12/28/2016 A Voice from the Gallery

PART ONE

     Mayor Tom Glas called the December 28, 2016 special Alcester City Council meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, followed by Approval of Agenda, the first item on the agenda. And…

“…with the rocket’s red glare, the bombs burst in the air…”

Retainer agreement (Independent contractor for legal services) discussion agenda item! Ya’ know the discussion BEFORE the motion.   Yup tha’d be the one!

History of Events

  • May 2014 May Rick Johnson appoints Finance Officer Mike Kezar only to September 2015 at a wage of $38K with Councilwoman Pat Jurrens voting to approve the limited appointment. Mayor Rick Johnson declares advertisements be placed for Alcester City Finance Officer position.
  • June 2, 2014, Mayor Rick Johnson declares executive session to discuss Finance Officer position. Upon exit from executive session Mayor Johnson and the Alcester City Council offer Councilwoman Pat Jurrens the position of Finance Officer at a training salary of $40K per year.
  • July 7, 2014, Pat Jurrens resigns Councilwoman position to start training under Finance Officer Mike Kezar. Ironic, Ms. Jurrens is making a training salary of $40K per year to be trained by a decade’s veteran Finance Officer making $38K per year.
  • September 3, 2014, Pat Jurrens assumes Finance Officer duties.
  • November 5, 2014, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens asks the council for permission for FO Pat Jurrens and Asst.FO Wanda Halverson to attend an Election Class Workshop. Council voted unanimously to send the FO’s to Election Class workshop.
  • November 7, 2016, Executive session 1-25-2-4 Contract Negotiations.
  • December 5, 2016, Executive session 1-25-2-4 Contract Negotiations.

 

 Duties of the municipal finance officer (generic)

»Supervise the accounting system of all departments and offices of the municipality-no city manage. Finance officer draws and countersigns warrants, bonds, or other forms of indebtedness, all contracts, and keeps records of amounts and to who they are issued.

»Keeps the official seal of the municipality, all papers, records, must record all proceedings of the governing body.

»Keeps all official documents and destroys only those which the record retention board deems no longer of value.

»Keeps accurate records of all moneys received by the municipality or owed to the municipality (especially includes special assessments & utilities).

»Finance Officer aids the governing board with budget preparation.

»Finance Officer must report to the county auditor and the state an annual report of the financial statements and each department must turn in an inventory to be on file with the finance officer.

»Finance Officer must act a clerk to the local equalization board.

»The Finance Officer is the chief officer of all local elections (including handling all petitions for nomination, initiative or referendum).

Now to the ‘discussion’ in open session. Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was finally invited to the party! You see folks for the past months City Attorney Haugland was told his presence was not needed at the council meeting or he was only needed for 30 minutes even though the printed agenda indicated lawsuit discussions or contract negotiations. The consequence of this action by Mayor Glas and/or FO Pat Jurrens was that Alcester City Attorney Haugland was kept in the dark about actions and discussions of the Alcester City Council and then blamed for slow response when the feces-hit-the- fan legal-wise.

At the beginning of the ‘discussion’ I noticed City Attorney Haugland and members of the council were holding what appeared to be a type-written, 4-5 page document. Yeah, it appears this document was a listing complied by FO Pat Jurrens and Mayor Glas of their perception of errors and omissions attributable to the city attorney.

Under the current legal services agreement Attorney Haugland stated his fees since 1975+ were based upon usage with small incremental raises to the current rate of $105 per hour. Attorney Haugland went on the address a partial list of sins (before Councilmember Audri Carlson called for executive session) that FO Jurrens and Mayor Glas compiled:

  • His obligations during tax season, January 01 through May .

Mr. Haugland’s Answer: The City of Alcester is a client just as the tax clients, the City of  Alcester has no pre-emptive status over the other clients of Mr. Haugland which is spelled out in the services agreement.

  • Emergency services, the definition of an emergency service i.e. the Ives Bankruptcy lawsuit as it related to city condemnation of the Broad Street property and 911 dispatch lawsuit.

Mr. Haugland’s Answer: Both of these items were ongoing actions and dependent upon timing of procedural process, outside of the control of City Attorney Haugland.

  • 45 minute warning before legal advice from City Attorney Haugland was expected to give legal opinion.

Mr. Haugland’s Answer: 45 minutes to hear about an issue, get the details of parties involved, a recitation of actions city employees have taken concerning the issue, researching legal precedent on the issue is inappropriate and far from reasonable.

  • FO Pat Jurrens question on getting recycling on the ballot, delayed paperwork for election, and oath for election workers 2016.

Mr. Haugland’s Answer: The paperwork was delivered but called into question FO Jurrens’ apparent amending legal documents drawn and provided by the City Attorney, noting that FO Jurrens was the bookkeeper not an attorney! FO Jurren’s amendment of a legal document was practicing law and “over-stepping” her position! FO Jurrens contacting Beresford Attorney Tom Frieberg for legal advice about Loren Fischer,garbage collection provider for Alcester without contacting Alcester City Attorney Haugland. FO Jurrens fired back, “she was just talking to Mr. Frieberg about Loren Fischer’s divorce, contempt order and its impact on Alcester.”

  • Billing for Legal advice to change an error in an oath of office for Councilman Dan Haeder.

Mr. Haugland’s Answer: FO Jurrens failed to fully inform City Attorney Haugland of a new player on the council on her request for a pre-emptive oath for Mr. Dan Haeder not Mr. Andy Haeder (who was once a Alcester City Councilman).

  • Operating agreement for Deem’s. 

Mr. Haugland’s Answer:  FO Jurrens failed to fully inform City Attorney Haugland of an increase in rent for Deem’s operating agreement with the city. Mr. Haugland was told his presence was not needed at the meeting in which the council decided to bump the Deem’s rent by $100 per month so he was not there to hear.

FO Jurrens responded with Mayor Glas nodding like a bobble head in a strong draft, “Mr. Haugland would be welcome at the whole Alcester City Council meeting, OFF-THE-CLOCK! 

At this point Alcester City Councilwoman Audri Carlson moved to go into executive session pursuant to ‘SDCL 1-25-2-4, contract negotiations with employees or employee representatives’ as advised by FO Jurrens. Yeah, SDCL 1-25-2-1 defines the term employee…Employee does not include any independent contractor. Mr. Haugland is not an employee but an independent contractor. So the motion was amended to SDCL 1-25-2-3 and executive session was approved

5:32 p.m. Mayor Glas, Councilmembers Mark Dykstra, Dan Haeder, Lance  Johnson, Julia Sundstrom, Audri Carlson and David Larsen remained with City Attorney  Chuck Haugland. FO Jurrens, Alcester Police Chief Chris Doty and Vickie Larsen were relegated to the hallway.

5:50 p.m. Approximate time Alcester City Attorney exits executive session.

6:05 p.m. FO Jurrens called into executive session.

6:24 p.m. Council declared out-of-session.

With no motion on agenda item 2017 Retainer Agreement was moved to the January 2017 meeting

At the conclusion of business around 7:20 p.m. a call for a motion to adjourn at which point FO Pat Jurrens told Alcester Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom, “she needed to make the motion because she had not made any motions”? Really? Really? Councilwoman Sundstrom made the motion, Councilman Lance Johnson seconded the motion, yes vote X6…Meeting Adjourned.