04/01/2019 A Voice From the Gallery

Mayor Tom Glas called the April 1, 2019, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council to order with Alcester Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Alcester Councilman Lance Johnson, Alcester Councilman Dan Haeder, Alcester Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Alcester Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Alcester Councilman David Larsen and Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson present.

Mayor Glas called Pledge, Approve Agenda w/Executive Session Personnel, and Approve Minutes of March meetings which the council dispatched approval with no discussion with the exception of the multiple Executive session amendment.

Agenda Item #5-Patrick Andrews of SECOG – presented a draft Ordinance Amendment to the Planning and Zoning Ordinances to the council.  The agenda item was noted for a motion to approve a First Reading.  WAY TO GO Mayor Glas.  This Ordinance needs a public hearing, so affected property owners can voice their opinions BEFORE the first reading.

Planning and Zoning Ord.

Motion by Councilman Lance Johnson (01:14:56) “…amended to Ordinance 2019-01 Correct?…”  Councilman Dan Haeder, “…that is correct”

NOTE:  Significant beneficiary of this change is Alcester City Councilman Lance Johnson who by his admission in the March meeting wanted to build a garage on North Anderson Street to house his fifth wheel trailer.  First Lance Johnson has already violated “regulations, agreements and conditions running with land” on the parcel ID  #1. “… No structure shall be erected on any of said lots except for residential purposes…”Residential purposes shall be defined as a single family or duplex residences…” #4. “No residential lot shall be re-subdivided…”

Folks imagine you have just purchased a house for $150K and some free-range rooster who has sub-divided a residential lot, and wants to build a $2K corn-cribbed garage on it so he can park his $35K Hauls-it-all camper next to your life’s investment!

Agenda Item #6 – Public Input – I responded with input.  I delivered/served an updated-amended FOIA for the information I requested in my June 12, 2018, FOIA which resulted in my complaint to the Office of Hearing Examiners of Finance Officer Jurrens’ violation of Open Records. There was a brief discussion on time budgeting for the ‘time cards’ I requested.  I touched on the Personnel policy manual to be discussed in Agenda Item #14 (e) and I warned the council of their excessive, perceived abuse of Executive session and I also warned each employee and/or personnel issue must be treated as separate executive sessions for SDCL 1-25-2-1:

SDCL 1-25-2 allows a public body to close a meeting for the following purposes: 1) to discuss personnel issues pertaining to officers or employees;

Discussion in the executive session must be strictly limited to the announced subject. No official votes may be taken on any matter during an executive session. The public body must return to open session before any official action can be taken.    Board members could be held personally liable for the results of an official vote taken illegally during an executive session. For example, a contract approved only during an executive session could be found void and the board members could be required to repay any public funds spent under the contract.  (https://atg.sd.gov/docs/Open_Meetings_brochure_text_2015.pdf)

After my remarks the council asked Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson for an opinion.  As expected Attorney Nelson’s opinion differed from mine with the main argument lying within expediency justification.  I would offer the following quote to Attorney Sam and the Alcester City Council,

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?” 

John Wooden

Agenda Item #10 – Water/Wastewater- The singular noteworthy item here is the need for an irrigation pump.  Finance Officer Jurrens gave the update with the commentary of, “WE (who?  The city bookkeeper and the Cottonelle dandruff in her drawers?)…assume pipe and wire are in good shape… her recommendation Goodland Pump…”

Agenda Item #14 (c) – Special meeting to canvass the votes and any other city business on April 15, 2019, at 6:00 p.m.  *This is most likely when the Planning and Zoning Ordinance Amendment public hearing will take place.  Please be sure to come to Hear and be Heard!

Agenda Item #14(e) – Policy Manuals/Comp Time  (01:18:55) (Councilwoman Melissa Kay asked “…old or new manual…”)  to be brought up later (01:19:25) (Councilman Dan Haeder, “…to be brought up later…”)

Agenda Item #19 – Executive Session- Personnel SDCL 1-25-2.1  Mayor Glas  called for motion to go into Executive session.  (01:25:19)  Councilwoman Melissa Kay moved to go into Executive Session per SDCL 1-24-2.1 Personnel, Councilwoman Linda Talbott seconded the motion.  There was no further discussion, the vote was called, resulting in a unanimous AYE vote.  Mayor Tom Glas led the council like a Judas goat leading sheep to slaughter into Executive session at 7:26 p.m. “for the purposes to discuss 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;”

Ladies and gentlemen this was an illegal Executive session!

Sorry City Attorney Sam,  here is where the rubber left the road!  Look above and read the SDCL 1-25-2.1 AGAIN.  Let’s go line by line:

“for the purposes to discuss the qualifications, competence, performance, character

for example, this could be the Finance Officer’s qualifications, the Finance Officer’s competence,

character or fitness of any public officer or employee or prospective public officer

the Finance Officer’s performance, the Finance Officer’s character or the Finance Officer’s fitness

or employee…”

The purpose of this Executive Session was Personnel Policy Manual as recorded in Item Agenda #14 (e)(I) Personnel Policy Manual/Comp Time Discussion.  Listen to the Video. (01:19:25) The comment at the calling of Agenda Item #14 comp time was,

“…to be brought up later…”


Salary versus Wage Test –  to be exempt an employee must be paid at least $23,600 per year ($455 per week), be paid on a salary basis and perform exempt job duties.

Finance Officer Jurrens – $46,009.60 per year

Ass’t Finance Officer Halvorson – $34,091.20 per year

Duties Test – to be exempt an employee performs Executive duties, Professional duties or Administrative duties.  Supervision of  two or more employees.  Handling employee grievances or complaints.  Office or non-manual work, provide support to the operation or production employees, public relations,

Finance Officer Jurrens – current operational description of the Finance Officer job exempts her from comp time or over-time.  Exempt-definitely and comp payments must be paid back to the city!

Ass’t Finance Officer Halvorson – current operational duties include supervising pool employees, handling pool employees grievances or complaints, handling and reporting general public complaints, performs office and non-manual work, and provides support to the operation or productions employees.  Exempt- can be argued to be exempt and not qualify for comp time or over time and moneys paid out must be repaid to the city!

Ladies and Gentlemen- Comp time, Overtime was the discussion of the ONE HOUR AND 36 MINUTE EXECUTIVE SESSION– NOT the performance, qualifications, competence, fitness or character of Finance Officer Jurrens, Ass’t Finance Officer Halvorson, Water Supervisor Dale Pearson, or Street Superintendent Lon Johnson.

Mayor Glas declared the council out of Executive Session at 9:02 p.m. and immediately called for a motion to adjourn.  Councilman Lance Johnson moved to adjourn, Second came from Councilwoman Darla Reppe, NO discussion and a unanimous Aye vote.  Council adjourned at 9:02 p.m.