05/09/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

At 6:00 p.m. Mayor Glas half-Glas’d the regular meeting of the Alcester City Council into session with Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilman Dan Haeder and Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson present.  Alcester City Councilman Lance Johnson was AWOL.  I use the term half-Glas’d in place of the more colorful phrase half-a**’d describing the quality of performance of execution of duty.

Agenda item #3 Mayor Glas called for Agenda approval.  Here is where it gets interesting ’cause listed on the agenda under new council agenda item #2 titled administer oaths of office which list:  Linda Talbott, Ward I; Melissa Kay, Ward I; David Larsen, Ward II; Lance Johnson, Ward III; and Darla Reppe, Ward, III.  When Mayor Glas called for agenda approval, Councilman Lance Johnson was AWOL and Linda Talbott was not present and from conversation in the hallway it appears Finance Officer Jurrens and Mayor Glas were aware these folks were not going to be present or had been put off with a whisper of-needing-a-notice-of-vacancy published.  Interesting?  You betch yer sweet bippy!

I saw the agenda item #2 entry and wondered at Ms. Talbott’s inclusion in the Oath of Office Administration because there was no notice of vacancy for Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle’s Ward I seat.  On Monday, May 7, 2018, I visited Alcester Union-Hudsonite publisher Shane Hill, asking him if the paper had published a notice of vacancy advertisement because I could not find any notice of vacancy in the paper.  He checked his emails from Finance Officer Jurrens and found only the notice of vacancy received in January 2018 for publication January 18, 2018, and January 25, 2018, well in advance of the February 23, 2018, deadline for return of nomination petitions. That last-minute comment about notice-of-vacancy just prior to the start of council meeting makes my paranoid self wonder, had my seat belt even been clicked into place at the news office before Finance Officer Jurrens was given the heads up, she was found out!  H-m-m

After I returned home from my visit with Publisher Hill, I remembered chit-chat immediately prior to the April 2, 2018, council meeting this was Councilwoman Sundstrom-Lyle’s last meeting and because Finance Officer Jurrens had announced in an earlier March meeting there would be no city election, I presumed Councilwoman Sundstrom-Lyle had resigned.  That begged the questions

why no notice of vacancy and how was it Ms. Talbott’s name appeared on the agenda to be administered the oath of office? 

I telephoned Mrs. Sundstrom-Lyle asking if she had resigned, she told me, “…no she had just run out her term of office…”  So that left the only other legal option for Ms. Talbott’s name on the agenda for Oath of Office was Ms. Talbott presented a nomination petition. by deadline.

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, I delivered in-person a FOIA to the City of Alcester requesting a copy of the nomination petition presented to Finance Officer Jurrens before the deadline of February 23, 2018.  Just in case, I also presented a simple form statement which stated that Finance Officer Pat Jurrens could not provide the requested election petition because_____which was to be filled out by Finance Officer Jurrens including her signature and date.  Upon my presentation of the FOIA, Finance Officer Jurrens told me Ms. Talbott had not presented a nominating petition so she (Finance Officer Jurrens) could not honor my FOIA.  I presented her the denial of FOIA document and asked her to please fill it out, sign and date it.  After Finance Officer Jurrens asked the question, “why would I (FO Jurrens) do that…?”, I replied it was a denial condition of the FOIA and at which point she complied.

So folks, another shining, troubling example of half-Glas’d, government!  Ms. Talbott DID NOT fill out a nominating petition, Ms. Talbott DID NOT submit a nominating petition prior to the February 23, 2018, deadline, Ms. Talbott was NOT appointed by Mayor Glas IN OPEN city council meeting, Ms. Talbott was NOT ratified by the Alcester City Council in OPEN city council meeting, so how in bloody Hades can she be administered an oath of office.  This begs the question,

 

Did the Alcester City Council Know?

 Did Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens deliberately keep this information from the Alcester City council?

 Why would the council knowingly approve an agenda (if they read it in advance) they knew to be in error?

Why didn’t the council ask questions why Ms. Talbott was not present?  (00:00:15)

The Agenda was approved unanimously, five ayes without question or discussion.

Agenda Item #5- Alcester Bar.  The great stool discussion would be funny if it was not your and my tax dollars being wasted on Madam Woolworth.  It appears the City of Alcester is subsidizing the Deems with tax dollars to the detriment and direct competition with other three Alcester City liquor sellers.  (00:02:30)

The was a prolonged discussion of should we (taxpayers) pay for stools, shouldn’t we (taxpayers) pay for stools, what kinds of stools, should we buy two-part stools, should they swivel, should they not swivel and if we get stools that don’t swivel how are the bar belles going to stay on their stools.  Seat-belts?  The great stool debate, are ya kidding me?  Oh I know, “Let’s buy elevated versions of ‘them speshal’ office chairs they got in the Alcester finance office!” Ya know one of ‘them’ chairs with them bouncy balls instead of ‘reglar’ seats, so’s to take pressure off the brain?”  Why them ol’ bartenders could tell for ‘sartin’ they over-served a customer ’cause that ol’ bar beau or bar belle couldn’t stay on the stool.  ‘Cause you know in the past Madam seemed ‘to think’ our police officers were Uber drivers and 911 was the Uber ‘quik’ call number!

Not once has the council asked for the financials of the Deems on what they had spent on bar upkeep unlike their stiff, rooster legged reaction to Agenda Item #7 in the new council session (00:17:30). Ya sure don’t see the council getting testy about Madam coming to them on a regular basis with her hand out, hollerin’, ‘hey buddy can ya spare a dime?’ an’ ladies and gents, Madam sure doesn’t mean ten cents!

Agenda Item #6-Planning and Zoning Hearing.  The gallery had questions on parking on the grass, no longer a light industrial class, and once again the great semantic corrugated debate. (00:24:30)   Mayor Glas arguing the metal roof on house were not corrugate and that galvanized was a kind of metal.  I pointed out corrugation was process much like extrusion which shapes the steel, copper or aluminum sheets into stronger and ascetically attractive roofing.  I also explained to Mayor Glas that galvanization was a secondary process to metal.  (00:26:12)  Changes to wording were discussed and handed off to the planning committee to correct the wording.  One word here, the council seemed inclined to half-glas’d the issue with the wording on a case-by-case basis.  Translation:   if we like you, if you’re our good ‘bud’, or if your nose is placed between our posteriors and the big, inflated, bouncy ball of my office chair, I will find in your favor.

Agenda Item #8– Adjourn the old council

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Agenda Item #1-Open New Council

Agenda Item #2-Oath of Office  The Oath of Office was administered to Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, and Councilman David Larsen.

Agenda Item #5-Public Input

  • Derek Lykken asked, “… how people were expected to know when the city council met and how they could find out about city business…” Council responses to Mr. Lykken’s questions were via the internet (?), the front door of the auditorium, and the city offices.
  • Mike Kezar asked the question, “in the event of the mayor’s (non-voting member) absence and the president of the council (voting member of the council) took the meeting over, did the president of the council retain his vote while he was presiding in the absence of the mayor and what would happen in the event of a tie. Council members just looked at each other in confusion.  It had been practiced, in the council president’s position as mayor pro tem in the mayor’s absence, he would not have a vote with the exception of a tie.  Per Roberts Rules, “…The chair cannot, however, vote twice, first to make a tie and then give the casting vote…”
  • I distributed documents as to procedure for the ‘special assessment’ aka the curb tax with which we were served. According the South Dakota Municipal League’s, Guide to Special Assessments the city must include certain information to the property owners.

In my opinion Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens office half- Glas’d the municipal checkbook and budget by failing to observe the restriction on the second penny sales tax which protected the property tax paying residents of Alcester from municipal pick-pockets.

Agenda Item #7Alcester Fire Department request.  This agenda item dealt with the Alcester Volunteer Fire Department’s request for additional funding support to the fire department for five of the department’s volunteers to go to Fire School.  The question was raised how much do we give the Fire Department, where do they spend their money, do we have financial statements from the Fire Department.  We need financial statements from the Fire Department. It seemed to me the council was under the delusion the Fire Department could exist nicely on the stipend the city was providing to them.  Finance Officer Pat Jurrens again played the seventh council  member by injecting her opinion that she had suggested several fund-raising options to Chief Kast and expressed her irritation at his response to her suggestions.  (00:15:56)

Agenda Item #8(c)-Slide (pool) discussion.  It is to be noted here the free slide being offered by Beresford is a mobile (on wheels) contraption and the pool for safety reasons needs to be roped off at the point of drop in order to protect swimmers in the water from the body dropping off the slide.  What I see is one more toy the city is going have to store because it was not appropriate for our pool size and design.  The other question is WHY did Beresford permanently remove this slide from their pool?

Agenda Item #10 (b)(f)Police Department.  Two things under this agenda item, first in spite of Mayor Glas’ penchant of Executive session/personnel the council proceeded to discuss in open session Officer Nelson’s Resignation, Certification Reimbursement, how much he should pay, how long he had to pay it back and possible garnishment of his wages (01:30:47) including reference to a former officer Tim Peete. BIG NO-NO. 

Secondly the discussion of police officer interviews.  A young candidate was present to schedule an interview because she was going to be out of the state at the time of interviews.  Chief Doty’s plan was to interview prospective officer candidates and submit his pared-down choices for council interview.  Unfortunately Police Chief Doty was called away prior to the meeting which ultimately became Mayor Glas, Finance Officer Jurrens and certain council members opening for aggressive micro-management of the police department.  The group was busy making arrangements to interview all 8 or so candidates and then let Chief Doty know what their choice was.  (01:46:26)

Agenda Item #10 (f)(2)-Set date for Special Police Meeting.

Meeting was set for May 21, 2018, 6:00 p.m.

Agenda Item #12 (a)1-6  – Renovating the auditorium.  Finance Officer Jurrens wants to put in new carpeting, new tile, stalls and flooring in the men’s room downstairs.  There was talk of ADA compliant changes, yo how are those folks ADA gonna get down those steps?  Duh?

Agenda Item #12 (b) – Lifeguards.  A discussion took place about the hiring of Ms. Abby Walth as lifeguard.  Councilman David Larsen moved to hire Ms. Walth at minimum wage, at which point Councilman Larsen asked FO Pat Jurrens the minimum wage amount per hour, FO Jurrens replied, “$8.81/hour” AMAZING The South Dakota minimum wage of $8.85/hour took effect on January 1, 2018.  Another half-Glas’d job of disseminating important inFOrmation  Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded the motion, NO DISCUSSION and the council voted unanimous to hire Abby Walth at $8.81/per hour.  Now the council is going to have a ‘DO-OVER!’ so Abby will be paid the proper wage.  (02:23:27)  So how many other minimum wage city employees have been short-paid since January 1, 2018?

Agenda Item #12(f)-Executive session.  PERSONNEL 1-25-2.1   Go figure!

Well of course!  Executive session began at 8:33 p.m. and ended at 9:08 p.m.

Agenda Item #12(h)Set July meeting date.

Date for the regular Alcester Council meeting was changed from July 2, 2018, to July 10, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.

Agenda Item #17 Executive Session-Personnel   AGAIN!

Evidently the council was not done bashing personnel.  The past four to five years  council have gone into Executive council more times in two months that previous councils went into Executive session in four years barring a lawsuit session.  Check the minutes see for yourselves how many executive sessions and how many times it was for PERSONNEL!

Council went into closed session for ‘personnel’ at 9:22 p.m. and back in open session at 9:35 p.m.

Immediately after opening the session and before the gallery could get back into the room, Mayor Glas appointed Councilwoman Melissa Kay to the Public Safety Committee.  I did not hear the entire appointment because I was just approaching and entering the room and only caught part of the action.  Since it did not appear on the agenda, I legitimately questioned the ‘appointment’ and received some short, terse, and snarky replies that it was for a committee appointment.  Ladies and Gentlemen of the Council, YOU did not do the patiently waiting gallery the courtesy of allowing them back into the room and seated before you resumed business, effectively maintaining closed meeting because the public was not yet present in the room!

Motion to Adjourn

MEETING WAS ADJOURNED APPROXIMATELY 9:40 P.M.

Note:  Certain council actions just after the council comes back into session from closed session are not always captured on camera.  Upon the executive session declared, I remove my camera from its tripod taking it with me into the hallway.  Upon the executive session declared back in open session, I return and re-attach the camera back to the tripod.  A process which sometimes takes moments of council time that is not recorded.