Giving money and power to our city council is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
P.J. O’Rourke quote
Thus begins the commencement of the June 4, 2018, Alcester City Council with Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Council Candidate Linda Talbott, Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson, and oh yeah councilman Lance Johnson.
We all stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then all the agenda line items were figuratively tossed into a lottery hopper, spun around and Mayor Half-Glas’d proceeded to pluck the agenda balls off the top of the hopper much like a Saturday night lottery ball pick.
Agenda Item #3 – Approve the Agenda
Agenda Item #4 – Approve Minutes of 05/07/2018 and 05/21/2018
Agenda Item #5 – Administer Oath of Office Ward 1 Candidate Linda Talbott (00:02:18) – I do not recall the council ratifying Mayor Half-Glas’ appointment of Mrs. Talbott. According to SDCL 9-14-3,
“…Each appointive officer of a municipality governed by a mayor and common council shall be appointed by the mayor with the approval of the council…”
So if I am correct, how does the vote of individual who has not been formally ratified and who has taken part in several council votes affect council business.
Agenda Item #6 – Mayor appointment of committee-Yup Mayor Half-Glas’d looked down at the list to see whom he appointed and to which committees.
Agenda Item #7 – Public Input- I spoke first advising the council the pool rules are no longer present at the pool. Prior to the beginning of the meeting I distributed copies of sample pool rules, highlighting rules which need to be instituted to conform to safety issues with a slide to each of the council members, council-candidate Talbott and City Attorney Sam Nelson. I formally advised them of pool slide uses which due to liability exposure should be prohibited. (00:04:29) NO Action.
(00:06:18) Mayor Glas took up space on public input (when he, as author of the agenda could have had an agenda item all to himself) complaining about properties in violation of green growth height and junk. Yo Mayor, did ya forget we have property maintenance ordinances? Did ya forget we have a code ordinance enforcement officer, Geoff Fillingsness? Have you not seen FO Pat wandering down the streets during city office business hours with her protégé and camera taking pictures of the weed realms? Sir didn’t ya’ll get FO Pat’s’ memo on that one?
Ostensibly the ‘need’ for outside code enforcement is to take heat off local employees doing the ticketing job. So when observant souls in Alcester see FO Pat and her entourage a haulin’ their fannies down the street and stopping in the weed realms to take pictures we are to assume they’re scrapbooking for the Alcester Historical Page of the Union? Really! I heard-tell of the golf-cart cortege and how the ‘girls’ were taking pictures of high-jump-sized weeds, drooping trees, eye-balling the height of over-hang and the Salvador Dali school of junk art. Since no one reported a jousting-style 14 foot pole with the golf-cart cadre or NBA basketball player with a l-o-n-g tape measure standing next to over-hanging trees, eyeball measurements are not best evidence and could be successfully challenged.
Mayor Half-Glas’d called upon the council for ideas TO FORCE ordinance compliance and as the character of Sergeant Schultz was often quoted in the TV series, Hogan’s Heroes, “…I know nothing…n-o-t-h-i-n-g…” Glas-knost nothin’ neither! But… but he is the mayor, he is supposed to know!
Since it wasn’t 6:30 pm yet, Mayor Half-Glas’d pulled Agenda item #9 from the top of the lottery tumbler. Lonnie Johnson gave a synopsis of street updates, flashing cross light with no push buttons and pool updates. Here was the perfect opportunity for the council to address potential changes in the pool rules or at least have the pool committee of Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilman David Larsen and councilman Lance Johnson set up a meeting to address the liability, insurance and pool rules as they apply to the new ‘used’ ‘slide’. NOPE-didn’t happen!
Still not 6:30 p.m. so Mayor Half-Glas’d moved onto Agenda Item 10 – Water/Wastewater Dale Pearson. OOPS Mayor didn’t get the memo Dale was not present, so Mayor Half-Glas’d had Lonnie Johnson give the water/wastewater synopsis.
Agenda Item #11 – Police Department-Police Chief Chris Doty was not able to be present so Mayor Glas hop-scotched onward.
Agenda Item #12 – Golf Course Updates – Councilman David Larsen gave an update on golf course. Items b and c were postponed until later in the meeting because they required executive session.
Agenda Item #13 – Finance Office Updates –
- a) Parking at the Park – concrete bridge near horseshoe pit blocks access for the two northern most homes on Park Place. Evidently the alley of clown concreters ‘…did the city a favor…’ by what appears to be an unauthorized change order by building a Dukes of Hazard style ramp/bridge which ‘precipitated’ the flooding of a ‘down-stream’ home. Who let this pratfall of clowns out unsupervised? The council cemented their decision to delegate by handing this exercise in concrete off to Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson so he could present them with a firm solution.
- b) Fitting Madam’s door. Evidently Madam’s door was too short, so Mr. Pies was hired to lower the hem on her door. Councilman Haeder assured the Mayor and the council that Madam had been take care of.
IT IS 6:30 p.m. Now we go back in ‘Agenda time’ to Agenda Item #8 – City Council Public Hearing for 2018 Planning and Zoning. Alcester Councilman David Larsen moved to accept the changes in the Zoning Ordinance, Councilman Lance Johnson made the second and with no further discussion the council voted to accept the changes and officially accept the first reading of the 2018 Planning and Zoning Ordinance. Although the term ‘Planning’ in this context has been to date an oxymoron.
Mayor Half-Glas’d be-bopped back to Agenda Item #11 and Police chief candidate and part-time police officer candidate interviews. At 6:35 p.m. councilman Lance Johnson moved to go into executive session to conduct police department interviews, second came from Councilwoman Melissa Kay and with no discussion the group voted unanimously to enter executive session for the purpose stated.
(00:35:43) councilman Lance Johnson in response to your pronouncement that I am not a council member. That is true but neither is Pat Jurrens a member of the Alcester City Council, she gave that up to poach the position of Alcester Finance Officer. Finance Officer Jurrens has no special insight, no special employee interview talents nor does she have legal standing over any other resident of the City of Alcester to be included in executive session, therefore in your own words councilman Lance Johnson she needed to, “…get out!…”
In addition any historical information concerning wages, resumes, applications is contained within city records available to each and every council member.
Currently, the city of Alcester makes no record of executive session therefore the presence of the city attorney needed unless he is supplying legal advice or opinion. Should a written record be needed, the president of the council acts as recorder. Therefore councilman Lance Johnson if the meeting is open enough to support Pat Jurrens presence, it can support my presence as well as any other interested parties presence which in fact makes the meeting open.
At the conclusion of the executive session at 8:35 p.m., the mayor entertained council motions, seconds-to-the-motions and votes to hire Jeff Christie as Police Chief and Kendra Windeshausen as part time officer
The mayor re-called Agenda Item #12 (b) and (c). Golf Course Committee Chair David Larsen raised the questioned whether the council still needed to go into executive session for the golf course. FO Pat piped up and said yes. Curious the guy who is the Golf Course Committee Chairman having an active participation in the daily operations of the Alcester Golf Course questions the need for executive session and yet Finance Officer Pat Jurrens over-ruled him on the need for executive session. H-m-m!
The Council returned to Agenda Item #13 (c) (1) for the Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Training course. Date of Training and unlike the TV series, MASH character Five o’clock Charlie the group could not land on a time for the training just they felt they needed to be trained. The question was never called, so no action on the item.
Agenda Items 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 were superfluous and quickly dispatched, so finally Agenda Item #19 Adjournment was called and with all the alacrity of the last Amen after a two hour sermon in a non-air-conditioned church on a piping, hot day the council voted to adjourn.
After the meeting I questioned Mayor Glas what his reason for keeping Pat Jurrens in Executive sessions was, he hesitated but replied, “…it’s personal…” I replied how can it be personal, you are mayor, how can your inclusion of Pat Jurrens in executive sessionto interview Police Chief and part-time police officer be personal? I didn’t get a responsive answer, only that the city attorney told him he could keep Pat Jurrens in executive sessions a-n-d so the conversation devolved. I walked outside, came across the city attorney and ask him if he had told Mayor Glas that Finance Officer Pat Jurrens could stay in executive session that didn’t require her bookkeeping duties. I got a surprises, non responsive answer but did take part in a spirit debate on why FO Pat should not be included in executive session since she is no more a member of the Alcester city council than I am.