03/28/2019 A Voice From the Gallery

The streets and alleys of our wards are notoriously failing, with Mayor Glas habitually and profoundly neglecting them, not failing, however, to draw his regular stipend from the city treasury.

This is something I learned today when I read Mayor Glas’ answers to the questions posed to him by Mr. Gordon Richards in the Alcester Union-Hudsonite, ‘never look a ‘gift’ mayor in the mouth’

Alcester Union Question:  “Why do you want to continue to be Mayor of Alcester?”

Mayor Glas’ answer:  “I enjoy working with all our city employees.  There are many more things I would like to accomplish which would make our town a better place.”

*Mayor Glas gave a non-responsive answer.  So WHAT things, Mayor Glas?  WHAT things have YOU accomplished Mayor Glas?

  • Fixed our streets? 
  • Abandoned alleys without proper notification or procedures? 
  • Allowed an earthen dam to be built in the park which promptly flooded residents? 
  • Kept the HRC in a solvent manner? 
  • Constructively fired our former city attorney Chuck Haugland with the help of your Finance Officer? 

“…On January 9, 2018, Tuesday morning after the Monday night regular meeting in which the council voted unanimously to approve the retainer with no discussion, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and Mayor ‘Tom’ visited Mr. Haugland’s law office telling him, “…the City Council felt that it was “time for a change” concerning the retention of our law office and me in particular as City Attorney for the City of Alcester…there was no other reason stated…and the City intended to retain Tom Frieberg of Frieberg, Nelson & Ask of Beresford, SD as the new City Attorney for the City of Alcester…”

Folks the council voted unanimously, Monday, January 8, 2018, and entered into a ratified, binding, good faith agreement.  But, wait!  On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, less than twenty-four hours later, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and Mayor Tom  are hot-footing it down to Chuck’s office to tell him, “the council decided it’s time for a change (in representation)!” 

 

  • You allowed the Finance Officer to gift herself with comp time and over-time for which she is ineligible?   

 

Alcester Union Question:  “What would you continue to bring to the Council?”

Mayor Glas’ answer:  “I bring forward any issues or concerns of our citizens…I always stand behind their (the city council’s) decisions

*Bring forward any issues or concerns of our citizens?  Nah and Mayor Glas some advice from an old Cowboy, “Do Not Corner Something That You Know is Meaner Than You!

 

letter requesting agenda placement

 

 

Mayors response via Pat Jurrens

 

 

 

Alcester Union Question:  “what has been your experience in politics and government”:

Mayor Glas’ answer:  “…I had no experience in politics…I am…very cautious, especially in spending…”

  • What about the $3.1M new office for FO Pat in the guise of a community center?
  • What about the $46K salary for Finance Officer Pat Jurrens?

 

  • What about the Overtime and comp time for Finance Officer Pat Jurrens,  while you stiffed our past police officers?

 

Alcester Union Question: “Why should the citizens of Alcester elect you to be the mayor?

Mayor Glas’ answer:  “…My job as mayor is not to micromanage our employees, but to let them do their jobs…If elected I will continue to do the same for 4 more years.”

*Mayor Glas’ advocates a hands-off position.  Mayor Glas has let Finance Officer Pat Jurrens run the city.  WE did not elect Pat Jurrens!  Pat Jurrens is the city bookkeeper not a city administrator nor a city manager.

  • Mayor Glas allowed Finance Officer create the fantasy of comp time and overtime.
  • Mayor Glas FAILED to sign off!
  • Mayor Glas FAILED to oversee his employee!  Mayor Glas FAILED to function as mayor!
  • AND Mayor Glas’ proposes to, “Continue to the same for four more years?”

There are risks and costs to action.  But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.

John F. Kennedy

 

 

Vote for the candidate who is in it for US! 

Vote for the candidate who wants to give us back OUR voice!

Vote for the candidate who will provide OVERSIGHT AND LEADERSHIP!

 

VOTE for Mike Bucholz!    

 

03/23/2019 A Voice From the Gallery

“Government is instituted for the common good:  for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.”

John Adams

Silencing the Voters

I am political!  Growing up Lutheran I practiced the Golden Rule, RSV Mathew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them;  for this is the law and the prophets.”  Please note the use of ‘practiced’ is my free admission I do not have this lesson totally learned so I continue to “practice” with the faith I will someday be good at it and I will be able to fit through the narrow gate.

I have held many positions as a Girl Scout Leader, to a volunteer EMT, but the one thing I am not is a liar.  You can believe me when I say telling the truth can be painful, it has cost me friends, it has cost me business, my political voice/position and I am sorry to say cost my husband, Peter a mayoral election and placed a great target upon my back.

I am political!  In 1999 I learned when one has rung the bell at the top of the rope of public embarrassment, public embarrassment no longer controls my behavior.  I started going regularly to the Alcester City Council meetings after Rick Johnson was elected mayor.  Upon Rick Johnson’s seating, I started writing regular letters to the editor to give my fellow residents and taxpayers highlights of the council meetings.  One of the first things Rick Johnson did as mayor was to appoint Finance Office Mike Kezar for only four months which was ratified by the Alcester City Council of which Patricia R. Jurrens was seated.

March 17, 2014, Special meeting.  The council opened bids on Beck Drive, Pat Jurrens Pet Project.  Pohlman Excavation came in with low bid at $194,353.06 which with additional fees blowing up the cost of Beck Drive to around $250K excluding the paving fee of what I believe $60K to be the city’s expense.  The deal was the HRC/City of Alcester would be paying interest payments only until lots were sold in which the price of the lot sales would be applied to the principal.  To date Folks, only ONE lot has sold.  I do believe the interest rate amount has exceeded the reasonable price of the remaining unsold lots.  Care to guess who is going to be called upon to pony-up more taxes to pay for a street on the far side of town?

03-27-2014 Beck Drive

It was but a week or so, the Finance Officer position was posted.  LO and BEHOLD Pat R. Jurrens long, harassing critic of Finance Officer Kezar applied for the Finance Officer appointment.  In the June 2, 2014, council meeting Patricia R. Jurrens was appointed to Alcester Finance Officer with a TRAINING SALARY OF $40K PER YEAR commencing June 30, 2014, and current Finance Officer Kezar to expected to train her at his $38K salary.  In addition there was talk of a $2K bump in Patty Rose’s salary after training, within a year.  WOW!

06-12-2014 Training Salary

Upon the September 2014 Mike Kezar’s ignominious ejection after 30 some years of public service to an agenda driven upstart.  FO Patty Rose Jurrens subsequently to be referred to as FOPRJ (pronounced FO-purge) began her campaign against the citizens of Alcester by offering up changes in ordinances, changing finance office job descriptions form SDML to FOPRJ code, spending money like it was being printed on the Finance Office Copy Machine, concealing payroll figures and exceeding her employment terms.

SDML Finance Officer description

In 2013 with the advent of Rick Johnson as mayor, the city of Alcester was subjected to a petty tyrant with absolutely NO Working Knowledge of city government beyond campus cop.  On July 6, 2015, with the appointment of Tom Glas to mayor, the city of Alcester was subjected to “Mr. Magoo goes to city hall” where NO Working Knowledge was elevated to a doctorate level.  In addition to Tom Glas’ appointment, the city of Alcester was gifted with a weak mayor who allowed and continues to allow the city Finance Officer to act as a proverbial Rabid Cat Off a Leash!

When the Alcester Union-Hudsonite was sold to Shane Hill, I was black-balled from the newspaper.  Some folks didn’t like my letters-to-the editor, I guess applied pressure on Publisher Hill and undeniably it was Publisher Hills prerogative to reject my letters.  If those folks thought they could SILENCE me, they found much to their chagrin they just issued a challenge to the Mouth That Roared.  I found the internet and A VOICE FROM THE GALLERY was not silenced just as the voters will not be silenced!

I am political!  It is time for a strong mayor who will re-take the reins of city government from the Finance Office.  It is time for a strong mayor who can speak to city government, public policy and practices with knowledge without the tired comment, “…when I was in construction…”.  Alcester is a municipality not four inch slab concrete without the rebar base of oversight! It is time for our city to operate in the black without assessing exorbitant fees on the property owners for extra street maintenance fee or comp time (from which our Finance Officer who is exempt and appears to have accumulated and used comp time illegally(without prior signed approval)).  It is time to elect a mayor who will bring Alcester back into compliance! It is time to elect a mayor who will guide our recalcitrant Finance Officer back into compliance!

 

” A person that started in to carry a cat home by the tail was gitting knowledge that was always going to be useful to him and warn’t ever going to grow dim or doubtful.”

Mark Twain

Register to vote!  If registration at the city level becomes an issue, feel free to contact me or contact the Union County Auditor.  Do not be silenced!

It is time to retire the present milk-toast mayor and elect a strong Mayor who will actually work for the residents of Alcester and help to corral the cats off their leashes!

Vickie A. Larsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

03/19/2019 A Voice from the Gallery

Last evening, a special meeting of the Alcester City Council was convened as the municipal Board of Equalization to conduct hearings on what property owners feel are inaccurate property tax assessments.  While the council conducts these hearings, other city business can be conducted after the Equalization Board portion of the meeting has been completed.

Mayor Glas opened the meeting at 6:00 p.m. with Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilman David Larsen and Mr. Larry A. Nelson of the law firm Frieberg, Nelson and Ask present.  Absent were Councilman Dan Haeder and Councilman Lance Johnson.  Mayor Glas opened the Alcester Council Special Meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and called for Approval of the Agenda.

Agenda Item #4 – Equalization Meeting 6:00 p.m.  No call to order, just Mayor Glas announcing the Alcester Board of Equalization had received no objections to property tax valuation.  Finance Officer Jurrens offered a summary relating to the 5% increase on structures as Council members inspected tax valuations for their respective wards.  At 6:17 p.m. Mayor Glas declared the Alcester Board of Equalization out of session.  Note:  Mayor Glas seems to have Mr. Magoo’d the Alcester Board of Equalization meeting calling it out of session without ever calling it in session.

Agenda item #5 – Mayor Glas called for public input:  I responded with an introduction of five documents I had distributed to the council members seating placements prior to the 6:00 p.m. start.

Document #1– a highlighted discussion of FLSA describing Exempt employees, Non-exempt employees, salary tests, definition of executive jobs, professional jobs, and administrative jobs.

Document #2 – a highlighted Job Description, for the position of City Finance Officer, December 2014 presumably authored by Finance Officer Jurrens which she presented to the South Dakota Hearing Examiners Office as proof of her authority to deny me access to public records through excessive, illegal charges for services.

Finance Job Description 

Documents #3 – copy of pages purporting to be compensatory time accumulations for Alcester full time city employees with specific emphasis on the Alcester City Finance Office, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and Wanda Halverson.

Comp Time Log

Document #4 – a copy of a spread sheet which compared the two finance office employees.

Spread Sheet

Document #5 – A sample Overtime Approval Form.

Sample Approval Form

The results of the information contained within these documents show Finance Officer Pat Jurrens is exempt from overtime pay or comp time!

In addition, my February 28, 2019, FOIA/Sunshine request asked for,

“… 2.  A full and complete copy specifically but not limited to Alcester City Council pre-approval of finance office personnel (Patricia Jurrens, Wanda Halverson, Shoshanna LNU) overtime and comp time, justification of overtime and comp time, council roll-call vote for over-time and comp time, date of Alcester Council approval of over-time and comp time, council vote to exceed the limit of over-time and comp time, roll call vote of council exception to over-time and comp time limits, justification for exception of policy and all full and complete minutes of Alcester City Council Meeting relating to over-time and comp time specifically for Finance Officer Pat Jurrens, Wanda Halvorson and Shoshanna LNU of the Alcester City Finance Office…”

I was not given the information requested in item number two (2) of my FOIA request nor was I given an explanation as outlined in that FOIA request.

“… If  you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies your refusal to release the information and notify of the appeal procedures available to me under the law…”

In light of the absence of documentation of approval for overtime by Mayor Glas and with the Finance Officer job description ‘evidence’  Finance Officer Jurrens supplied to the South Dakota Office of Hearing Examiners in the city’s response in Larsen v. City of Alcester, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens was not and is not entitled to the 239.89 hours of overtime or comp time for which she expects remuneration.

At the conclusion of my input, I asked the Alcester City Council review the documents I supplied to them and asked they table the issue until they familiarized themselves with the issues I presented.  Councilwoman Melissa Kay responded a committee formed of Mayor Glas, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Melissa Kay and Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens had met, researched and discussed at length the numerous issues arising out of her ‘comp time’ and attempted to justify an executive session to discuss comp time.  I reminded Councilwoman Kay, Mayor Glas and the Council, Executive session is for Specific Employee discussion not General issues.  Therefore when Mayor Glas called for Executive Session and discussed “general comp time issues ” Mayor Glas violated open meeting.

Agenda Item #8 – Compensation Time  The council discussed issues of Finance Officer Pat Jurrens Comp Time, all those weekends, late nights, Chamber of Commerce Meeting, Golf Cart Road Trips to measure trees, organize parades, window peep for dogs and etc. which apparently made up the corn maze of Finance Officer Jurrens comp time diary.

Mayor Glas and his committee discussed options of paying Finance Office Jurrens ‘comp time’ in one lump sum or over several months.  The rate however was not divulged, so is it the $40/hour she attempted to extort from me or is it perhaps some other extortive amount?

Folks, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens is exempt from Overtime or Comp Time.  Remember not long ago when Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens re-defined the position of Alcester Police Chief as hourly labor rather than salaried and why?  Alcester Council members, you DO NOT have any documentation of Mayor Glas’ approval, you do not have written justification why extra time was needed to complete Finance Office tasks, you have no written justification why the work could not be completed during office hours or any Need for the overtime hours.  There is no sign off from Mayor Glas.  No approval was given, overtime did not happen!  Finance Officer Jurrens either perjured herself to the Office of Hearing Examiners with a Alcester Finance Officer Job description she knows is operationally fiction or she is falsifying overtime/comp time she knows does not apply to her function as Alcester Finance Officer!  Mayor Glas did nothing to curtail the fiscal abuse and the finance office version of daylight savings time padding-move the time-clocks ahead!  Oh that is right, cell phones are used to clock-in sans time cards.

Agenda Item #10 – Executive session to discuss personnel.  At 6:50 p.m.  Council moved into executive session for personnel SDCL 1-25-2-1,

Executive or closed meetings–Purposes–Authorization–Violation as misdemeanor. Executive or closed meetings may be held for the sole purposes of:

             (1)      Discussing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee. The term “employee” does not include any independent contractor…”

with Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Kay, Councilwoman Talbott, Councilwoman Reppe and Legal Counsel Nelson in session.  After a period of time, Finance Officer Jurrens was called into the closed session.  Once the door was closed behind FO Pat there was a trill of laughter.  H-m-m-m!  After another shorter period of time FO Jurrens exited from the closed session.  At 7:29 p.m. Mayor Glas declared Alcester City Council out of Executive session.

Upon re-seating the Gallery, Mayor Glas stated on the record a complaint regarding the city finance office’s handling of elections had been lodged with the city.  Mayor Glas stated the city of Alcester and Finance office would continue handling elections as they had in the past.  NOTE:  The city finance officer is in charge of elections procedures in municipalities per SDCL 12-1-3.(9),

“Person in charge of an election,” or “person charged with the conduct of an election,” the county auditor in all cases except local elections for a municipality, school district, township, or other political subdivision, in which case it is the officer having the position comparable to the auditor in that unit of government if not specifically designated by law; “

During my run for Ward III representative, sixteen (16) ballots were not returned to the ballot box and not sealed within the ballot box per protocol.  Instead those sixteen ballots laid on top of the ballot box, unsecured overnight in the office of Alcester City Finance Officer Jurrens.  Alcester Finance Officer Jurrens failed in her duties resulting in sixteen(16) spoiled ballots!  While the count did not appreciably affect my election run, I believe it did affect the recycling question count and outcome.

So Mayor Glas says the city is going to continue handling elections as Finance Officer Jurrens handled them in the past?  Now isn’t that warm comfort!

Agenda Item #9 – Planning and Zoning  The garage issue.  The city has had two requests to build stand alone garages on residential properties.  Two requests have been made for variances to build a garage in the Broad Street area and I believe another on Anderson Street to house an RV which is contrary to the codes and covenants of the addition.  So the city is being asked to forfeit property tax for an RV garage not in-line with the primary property.  Now this means no street maintenance tax, low-ball property tax on a $15K RV storage garage instead of property taxes on a $30K-$50K residence.  Tell your Ward representatives you object to variances of these types!

Agenda Item #12 – Adjourn at 7:57 p.m.

03/10/2019 A Voice From the Gallery

Mayor Tom Glas called the March 4, 2019, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council to order at 6:00 pm with Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman Lance Johnson, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilman David Larsen and Alcester City Attorney Tom Frieberg present.


After the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Glas called for Agenda Approval.  The agenda was amended by a motion from Councilman Lance Johnson to reflect the change of moving agenda item #7-CBDG loan to Taylor Forbes to the March 18, 2019, special Board of Equalization meeting and moving up agenda item #17- Executive Session, Personnel- SDCL 1-25-2.1 into the agenda item #7 spot. SDCL 1-25-2.1-Discussing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee.  The term “employee” does not include any independent contractor.”  Councilman Lance Johnson’s motion was approved unanimously.

Motion to approve the February 4, 2019, minutes as presented by Finance Officer Pat Jurrens without change was made by Councilman David Larsen.  Councilwoman Melissa Kay seconded the motion and following the absence of discussion, the council approved Finance Officer Jurrens recording of the minutes.  I find this interesting in the light the ‘official’ minutes published in the newspaper, Alcester Union-Hudsonite neglected to reflect what has been described to me as a lengthy discussion on Comp Time to the tune of 222.6 comp time hours accrued by Finance Officer Pat Jurrens.

I would like to take you back in time to when Rick Johnson as Mayor made loud noises telling our water and street department guys when they had to take their comp time and designated (I believe) a 16 accrued hour cap.  Compensatory time is, “…referred to as comp time, is paid time off given to a non-exempt employee instead of overtime pay. Rather than paying employees time and a half in overtime pay, a company which has a comp time policy gives paid time off from work, for the equivalent amount of time to the extra hours worked …”  The key to this definition and implementation is that a government entity does not operate in the same continuum as private businesses.  In addition the street and water departments are often called upon overtime hours when clearing and removing snow.

Now I would like to bring you forward in time to the present to our police department.  Law enforcement in South Dakota is exempt from receiving over-time pay.  i.e. if a law enforcement officer puts in 45 hours, he does not get 40 hour straight time and 5 hours over-time at 1.5 times the straight time rate.  He gets 45 hours at straight time.  Now the city has the option to voluntarily do the decent thing and pay them OT for hours in excess of 40 hours but Alcester has not elected to extend that nicety to our law enforcement.  In fact, our city recently upon the employment of our current police force changed our police chief from a salaried position to an hourly paid position.  After I asked via FOIA/Sunshine request for the hours, over-time hours, vacation time hours, was stone-walled by Finance Officer Jurrens and Mayor Glas, and filed a complaint of violation of FOIA/Sunshine Law with the Office of Hearing Examiners against the city of Alcester the city did move toward offering comp time to our law enforcement.  At this point I have not had an opportunity to look at the city personnel policy or police policy manuals, ’cause just prior to my complaint of violation Finance Officer Pat Jurrens attempted to charge me $40/hour for just looking at documents I requested through FOIA.  In fact during a meeting Councilman Lance Johnson whined my request was causing over-time in the City Finance Office.

Councilman Lance Johnson’s off-hand remark is what peeked my curiosity because it was my understanding Finance Office Pat Jurrens was a salaried appointment.  Generally speaking, salaried finance office positions do not receive over-time.  I will touch discussion on this subject in more depth later.

Agenda Item #5 was Dwight Berglin’s presentation of the 2017 city audit.  Feel free to ask Finance Officer Jurrens to provide a copy for taxpayers to read at their leisure.  One of the most noteworthy admonitions was the General Fund showed a loss of $52K, a violation on Budget expenses exceeded income.  Credit Risk!  Again an observation regarding sub-sufficient material control issues, dual control and over-sight.

Agenda Item #6 Public input.  None.

Agenda Item #7– Executive Session for Personnel SDCL 1-25-2.1  Motion was made by Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Second by Councilman Lance Johnson, No discussion, unanimous aye vote.  Meeting went into Executive session at 6:30 p.m. with mayor, council, Pat Jurrens and Tom Frieberg in the session to discuss personnel, Pat’s Comp Time ya  ‘spose?

Immediately upon exit from Executive Session at 7:05 p.m. Mayor Glas once again resumed the meeting without allowing the gallery to re-enter the council room. Error!  Councilman Lance Johnson attempted a garbled, motion to form a committee to meet with Finance Officer Pat Jurrens to discuss comp time issues, future resolutions, review current policy on comp time.  Did I call it or did I call it?  Folks this illegal executive session is a violation of open meeting!  Mr. Freiberg should have called it, but he didn’t.  Councilman Dan Haeder stepped in after the hic-cupping, garbled and strangulated motion attempt of Councilman Lance Johnson ceased and formed a motion to set up a committee of Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Mayor Glas and Pat to meet to rewrite current policy on comp time.  Councilman Lance Johnson finally got his tongue unwrapped from his tonsils to make a second and with no further discussion or meeting time and date, the council voted unanimously in favor of the committee.  Tom Frieberg left the meeting immediately upon the motion approval coming out of the Executive Session.

In addition, here is a request for freedom of information.  Please note what information I requested and the detail specifics for which I asked.  This is important to what I received.

Now I will present the fruits of my FOIA!  Please note the nature of the record is a compilation of comp time, note the lack of authorization for over-time which resulted in the ‘comp time’ and note the lack of justification for the over-time hours which would result in ‘comp time’!

Agenda Item #10 Police Department  Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens were attempting to circumvent and violate the Fourth Amendment rights of dog owners by asking the Alcester Police Chief to issue dog license violations on those folks who had not purchased dog licenses and without witnessing dogs running-at-large.

Adjourn  7:58 p.m.