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.