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.