05/06/2019 A Voice From the Gallery

Mayor Tom Glas called the May 9th, 2019, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council to order with Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilman Lance Johnson and Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson present.

Prior to the meeting an emboldened Tom Glas elected to attack me, telling me I was not to talk during the meeting.  I responded asking him, “does that apply to Pat Jurrens and Wanda Halverson”…”are they banned from talking during council meeting?” “Yes?”  “No?”  “What?”

I can only suppose it was my remarks about the deficient Alcester City Council Meeting Agenda which prompted the Tom Glas temper tantrum.  Glas’ proposed agenda or was it FO Pat’s agenda is a masterpiece of proposed open meeting violations and incompetence.

Mayor Glas started the council meeting with his usual, “it’s that time”, coming to his feet to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which always evokes an errant thought for me.  Aha!  This is “Mayor Tom’s” anatomical, repositioning sphincter response to relieve pressure on his cerebellum.

The May meeting of the Alcester City Council has historically been two separate meeting in one night.  Typically this first meeting after the April election is where the ‘old’ council would finish up prior business and adjourn.  Upon adjournment the retiring council members exit giving up their places at the table to the incoming members. The new meeting is called to order with newly elected/appointed members reciting the oath of office and seated at the council table.  These are two separate meetings with the council receiving pay for each meeting.  However this night Mayor Glas or was it FO Pat’s ill-conceived aura of safety of position chose to imbed the Planning and Zoning committee meeting into opening meeting.  And by now I have lost many of you.  The Alcester City Council is ALSO the local planning and zoning committee.

Note on the agenda page 1) there is no public input for the initial meeting, no public input for the planning and zoning committee meeting and note there is no formal opening of the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting to let the gallery know a separate meeting has been opened, nor was there a formal adjournment on the agenda to close the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting.  Poor procedure!   Better never than late, Mayor Glas under duress added a public input at 9.5 on page 1) of the Alcester City Council meeting  agenda. However he neglected to add Public Input under the Planning and Zoning Hearing committee meeting.  Bad FOrm Mayor Tom and FO Pat!  FO Pat must not have found a form to co-op for a compartmented triple meeting.

The council made short work of the approval of the agenda, it’s deficiencies and dispatched the approval of Minutes with alacrity.

Tena Keiser and Amanda Ericson presented Alcester Police Chief Jeff Christie with a check representing the fundraiser proceeds for the police department.

At this point there was still time before the 6:30 p.m. start time for the Planning and Zoning committee public hearing.  Mayor Glas elected to move onto Agenda item 9.5 Public Input for the Initial Alcester City Council meeting.  I responded to Public Input and another dust-up began.  I commented on the violation of open meeting with the lack of proper Public Input both for the council meeting and the planning and zoning public hearing, plus the appearance of a violation of open meeting with Page 1, agenda item #9.  Mayor Glas butted into my short public input time with his argument public input was the Public Hearing.  I pointed out it was a public hearing, but no provision was made for specific public input.  Mayor Glas chose to argue semantics defined as a part of language, its structure, morphology, syntax, pho and logic concerned with meaning. (evidently he heard ce-mentics and alas he lacked a concrete argument!)

At this point Alcester Attorney Sam Nelson of Frieberg, Nelson & Ask of Beresford took over questioning my ‘authorities’.  I cited SDCL 1-25-1

“…The chair of the public body (city) shall reserve at every official meeting by the public body a period for public comment limited at the chair’s discretion, but not so limited as to provide for no public comment…” 

Note the word “shall”.  ‘Shall’ is used in statutes according to Black’s Law Dictionary, Abridged Sixth Edition (1891-1991), page 958 to mean “…generally an imperative or mandatory…”  Mr. Nelson and I continued with a spirited discussion of Executive Session as referenced in page 1) agenda Item 9 as defined in 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…” 

My position being, compensation time is NOT a subject for executive session, it is an open session discussion with a determination whether the council is falling down a rabbit hole.  I based my opinion that Mayor Glas, FO Pat Jurrens and the Alcester City Council were Abusing Executive session, using past, numerous and lengthy personnel discussions.  That many discussions of qualifications, competence, performance, character, or fitness of city personnel?  And FO Pat is almost always is present with the council in the closed session…do you s’pose?  ‘Cause bookkeeping is not personnel, the book keeper is but not her position!

There was no formal adjournment of the Alcester Planning and Zoning committee. It is good there was no action on the draft of Ordinance 2019-01’cause Ordinance 2019-01 was already enacted on February 4. 2019, with the express purpose of changing FO Pat’s job from appointed to a quasi protected hire. Competency?  The Finance Office is charged with keeping a file of the Ordinances.  So what Happened FO??

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Now the third meeting has been opened and Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson has administered the oath of Office to the council members.

Mayor Glas handed out his and Pat’s 2019 committee assignments.  Page 2) under agenda item #4.  Councilwoman Melissa Kay was visibly upset as she read down the sheet of assignments.  Councilwoman Kay had held the Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Chair of the Public Safety Committee but under the 2019 Committee assignments she had been removed.  Councilwoman Kay questioned Mayor Glas, asking him what she had done wrong to be removed from the Chair of these two committees?  (48:58:53)

Councilwoman Kay looked to Chief Christie and asked him for input. (50:39:00)  I believe Police Chief Christie asked permission to respond to Councilwoman Kay’s question.  Mayor Glas ignored him, a heated discussion was still taking place between Councilwoman Kay and Mayor Glas who by this time was making some questionable comments. (50:48:57)  Councilman Haeder asked Mayor Glas if Alcester Police Chief Christie could respond to Councilwoman Kay’s question.  Mayor Glas responded Alcester Police Chief Christie had to wait until public input!

ARE YOU KIDDING Mayor Glas?  What cognitive cripple would not allow Police Chief Christie respond to a DIRECT question from Councilwoman Kay!  Past mayors usually tried to match up councilpersons capabilities with committees. The best Mayor Glas could come up with was, “…I tried to mix everything up…”  Yeah Mayor, you surely did!

Next agenda item was Fire Chief Pat Kast report, notifying the council of the fire hydrant situation.  In a recent fire situation an inoperative fire hydrant was discovered which exacerbated an already dangerous situation. The fire hydrants are the responsibility of the city and Mayor Glas!  The uptake is the city is going to have to repair and replace fire hydrants.  Keep this in mind folks for the Finance Office spending spree!  The city did vote to pay two fire school tuitions.

Alcester Ems gave a report concerning the snow removal issue and the water bill.  I have been a member of the ambulance crew and I worked with the financial/billing side of the operation.  The ambulance has reached a point where the ambulance vehicle needs to be replaced.  In the past the only funding the city provided to the all volunteer ambulance was a cell phone.  I was surprised to hear the city did not supply free water to the service.  Contrary to FO Pat’s comment the ambulance had billing capability, the billing amounts had to cover fuel, medical supplies, linens, laundry, AED pads and leads, blood sugar kits, Epi Pens, IV supplies, saline and etc.  FO Pat do you think we get those out of a cracker jack box?  Do you realise what med supplies cost?

Reports and Updates from Street, Swimming Pool, Water tower, Water and Waste water.

Agenda Item #10 page 2).  The Crown Victoria that Mayor Rick Johnson got for a bargain price, has died and not worth repairing.  Therefore there is a need for a new police car.  The city has the ability to purchase a new Dodge Charge at $24K with delivery on or around January 2020 with some funding coming from the Second Penny Sales Tax according to Book Keeper Pat.  Check out the state of the sales tax income for the year.

David gave an update for the golf course.  Clubhouse personnel was hired but the groundskeeper position is still open.

Agenda Item #12 page 2) – Executive session SDCL 1-25-2.2 Litigation  This was notice the city had received a certified letter of demand for wages past due.  Not like the comp time FO Pat has been angling after but actual wages earned.  The council spent twenty-two minutes in closed session to discuss strategy?

Finance Office report:

Summer Equipment

-plastic chaise lounges, picnic tables, benches  $5,450.00**

-fold-up picnic tables   (10)                                     $1,599.00**

Garbage cans 300 gallon (2)                                    $   900.00**

Additional expenses

water tower maintenance                               $9,750.00*

audit required                                                    $6,000.00*

city website                                                         $   700.00/year for 3 yrs*

new police car                                                   $24,000.00*                                                            involves second penny sales tax

* unanimous vote for expenditure

** non necessity

We have failing fire hydrants but by golly we have to have our plastic chaise lounges and fold up picnic tables.  Mayor Glas did brag in a campaign speech something to the effect, “Just look what Pat and I have done for the city!”  Yeah right! More like, “Just look what Pat and I have done TO the city!”

Meeting adjourned at 9:38 p.m.