01/16/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

The January 8, 2018, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Tom Glas with Council members Dan Haeder, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Lance Johnson, Darla Reppe and David Larsen present.  Also present was Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland.

(Prior to the opening of the Alcester City Council, I (Vickie Larsen) placed copies of my explanation of equipment purchases along with the figures, computations and loan calculator I used to come to the amount of “…Alcester City Council have spent almost $500,000.00 on equipment purchases through loans which debt service coverage obligation is from Alcester’s municipal second penny sales tax[1]…” which Alcester City Finance Officer Pat Jurrens requested for the council)

The council approved the agenda without change (Note:  Public Input was positioned as agenda item number six prior to any financing discussion, also copies of materials provided to the city council were provided with which the gallery could follow along during the meeting) and the council approved the minutes of the December 4, 2017, regular meeting, the December 21, 2017, special meeting and the December 29, 2017, special meeting without change or discussion.  It is to be noted here, that Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle upon the call for motion, asked the council if they knew of any changes to the minutes of the above mentioned meetings and receiving no additions or changes moved to approve the minutes as written.  Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded the motion, with no further discussion the group voted unanimously to approve the minutes as written.

Agenda Item 5 was called with Councilman Lance Johnson moving to go into Executive session to conduct interviews of candidates for the Ward I vacancy.  Councilman David Larsen seconded the motion, with no discussion the group voted five unanimous yea votes to close the session to discuss and interview Ward I candidates.  Council in Executive session at 6:02 p.m. and the gallery removed to the hallway and the council room door was closed with the following remaining in closed session:  Mayor Tom Glas, Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland, Councilmen Lance Johnson, Dan Haeder, David Larsen, Councilwomen Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Darla Reppe and Alcester City Finance Officer Pat Jurrens.

At 6:06 p.m. Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland came out of the room and at 6:08 p.m., sole Ward I candidate (Melissa*)Amanda Kay entered into Executive Session to be interviewed for the Ward I vacancy.  At 6:18 p.m. Mayor Glass declared the council out of Executive Session.

Once back in open session, Councilman Lance Johnson moved to appoint (Melissa*)Amanda Kay to the vacant Ward I seat with Councilman David Larsen seconding the motion.  With no discussion, the council voted four (4) to one (1) to accept the appointment of Amanda Kay to the vacant Ward I seat.  Councilwoman Julia Sundstromm-Lyle abstained from the vote.  Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland administered the oath office to Ms. Kay and upon administration of the oath, Alcester Ward I Councilwoman (Melissa*)Amanda Kay took her seat.

Agenda Item-Public Input was called and I responded directing the council to the figures I had provided to them before the meeting.  With no further public input the council moved down the agenda.



Under the 2018 Equipment Bond, the council did not yet have the physical resolution from Todd Meierhenry and upon advice from legal counsel the city council should not enact without the resolution document present, took no action.  There was a brief comment, the bond should not exceed $270K.  This resolution can be referred 20 days after publication.

Agenda Item Southeastern Plat map was called and was noted the Plat Map action needed to be in the form of a resolution.  Alcester City Councilman Dan Haeder was appointed to be the Planning Director (by Pat Jurrens)?  Finance Officer Pat Jurrens made the comment that, “…(she)chose Dan as President of Council…when Glas is not there…” Apparently Southeastern directors are selling off the Southeastern Electric Cooperative’s Managers House.  Councilman Dan Haeder moved to approve the Plat map plus/minus 1 acre, with the second coming from Councilwoman Darla Reppe, upon no discussion the council voted unanimously to approve the Plat Map.

Agenda item- Austin Schuller agreement was called.  Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland stated he had received no response from Austin’s attorney David Stewart concerning Mr. Haugland’s modifications to the contract.  Austin Schuller was present but City Attorney Haugland had ethics concerns and was reluctant to proceed without Austins legal representative present.  Austin stated he had a December 1, 2017, email in which his attorney had approved Mr. Haugland’s modifications to Austin’s academy sponsorship agreement.  Mr. Schuller forwarded his attorney’s December 1, 2047, email and upon receipt of that email the council elected to go ahead.  Alcester City Councilman David Larsen moved to approve the amended sponsorship agreement with Austin Schuller, second from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and with no further discussion the council voted unanimously (X6) to approve.

Agenda item-Retainer Agreement with Chuck Haugland.  Mr. Haugland of Gubbrud, Haugland and Gillespie has provided legal services to the city of Alcester for a modest retainer fee.  In the past years retainers, Mr. Haugland’s retainer fee has increased by only $5/hour with a dialed back minimum of one hour.  As recently as the October 3, 2017, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council,  Mayor Glas, Finance Officer Jurrens and Councilman Lance Johnson insisted that City Attorney Haugland was not to read or talk to me (A Voice from the Gallery or Vickie Larsen) and charge the city  “…The motion was made by Councilman Dan Haeder to approve the August legal warrant hold back of $52.50 and the September legal warrant hold back of $63.00 with no further legal time charged for reading A Voice from the Gallery blog, Second came from Councilman David Larsen.  Once again no discussion with an unanimous aye vote… ”    Mr. Haugland added a provision “…30 day notice to fire or Mr. Haugland to quit…”  Councilman Larsen moved to approve the City Attorney Haugland’s retainer agreement, Councilwoman Reppe seconded the motion to approve, with questions from Councilwoman Kay the group voted unanimously (X6) to approve Mr. Haugland’s retainer agreement.

The group also approved the Alcester Union and Hudsonite as the official newspaper and Premier Bank (formerly the State Bank of Alcester) as the official bank.

Employee updates included dump truck and chip sealing contracts.  Chip sealing contracts were discussed along with the amount of chip seal needed and the extension of the bid deadline.  The dump truck was once again discussed with comments from Councilman Lance Johnson and Mayor Glas as “…repair dump truck, no matter what!…hire and rent(Lance Johnson)…spent an awful lot of money (Mayor Glas)…with the group coming to the consensus of no action.

Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was dismissed by Mayor Glas right on schedule at 7:05 p.m.

Police Department update.  Alcester council has approved hiring two part-time officers.  Fernando Claren of the Dunes was hired on at $14.00/hour and will need training and certification.  Anthony Garcia who is certified from Madison, SD at $15.00/hour.

Finance Office agenda item to approve warrants.  Approved as presented.    Next agenda item was coyotes.  Evidently the state folks will only trap if the coyotes are doing damage and as explained to the state, Alcester landfill coyotes have not committed damage as the state defines it.  Why do anything?  Permission was given to Nick Day who was recommended by the SD state trapper to snare in the fence line and trap at the sewage beds.  Motion was made by Councilwoman Darla Reppe, second from Councilman Dan Haeder and with no discussion the group voted 4 yea; Lance Johnson, Dan Haeder, Darla Reppe and David Larsen, 1 nay; Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and 1 abstain; (Melissa*)Amanda Kay.

Agenda Item 2018 Municipal election:  Five vacancies on the council of six:  Ward I-Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Ward I-(Melissa*)Amanda Kay, Ward II-David Larsen, Ward III-Lance Johnson and Ward III-Darla Reppe.

March 26, 2018, voter registration.  Petitions taken out 01/26/2018 and signed returned Petitions due February 23, 2018, 15 signatures needed extra signatures advised in case of disqualifications.  April 10, 2018, election day.

Agenda item #15(e)(1) Resolution of 2018 Alcester city Fees-  Motion by Councilman Johnson, second from Councilwoman Reppe, with no discussion and vote of five (5) yeas; Johnson, Reppe, Haeder, Larsen, Sundstro-Lyle with one (1) abstain (Melissa*) Amanda Kay.

Agenda Item 2018 Salaries and Contracts-  Motion for Executive Session by Councilwoman Reppe, second from Councilman Johnson, no discussion, vote unanimous.  Council in Executive session at 7:33 p.m.  Council declared out of Executive session at 7:45 p.m.

Councilman Larsen moved to approve the Wages and Salaries, seconded by Councilman Johnson, no discussion with five (5) yea votes and one (1) abstain.  Councilman Larsen moved to go into Executive session to discuss contracts, with the second from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, no discussion with unanimous vote of six (6) yeas.  Council went into Executive session at 7:50 p.m. without the presence of Finance Officer Pat Jurrens, and declared out of Executive session at 8:07 p.m.  At 8:10 p.m. Alcester City Councilman David Larsen left the meeting.

Agenda item 17 HRC-Mayor Glas broached the subject of selling the Four-plex on Lee Drive (piece meal-my term not Glas’).  Mayor Glas proposed the idea of selling each separate apartment much like a condominium. No further discussion or action taken.

No community building update*

Councilman Lance Johnson made the motion to adjourn, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle seconded the motion, no discussion and approved with five yea votes.  Meeting adjourn approximately 8:23 p.m.


Note  A couple of days after the January 8, 2018, meeting I was told of a meeting which took place on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in which one attendee was Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens in which there was an alleged discussion and an alleged approval of building a new Golf  Club House based upon a donation.  On Thursday, January 11, 2018, I visited with Finance Officer Jurrens questioning the alleged meeting upon which I was told that, “…there was no city council meeting but a planning meeting…”  H-m-m!

* I erred in reporting the name of the Ward I candidate and ultimately seated council member.  The newly seated Alcester City Councilwoman from Ward I is Melissa Kay not Amanda Kay as I indicated in this piece.  My apologies to Councilwoman Kay and to my readers.

[1] Vickie Larsen Complaint to Office of Legislative Audit, December 19, 2017, p 7.