09/19/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

After Mayor Tom Glas opened the September 6, 2017, regular meeting of Alcester City council with the following council members present; Lance Johnson, Darla Reppe, Dan Haeder, Audri Carlson, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and David Larsen.  After the council and gallery recited the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor ‘Tom’ called for approval of the agenda.

Alcester Councilman Lance Johnson made the motion to approve the agenda with a second by Councilwoman Darla Reppe.  No discussion took place and the agenda was approved unanimously.  It is to be noted here the practice of emailing the agenda to those on the council who are computer literate.  It is my understanding Councilman Lance Johnson does not email and therefore receives his agenda in alternative form.

What is interesting is the agenda distributed on September 6th (the copy I received a line item agenda entry 10 city employees, sub ‘e’ finance office, sub iii Chamber tree appeared on the second page) and on those agendas emailed on September 5th, 2017, at approximately 1:00 p.m. the Christmas tree line item did not appear.  So the problem was the agenda Councilman Lance Johnson moved to approve, different than those emailed and thus the email Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded did not have the agenda line item of the Christmas tree AND apparently was not posted twenty four hours before the meeting denying the public access to an accurate agenda.  In this instance it appears we have council members voting on an amended agenda without their knowledge.

Legal updates included Mayor ‘Tom’ pushing at Alcester City Attorney to craft a developers agreement between the Industrial Board and the Developer which was news to our city attorney.  Mayor ‘Tom’ was whizzing and moaning, “by golly this has been going on too long and we gotta get this done…”  The city has no tangible interest in the North Forty Industrial Park because it has not been completed and turned over to the city.  As Councilman David Larsen asked, “Why?..this tract is not the city’s responsibility…why is the city paying legal fees to draft a developers agreement?”  In addition Councilman Lance Johnson was quiet as mouse about paying for the Industrial Board’s legal fees.  I seem to remember a diatribe rant Council Lance Johnson lobbed at me for asking free legal advice when the city attorney asked me about communications Mayor Peter Larsen had with the other city mayors in the county concerning dispatch lawsuit.

Next up was the Kleinhans plat approval.  Evidently FO Pat Jurrens and Lonnie Johnson of the street department met with the developer.  Why is the city bookkeeper meeting with the developer, why was it not Mayor ‘Tom’ or the city attorney?  After watching Mayor ‘Tom’ attempt to sign and struggled to date the four documents properly I can see why he kept away from the developer.  Dear sweet aunt Tilly, I thought we were going to have to issue an amber alert for Mayor ‘Tom’ he was s-o-o-o lost.

Continuing to the police part of the agenda.  Ride-along changes.  Adopted Police personnel manual crafted by former police chief Ryan Knutson and city attorney Chuck Haugland versus Mayor ‘Tom’s’ interpretation where the Mayor ‘Tom’ gives permission or must have a city councilman permission.  Are ya kidding?  Risk the city’s liability position and city coffers to a guy who cannot figure out hour to write September 6, 2017, on a contract?  Trust the legal liability knowledge to a guy who says he knows all about concrete, yet cannot tell a decorative brick wall from a load bearing wall?

Police Chief Chris announced the city would be needing a part-time officer November 1st due to the year certification rule.  Names of individual certified officers discussed in a previous meeting were reintroduced into the discussion when wonder-of-wonders Councilman Lance Johnson parliamentarian extraordinaire (well at least that is what he alluded to when he sharply declined to go to a SDML seminar on council procedures) made a motion to NOT hire officer so-n-so with a second from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom.   This lame-brained motion did not die for lack of second but was rescinded not necessarily in the correct form but enough to get it off the record and to keep from action against the city for discussing suitability of an applicant by name in open session.  Mr. Councilman Lance, you do not make motion NOT to do something.  Maybe you could take an IEP course on Motions on-line.

Finance Office approval of warrants.  It is noted here that in the August 7th, 2017, regular meeting the council approved warrants without any question of the $100 warrant made out to the Jenna Benzel Memorial.  Remember this for the input section.

Next line item was called the budget or euphemistically FO-Pat’s wish list; new computer systems, new street sweeper, skid loader, dump truck, city pick-up, meter reading system, etc.

One item on the budget of interest, was the item where Loren Fisher refunds outside city garbage pick-ups back to the city.  Interesting, ’cause I hear FO-Pat has been billing entities outside Alcester city limits.

Alcester City Finance Officer Pat Jurrens’ budget mantra at the September 6, 2017, Alcester City Council meeting paraphrased,

 “…anything over four years old (re: city street equipment and finance office equipment) should be replaced…”

How long have you been finance officer, Ma’am?  3 years?  4 years?

Council set September 20, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. for a special meeting, motion was made by Councilman David Larsen, seconded by Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and was affirmed unanimously.

October 2, 2017, 6:00 p.m. regular meeting is set in the city-school library.

And finally after executive sessions, the phantom last minute (literally) Christmas tree, 2018 budget without a budget copy for the gallery to follow along (usually one copy should be provided to the gallery so they can follow along), fair board update, updates including planning and zoning, chamber farmers market, Fireman’s pancake fee, fall clean up, music in the park fundraiser, and AHHS special bond election, line item number 11- PUBLIC INPUT.  O-o-h.  My punishment for daring to ask for line item placement on the agenda and creating a dust up.

My question to the Mayor was what did they know about the article, Small Towns Sticking Together by Sydney Kern, July 30, 2017, KDLT.  Nothing was said in the August 7, 2017, meeting and I had contacted a council member who had no knowledge of any moneys given to the city. There was no action taken to account for the money coming in nor going out and there was no article acknowledging the donation.  After I asked the question, the council members looked at each other and then at Finance Officer Pat Jurrens.   Finance Officer Pat Jurrens finally ‘explained’ $500.00 was delivered to the city and according FO-Pat the folks at the Barn Restaurant in Canton requested the donation go to the family of Jenna Benzel.  H-m-m

I went to the published minutes and approved warrants of the regular Alcester City Council meeting of August 7, 2017, where I found a $100.00 donation to the Jenna Benzel Memorial.

There was no announcement to the council of receipt of $500.00 from the Canton Restaurant, there was no motion, second or vote to pay out the donated $500.00 funds to the Benzel family nor was there a motion, second or vote to pay out $100.00 funds to the Benzel family just an approval without the question why is the city paying out these funds? And once again I have been denied line item agenda time on September 20, 2017, special meeting to ask where did the difference of $500.00 income minus $100.00 pay out go?  I have once again been relegated to Public Input.