12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery-Part I

       Mayor Glas opened the December 21, 2017, special city council meeting with Alcester council members David Larsen, Lance Johnson, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Dan Haeder with the recitation of the pledge of allegiance at 5:00 p.m.  Councilwoman Darla Reppe arrived late due to confusion with the time of meeting start.

Prior to the meeting Vickie Larsen placed abridged copies of her Complaint to the Office of Legislative Audit at the seats of Mayor Glas, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe and Councilman Lance Johnson*  Since Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was not present, a full copy was delivered to his office on December 22, 2017.

Councilman Lance Johnson moved to approve the agenda as presented with Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle seconding the motion.  Councilman David Larsen having read the Complaint to the Office of Legislative Audit, began discussion with a request to add public input between agenda items #3 Agenda approval and #4 Equipment Bond because the council was proposing another large expenditure of money on equipment.  After a bit more discussion, Councilman Larsen moved to amend the Agenda with the addition of Public Input between Agenda Approval and Equipment purchase agenda items, Councilman Dan Haeder seconded the motion to amend and with no further discussion Council members, David Larsen, Dan Haeder, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and Lance Johnson voted unanimously to amend the agenda and agenda placement.  The council went on to approve the agenda with the amendment attached with a unanimous vote of the quorum of four.

Public input was called and I responded to questions whether the Office of Legislative Audit had any authority of the Alcester City.  I replied yes, the Office of Legislative Audit did have authority.  I explained I visited with Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland prior to December 4, 2017, meeting to express my concerns after which discussion we agreed to disagree.  I then knew my options.  In the December 4, 2017, meeting I pointed out my belief the city had violated the restriction placed upon the second penny sales tax.  Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens disagreed and were prepared to go forward obligating second penny sales tax income on yet more equipment.  So my course of action was already plotted as evidenced by my complaint.  I explained if they persisted in spending the second penny sales tax on equipment in defiance of the ordinance restriction and were found in error, the city would have to replace all moneys spent in violation and would have to come out of the general fund or the first penny sales tax.  The council conceded they should re-think the excessive (my term not theirs) equipment spending.

Agenda item-Equipment purchase was called.  Discussion was lively and the
most real discussion I have seen to date. The council began dissecting Mayor
Glas’s and Finance Officer Jurren’s plan for adding more financial stress to the
residents of the city. The council looked at delaying the pick-up truck purchase for
a year, they questioned the use for the dump truck and looked at other methods
they could implement to get the dump truck work done. By this time
Councilwoman Darla Reppe had arrived and she mentioned she had been
approached about the equipment spending specifically the ‘fancy’ police truck.
Councilman David Larsen asked the question, “…would the employees be upset
with delaying equipment purchases…” to which Councilman Lance Johnson
opined, “…we’ve spent a fortune for employees in the past year…” Not the most politic public comment I’ve heard in a while, usually Councilman Lance reserved those genre of comments for Alcester law enforcement. No action was taken regarding equipment Purchase.

Executive session was called for:  Community Center SDCL 1-25-2-4 to
discuss contracts. Imagine that, ’cause for numerous months when the
community building agenda item was called there was always No update! In
addition Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was not present to take part in the
‘contract’ discussion. So who was going to offer a legal opinion, Finance Officer
Jurrens, the bookkeeper or Mayor Glas, concrete extraordinaire? So what
contracts, with whom, how much is it going to cost the taxpayers of Alcester and
will ‘we the people’ have some sort of say or will we be left to silently suffer some type of
Jumanji edifice gracing our community? I mean we already have a pseudo city
administrator avatar that looks just like the city Finance Officer. No action taken
in open session.

Property management-Oh my goodness Mayor Glas is on a tear. “…the city needs to clean up…we do not have enough enforcement!…Our code officer is not getting the job done, why I hear…” and “…we need bigger fines…”we need volunteers to help the elderly-disabled clean up…”. In my opinion Mr. Mayor, clean up the city offices, get rid of the clutter passing for ‘decor’.  The city office is where we conduct business and needs to look professional NOT give one the impression he has just dropped through the Pinterest Rabbit Hole just as he passes through the city office doors! So Mr. Mayor clean up your own office doorstep before ya’ll start writin’ tickets on the rest of us! Oh and
contrary to finance office gossip, main street businesses are NOT exempt from
Property Maintenance regulations.

I am happy to announce the city will be contacting the South Dakota State
Trapper to take care of the coyote infestation rather than let some citizen Wyatt
Earp wanna-be doin’ target practice at the Alcester City land-fill. W-a-a-hoo!

Now we have arrived at the whole purpose of the meeting, uh-m-m, yeah,
right. At the conclusion of each fiscal year, the city must rob Peter to pay Paul so-to-speak. Finance Officer Jurrens must ‘borrow’ moneys from accounts that STILL contain money to prop up the over-drawn accounts.**  This is called a Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance and not to be confused with a Resolution. You see a Resolution takes one reading with publication while an Ordinance takes TWO readings with publication. Now the importance of this, is Finance Officer Jurrens who admitted she did not understand the difference between an Ordinance and a Resolution took a short cut by scheduling only ONE reading. The importance, is the city HAD to schedule a third December meeting to do the Ordinance correctly. Now the city council agreed to forego payment for this corrective meeting, however the council should not have to eat the cost and inconvenience of this third meeting had Finance Officer Jurrens just sought the advice of the City Attorney instead of relying on her own legal ‘expertise’.  The Council voted on the first reading of the Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance and scheduled a meeting on December 29, 2017, at 7:00 a.m. to fulfill the required TWO readings.

Due to lack of dual control and risk management issues, our local audit accountant recommended monthly spot checks of the city books as a risk management tool.  The council has chosen to take turns doing monthly spot checks.  As encouragement to the
council, good ol’ Mayor Glas says, “…I have done this and it is very easy to do…”
This is sadly amusing in that during the discussion on coyote trapping, Mayor
Glas ask three times in the course of about five (5) minutes how much the bounty
on coyotes was and each time the answer was $20 a head. Dear sweet aunt Tillie
it is like having Mr. Magoo check out the fine-print on a $100K contract!

Last item on the agenda was 2018 contracts SDCL 1-25-2-(4) which is
Preparing for contract negotiations or negotiating with employees or employee
representatives. The council voted to go into executive session presumably to
discuss contract negotiations. This is interesting since the city attorney was not
present and the only NON-Council member in executive session with the council
members was Finance Officer Pat Jurrens who does not operate under a contract,
and while she has on occasion attempted to tell the City Attorney what legal advice
he should be handing out, she is NOT a lawyer. The council spent from 6:18 p.m.
to 6:53 p.m. discussing ‘contracts’.

Meeting adjourned at 6:54 p.m.

* See part II for abridged text
** Contact Alcester City office for the text of the 2017 Supplement Appropriation Ordinance