(Agenda line item #10-Ward III Vacancy interview continued)
It is important to note here FO Jurrens was an Alcester City councilperson who voted to fire the former finance officer whose conservative finance budget she routinely criticized, whose job she snatched for herself within weeks of his dismissal and garnering an entry level salary of some $10K +/- more than his 30 +/- years experience-accumulated salary. FO Jurrens a novice, scantily trained finance officer Mayor Glas has routinely allowed to be present in and actively participate in executive sessions well beyond her scope of finance office duties acting as a quasi-seventh council member questioning, offering her opinion and lobbying for or against the question or applicant discussed in Executive session.
As the council recovered, Councilman Haeder commented since there would be no record, FO Jurrens should leave. I began my opening remarks, speaking of my education, my qualifications specifically noting I attended all but a handful of meetings in the past four years so I am conversant in city issues. (Note: Of the 47 total meetings from 07/07/2014 when Councilman Lance was appointed through 12/31/2016 he missed 13 meetings, I missed 7 meetings but I was present for 24 meetings prior to 07/07/2014.) After my opening statements, the council had the opportunity to ask questions of me.
I was asked about my stance on a stand-alone community building, to which I replied a stand-alone building was more cost and energy efficient than a renovation of the auditorium, the cost and maintenance of a three stop elevator was prohibitive and an elevated walking track was unnecessary. I did mention if the school built a new building, the newest addition to the old high school might make a good choice for a community building but the wall crack situation would have to be investigated and resolved to even consider it a viable choice.
I was asked if I knew how to set up a city website which I am promoting. I replied no I did not have the expertise but I knew folks who did. (After interview research shows on February 3, 2014, the council discussed but tabled the Alcester Municipal website to March meeting, March 3, 2014, meeting shows a motion by councilwoman Kama Johnson to create an Alcester city website at the quoted figure of $1375 set up and domain with an annual fee of $450, the second coming from councilman Mike Burke with an unanimous aye vote from council members Kama Johnson, Mike Burke, David Larsen, Steve Johannsen, Mark Dykstra and Pat Jurrens.)
Mayor Glas asked why I said bad, nasty things about him and FO Jurrens because he had never said anything bad about me. I responded I was critical of his administration of city business and by exercising my First Amendment prerogative could shed light on faults (hang out the dirty laundry so-to-speak) with the intent of fixing them. I told him I never make allegations I couldn’t prove. I did not remind him that during his agenda item Mayor’s response of November 5, 2015, city council meeting accused me of wasting the city’s money with a request for FOIA (freedom of information act) and city bar complaint, calling my allegations innuendos, half-truths, etc. Mayor Glas you called me a liar, even when I provided proof of my allegations.
I was asked if I could work with FO Jurrens and Ass’t FO Halverson and I responded truthfully, “of course I could”.
Watching the faces of the council members as they asked their questions, I couldn’t help notice Councilman Lance Johnson sitting staring as stone-faced stiff as the faces on Mount Rushmore. I kept waiting for the smoke to come-out-of-his ears like the Charlie Weaver bartender toy of the 50’s. Ya’ll would wind up little Charlie and he would pour his drink, shake it all around, drink it down, his face would turn red, he would pucker up, smack his lips and smoke would come a rollin’ out-of-his ears. Yup, that ol’ tea kettle was still on the boil.
I finished with my interview and the next candidates were allowed in. Both of these folks were in the same ward as I, but in the four years I had been attending city council meetings this was the first time I saw them in a council meeting. Needless to say I was once again black listed. Not because I wasn’t qualified but because I had the temerity to be truthful, ask questions and stand my ground.
Agenda line item #11 City Employee Updates e-Finance Office c-03/21/2017 Meeting update a-Motion to enter into Executive Session Pursuant to SCL 1-25-2-5 Marketing Discussion.
There was a discussion on going into Executive Session, but because of the loud Public Input discussion and a concern about a open meeting violation , it was decided not to go into closed session.
The discussion covered was mis-information that FCS expansion was going to cause the Union County Fair to leave Alcester, the city had ‘improved East Clark street when a good chunk of the land under the street was not (as I understand it) owned by the Alcester, the Railroad has a right of way and FCS cannot put a scale on their right-of-way. Marvelous! Just Marvelous! First the county commissioners have considered moving or merging the Union County Fair for some time. The Union County commissioners have spoken of a merge of Union and Lincoln County Fair, Extension Agents have covered two counties and I vaguely remember talk of a Clay-Union Fair merge which makes sense. If the fairs were merged a mid-point Elk Point-Vermillion at I29 would be a logical and equi-distant location for the parties. FO Pat Jurrens opined that moving the Union County Fair to a spot near I29 was, “…Stupid thinking on commissioners and Janet Lingle’s part…” because farmers hauling livestock shouldn’t have to worry about having a broken tail light. Logic? Did you really just say it is okay for farmers/livestock haulers shouldn’t have to obey vehicle operational equipment laws. In addition to FO Jurrens strong, emotional thoughts on a merge and/or move of the Union County Fair, newly appointed Councilwoman Darla Reppe questioned which commissioner represented the Alcester area. Oh-oh! (Milton Ustad-Beresford, Rich Headid-North Sioux City, Tom Kimmel-Dakota Dunes, Michael Dailey-Jefferson and Kevin Joffer-Elk Point) To which Councilwoman Reppe remarked and I paraphrase here, “…they are all from the south and will vote Elk Point”. Councilwoman Reppe went on to explain her family had a hand in lobbying to locate the Union County Fair in Alcester. Where was the Union County Fair before that?
The city was requesting the county turn over the land parcel in question to the city since they had been taking care of it all these years, Union County Commissioners disagreed. Alcester FO Jurrens stated she had contacted Maggie Gillespie,SVRRA railroad authority concerning acquisition of right-of-way-land. I have to wonder what kind of ‘thinking’ it is to consider the railroad would give up their right-of-way knowing how much buffer space they need if heaven forbid a derailment happens within the confines of Alcester city, particularly at IOWA street and EAST CLARK?
Getting back to the question of Executive session, No Alcester municipal owned business involved, No contracts involved, No marketing secrets involved and definitely not worthy of Executive session.