye” and there certainly should be some-sort-of dosage for the “Junior-High Girls-clique club”!
          November 7, 2016, regular city council meeting and so the dance begins! The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Tom Glas with council members David Larsen, Audri Carlsen, Kama Johnson, Dan Haeder, Mark Dykstra and Lance Johnson. Oh yeah, and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens** seated herself in City Attorney Chuck Haugland spot at the council table. Presumably, the Mayor told Alcester Municipal Attorney Haugland he was not needed for the meeting. This makes three meetings in a row Alcester Municipal Attorney Haugland’s council meeting presence apparently has been summarily dismissed. I find this strange because there was a line item on the agenda which called for executive session for contract negotiations. So did Mayor Glas or Finance Officer Pat Jurrens dig a law degree out of their li’l ol’ cracker jack box?
          Agenda
  • Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance
  • Agenda approval
  • Approval of John Howard Plat Map (should have happened last meeting)
  • Approve minutes of October 3, 2016 meeting with Mayor Glas’ wording of “stolen” top soil changed to “taken” top soil.
  • Public Input
     »I presented documents asserting my right to Freedom of Information which include my initial FOIA letter, copy Mayor Glas’ denial letter and my rebuttal letter.
  • Curb & Gutter Issue
  • Motion to accept Kama Johnson’s resignation as council member from Ward I
      » Vacant Ward I Interviews- Two candidates for the Ward I vacancy were present for interview of which one candidate was the former Alcester Finance Officer and male. Councilman Larsen moved to go into Executive Session for the interviews and consideration, a second was received and the council voted to go into executive session at 6:15 p.m. The gallery and candidates left the room but, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens did not leave.*
*It is noted here Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens immediately prior to her appointment to Finance Officer was a sitting Alcester city Council member. In fact as an Alcester city council member, Pat Jurrens on many occasions disapproved and criticized the previous Finance Officer for being too conservative with his budgets and voted to remove him as Finance Officer. She immediately applied for the position of Alcester City Finance Officer with no finance officer experience or expertise other than “some computer skills”. She was awarded the Alcester Finance Officer position at a substantially greater pay scale than the cast out finance officer, she resigned as council person and parked her behind in the Finance Officers chair before the seat had time to cool, committed egregious errors and continuing to commit “oversights” costing the city money. In addition, in the October meeting Finance Officer Pat Jurrens expressed her opinion the Ward I replacement should be female to keep a balance in the council.
     One by one the two candidates were separately called into the closed sessions to be interviewed. After each of the candidates were sent out of closed session, the council remained in session with Finance Officer Pat Jurrens still in the closed session. The gallery and the two candidates stood visiting in the hallway while they waited. During the wait, I could hear Finance Officer Pat Jurrens speaking at length, not the words just her voice. THE FINANCE OFFICER** HAS NO VOTE NOR SHOULD SHE BE ALLOWED TO VIST HER BIAS ON THE COUNCIL MEMBERS AGAINST THE FORMER MALE FINANCE OFFICER CANDIDATE! **   The young inexperienced female candidate won the appointment.
      » Police Chief – Alcester Police Chief Chris Doty requested a police radar unit and a police camera  unit be declared surplus. He explained he had already made arrangements with Viborg and Faith to sell these units at a nominal price.  Henry Martyn Robert would have been embarrassed at Councilman Mark Dykstra and Councilman Lance Johnson’s firm grasp of Roberts Rules of Order. It took Councilman Mark Dykstra seconds to “machine gun” two motions to surplus the radar unit and cut Alcester Police Chief Chris Doty’s legs out from under him by effectively voiding the nominal price deal and gifting it to the cities of Viborg and Faith. Then began the process of unraveling the chaos due to the lack of correct Roberts Rules procedure. Way to Go!
  •  Gary McKellips made a presentation on the north industrial park and Northeast residential addition. Water and sewer issues are still in the wind. It appears the folks with property on the west side of Alcester are destined to wait for upgrades in sewer and street yet again.
      » Finance office- After making Dwight Berglin cool his heels beyond his scheduled time, Mayor Glas finally called Audit Review. OMG Finance Officer** had to slide close to Mayor Glas to page through the Mayor’s copy of the Review to get him on the correct page. It would have been hysterically funny watching Mayor Glas lick his finger, press down and carefully rolling the page over with an utterly vacant look on his face if he wasn’t the sitting Mayor. Again the lack of segregation of duties was the immediate concern of the audit. As Mr. Berglin left the meeting, the question was asked, “…do we need to approve this(meaning the audit review)?…” Finance Officer Pat replied, “no”. Then Finance Officer Jurrens went on to discuss the bill for the audit cost $9500 and she related because of anomalies in the QuickBooks program there was going to be an extra charge of $500 due to extra work Accountant Berglin had to perform and Finance Officer Jurrens** was not advised of the QuickBooks foible. Really this is supposed to be in her scope of duties and alleged expertise! So the city short paid our accounting bill ’cause Pat couldn’t figure QuickBooks out and Mr. Berglin accepted $500 less for his work? Folks Alcester is getting a reputation and it is not a good one!
  • Executive session was called to discuss contract negotiations, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens** once again remained in the council room after the gallery was shown the door at 7:56 p.m. As the gallery left, the question was asked contract with whom? The reply was, “we cannot answer that”. My guess…is the council shopping for a new city attorney? It seems the Mayor or Finance Officer got an initial opinion on my FOIA information request and it was not with our city attorney. Again my best guess is since the city is using Geoff Fillingsness of Beresford for Code Enforcement, Code Enforcement Officer Fillingsness used the Beresford City Attorney Tom Frieberg to perfect the legal language contained within the violation notifications and sought Mr. Frieberg’s legal opinion on my argument and then Mayor Glas/Finance Officer Jurrens covering their collective butts by seeking an opinion from Alcester’s Official City Attorney Chuck Haugland. Council exited closed session at 8:16 p.m. with no action taken. However Mayor Glas with his usual shatterpated aplomb attempted to do business before the gallery was back in their seats. At that point the former Finance Officer told the sitting Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and Mayor Glas they had to formally with a motion accept the 2014/2015 Audit report.
» At 8:25 p.m. the cluster foo-bar was declared adjourned.
** to be addressed at length in another installment.