The April 3rd, 2017, meeting of the Alcester City Council opened at 6:00 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance, approval of Agenda, minutes of March 20 and the uncorrected minutes (minus: Councilman Haeder’s comment about a second dissent and Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland’s comment about a third dissent on proposed annexation of South SD Hwy11 properties in the March 2, 2017, meetings contrary to Mayor Glas’ comment to Vickie Larsen that nobody else was against the annexation and the Point of Order call when Mayor Glas failed to call the question of approving council members registration and attendance at District meeting, finally remedying that failure after the discussion on the annual report.)
Agenda line item #5-Public Input
I responded to public input by distributing my curriculum vitae since I was seeking appointment to the vacant Ward III Alcester City Council seat, copies of SDCL 1-25-2 rules for executive or closed session meetings, copies of the March 28, 2017 meeting of the Union County Commissioners and a sample web page for stand-alone Alcester City Website I have been pushing the council to adopt.
I cited Agenda Item 11- City Employee Updates, item ‘e’ finance office, item ‘c’, item ‘a’
11-e-c 03/21/2017 Meeting Update
a. Motion to enter into Executive Session Pursuant to SDCL 1-25-2-5-Marketing Discussion.
(as it appears on agenda)
(perhaps a tutorial in agenda outlines would be beneficial for Mayor Glas and FO)
Agenda Form Example/suggestion:
XI. City Employee Updates
e. 03/21/2017 Meeting Update
1. Motion to enter into Executive Session SDCL 1-25-2-(5)*
“…Discussing marketing or pricing strategies by a board or commission of a business owned by the state or any of its political subdivisions, when public discussion may be harmful to the competitive positions of the business…a violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.”
informing council members the proposed update executive session did not meet criteria for executive/closed session and if they went forward with executive session, they risked an open meeting violation. W-h-o-e-e-e! Ya’ll would think I just stood up and boo-ed the minister at the beginnin’ his Sunday mornin’ sermon. The red, steamed faces of Alcester City Councilman Lance Johnson and Mayor Glas, reminded me of the “little teapot” song. As I watched Mayor Tom and Councilman Lance build up an indignant, irate, steam, the Seven Dwarfs popped to mind and I realized I was not looking at Happy! Grumpy and Dopey maybe, but definitely NOT Happy. With that insight, I took part in a loud discussion with certain council members to the rapt, curiosity of the gallery of attending jeep bidders who didn’t realize they were going to be treated to melodrama.
Councilman Lance Johnson repeated ad nauseam,
“…you don’t know what I am going to talk about…”
and I continued answering,
“I don’t need to know! The SDCL 1-25-2(5) citation is incorrect and the Union County Commissioners already discussed this same meeting content in open session March 28, 2017, confirmed by Union County Attorney Jerry Miller”
while Mayor Glas blustered, snorted, and opined it was marketing strategy. Joe Zweifel asked during public input, “if he could live stream council meetings” and was ignored. I think it would be a great idea.
During my input and in past meetings, it has become apparent members of the council do not fully understand or apply correctly open meeting rules as evidenced by past, countless closed sessions ‘for personnel’, what is allowed in executive session and the limits set. Simply, executive session is: One named, identifiable subject, one named, identifiable contract, one named, identifiable negotiation, or one named identifiable individual person! No global discussions of city personnel, police department personnel, gossiping about a website, duty or property maintenance infractions.
Agenda line item #7-$42.00 payment to Gubbrud, Haugland, Gillespie Law Office
Councilman Lance ‘tiny tea-pot’ Johnson was wound up about a $42.00 charge over a water bill. (see 03/06/2017 A Voice From the Gallery-Public Input) Councilman Lance announced, “…he objected to ‘someone’ (Peter and Vickie Larsen) getting free legal advice from the Alcester City attorney but he was going to move to approve payment to the law office…it isn’t right the city has to pay for legal advice to these people…”
Councilman Lance, if you had done due diligence on this issue you would have learned that Peter and Vickie Larsen pay their water bill a year in advance and were requiring that a monthly statement be sent via USPS (not hand delivered-whenever) to track their water usage and funds tracking. So Alcester FO Jurrens contacted Alcester City Attorney on the issue, then FO Jurrens sent a letter to the Larsens stating, “…to save postage, they were hand-delivering and would not be sending a monthly statement…” When the Larsens received the Alcester FO letter which had been courtesy copied to Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland, Peter went to the Alcester Finance Office to speak to the FO, but the office was closed during business hours. Peter Larsen went down the street to Gubbrud, Haugland, Gillespie Law Offices and spoke to City Attorney Haugland about the letter and who assured Peter the Alcester FO would comply with USPS mailing and monthly statements. Yo Councilman Lance, Alcester City Attorney Haugland was acting on the behalf of the city and could not advise(conflict of interest) Peter and Vickie Larsen. Maybe if the FO office was actually open during business hours, the city attorney would not have been involved. So to ‘save’ $4.50 per year on Larsen’s water bill postage and 11 postcards, the FO cost the city $42.00!
Agenda line item #10 Ward III Vacancy
Of the three candidates for the vacancy Darla Reppe, Warren Doty and Vickie Larsen, I was first to be interviewed in Executive session. As I entered into executive session I saw Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom, Councilman David Larsen (no relation), FO Pat Jurrens, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman Lance Johnson, Mayor Tom Glas, Ass’t FO Wanda Halverson and Councilwoman Audri Carlson seated at tables arranged in a U formation with a lone folding chair placed in the center of the U.
I chose to stand for the interview and upon arriving in front of the group I asked FO Jurrens and Ass’t FO Halverson to leave the room, it was not proper for them to be in the executive session. When the jaws moved back into place, eyes narrowed and mouths moved from the great ‘O’ formation, Ass’t FO Halverson got up and headed for the door. FO Jurrens waivered and looking toward Mayor Glas (whose expression resembled a deer-in-the-headlights) stood up and hesitated.
(continued part two)