04/06/2020 A Voice From the Gallery

On April 6, 2020, Mayor Glas called the April 6, 2020, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council to order in the Auditorium Gym with Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilwoman Darla Reppe and Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson present. The reason for the meeting’s move to the Auditorium Gym was to adhere to social distancing due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Please forgive the sound quality, no microphones for the council so the only microphone was that of my video camera. Some of the meeting may be a challenge to hear or comprehend because of the acoustics.

The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Agenda approval with no changes to the printed agenda. I would like to note here, the approval included a motion, a second to the motion, no discussion* and unanimous* approval of the four city council members.

Agenda Item #4-Approval of the minutes of March 2, 2020, and March 16, 2020. Again motion, second to the motion, no discussion, and unanimous approval of the four city council members.

Agenda Item #5 – Executive Session for interview of candidates vying for Ward II and Ward III vacant positions. Motion, second to motion, no discussion and unanimous approval. Executive session commenced at 6:03 p.m. I had put my name in for Ward III, Dan Haeder put his name in for Ward III and no one showed up for Ward II vacancy. I was given the first interview spot.

I stood up and moved forward toward the council. I did turn my video camera off, although my first instinct was to leave it on because it was my interview, I had no need for secrecy in my responses to questions and the public might be interested in what exactly goes on in Executive Session (at least for interviews).

As three people in the gallery left the room at 6:03 p.m., I announced there would be no need for Assistant Finance Officer Wanda, Finance Officer Patricia Jurrens or Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson. As soon as these three had exited the room, I began to speak to my qualifications for Alcester Councilperson. I described my education, a few of the positions I have held in the local area CERT, EMS, Girl Scout, and Business Owner to mention a few. I specifically mentioned I was a business owner and would be an asset in the sense I had experience with employees, Human Resourcing, accounting, payroll specifically mentioning the two computer accounting programs I had used in the past.

After I finished my curriculum vitae, I responded to questions from the mayor and four council members. Councilwoman Melissa Kay started off with the question what would I change or bring to the city. I spoke to live-streaming all council meeting and selling city rental properties to get the property back on the tax rolls. I mentioned the four-plex, explaining it was never meant to be owned in perpetuity by the city and off the tax rolls. As it sits right now, we collect no taxes from the four-plex and it has reached a phase where it needs upgrades which will come out of taxes. The rents in the four-plex cannot keep up with the expenses as it sits right now. In addition because the construction of Beck Drive (Pat’s hobby horse) cost the city somewhere between $200K and $300K and over the years of that expense, only two or three lots have been sold so the city has not paid any principal, just interest and pay-off time is quickly approaching. Minimal lot costs are increasing just to maintain the interest payment. Really? The residents of Alcester are being expected to pay for Beck Drive where nobody is living and paying taxes while our streets are floating into the storm sewers.

I spoke to encouraging and building up main street businesses. I spoke of governor’s houses to replace and upgrade housing on the west side of Alcester. The city has the ability to purchase these homes, site them and re-sell them which will improve home values on our west side recapturing taxes to work on the infra-structure.

I spoke to developing a program to involve our students in local government, to educate them in the proper way to govern and know what they can do to participate in their local government.

Councilman David Larsen posed a question on my position about firing employees and I assumed he was referencing one specific employee. I answered his question that I would not necessarily fire that employee but I would definitely define and close the parameters of that employee’s job description. A follow up question on if I were to be appointed and in relation to my blog about any discussion of that employee which I took to mean Finance Officer Patricia Jurrens. I responded I could not nor would I discuss any employee in public venue as a Councilwoman on the Alcester City Council.  However and not part of my response to Councilman Larsen’s query, I would not tolerate the continued employment of a Finance Officer who violated state and local laws.

Mayor Glas, Councilwoman Reppe and Councilwoman Talbott had no questions for me. In fact Mayor Glas did not want anymore chit-chat on my qualifications, but I did understand why. My interview closed at 6:25 p.m. and I left the room. Immediately after I left the room, Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson was called in for a question.

At 6:25 p.m. Dan Haeder was called into for his ‘interview’ and five minutes later he was out of the Executive Session. Imagine that! No wonder Mayor Glas asked no questions of me. Folks, the decision was already a done deal before I ever walked through the door. In fact I surmise it was a done deal upon closing on the house on Park street. You see folks the council is not interested in what I could do or bring to city government, they do not care what actual experience I have, how many city council meetings I attended BEFORE I put my name in for council seat, they just want to protect Finance Officer Pat Jurrens no matter what violations she has accrued or short cuts she has taken or will continue to take.

At 6:33 p.m. Pat wasted no time swearing Dan Haeder into office to do her bidding. There, however, is a problem when Dan Haeder was forced to resign his Ward II seat, he no longer occupied the position of president of the council. He must be elected to that position, so the vice-president of the council has moved into the position of president of the council.

Agenda Item #6-ROCS Transport Service-no one showed up

Agenda Item #7-Public Input

Council skipped over this to Open Chip Seal bids, (06:40:00) I called point of order that the council was not following the agenda. City Attorney Sam weighed in with an opinion the Council does not have to go by the agenda. I argued the council approved the agenda (02:04:00) without change or addition, therefore they were obligated to follow the agenda order. There was an opinion that the bid opening was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the council had to abide by that. I argued since the bidders were not there in person the agenda time was not sacrosanct and the delay was marginal.

Agenda Item #8 – Seal Coat bids opened. I find it deplorable Mayor Glas feels the need to comment on a specific bidder i.e. referencing TopKote bid, “…You’re going to like this (07:58:00…), yet I was not supposed to critique the Finance Officer’s Failures. Or, “… TopKote must not want the business…) from newly appointed Councilman Dan Haeder (08:47:00)  Folks if we allow our council to make comments such as these, we will earn a deplorable reputation. Motion to accept Road Guy bid at $1.70 square yard, second, discussion none and unanimous vote X 5.

Agenda Item #7-Public Input- I spoke of the necessity of closing the pool and summer recreation. (11:54:00) Listen closely, then do your own research. Council members and Finance Officer Jurrens who has been allowed to respond in a pseudo council member position on any and all subjects. Finance Officer Jurrens only has the ‘expertise’ to comment on computer viruses and Pat-demics. Yes, Patricia Jurrens was seated as a city council member from Ward I pushing her agenda of recycling, I often wonder what  she was recycling, she then voted to not appoint Finance Officer Kezar because he would not spend down city accounts to suit her.  After her vote to fire the Finance Officer, she applied for his job.  So Folks, she is not a member of the council! (12:45:00 through 14:54:28). Councilman Haeder brought up a question concerning Peace Lutheran and Easter Basket deliveries. According to Finance Officer Jurrens, she took it upon herself (over-stepping position yet again) to call parents, asked them for their concerns on this community outreach and voiced her opinion. (18:10:13) Yo, Pat-demic the bookkeeper’s opinion does not count. I did not hear you asked parents about the hot lunch program for the students and their concerns. Preparation for lunches and Easter baskets would have the same handling precautions. You insult us!

Agenda Item #9 – Wastewater- (21:07:00) Translation by Finance Officer Patricia Jurrens.

Agenda Item #10 – Streets- (21:16:00) Translation by Finance Officer Patricia Jurrens.

Agenda Item #11– Police Department – Chief Christie delivered a recap of the month on his own and without Pat-demics translation. Motion to purchase a new police vest for Austin, second, discussion none and unanimous vote X 5.

Agenda Item #12 – Golf Course – Hire of Golf Course Manager-Motion to hire Deb Braaten at $12.50/hour, second, discussion none and unanimous vote X 5.

Agenda Item #13 – Legal Updates –

SDML request for city governments to issue a letter to Governor Noem regarding a state of emergency. Mayor Glas wanted to shirk his duty with his comment he signed the letter because it did not mandate him to close down businesses in the city due the Pandemic Covid-19. (32:10:00) The next interminable semantic discussion of the difference between the verbs of ‘shall’ and ‘is’. They forgot the ‘pixie dust’ sprinkling of; shall vs. should, shall vs. may, shall vs. will, shall vs. mandatory and etc. Then the council moved on to the definition of the noun ‘premises’. Oh and lest we forget the definition of Misdemeanor II and what fines the city should charge—$122.50 or $25.00 per incident. City Attorney Sam’s Robert’s Rules of Order comment (1:11:00:57) is telling. The council conducted the First Reading of the Ordinance 2020-04 with two amendments and projected effective date of August 30, 2020. Amendment of page 4-motion to amend, second, discussion none, unanimous vote X 5, Amendment of Section 5, motion, second, discussion none unanimous vote X 5 and finally the First Reading of Ordinance 2020-04, motion, second, discussion none and unanimous vote X 5.

Executive Session-Legal Counsel Motion, second, discussion, unanimous vote X 5. In Ex Session at 7:50 p.m. and out 8:02 p.m.

Beck Drive-gas line discussion on gas line billing, trying to figure out where the gas lines and other utilities Lee Drive area.

Agenda Item #15 Goodwill Great Plains Shredding- OH a favorite near and dear to Pat-demics heart. Councilwoman Melissa Kay (01:29:55) comment on historical documents statute of which Pat-demic was ignorant. Should have had the counsel of SDML on that one.

Agenda Item #16 – Pleasant Hill/Landfill Update ARE YA KIDDING ME? (Freudian slip, a bad pun in agenda labels or obituary?) Land fill is open Monday and Thursday Evenings 5p.m. to 7p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. to Noon.

Mayor has to potty 8:20 p.m.

Agenda Item #17 – Finance Offices Updates. Dumpsters on Friday.

Quam & Berglin Warrant, closing, costs and purchase price $15,368.25. Discussion of council (01:47:00)whizzing and moaning about purchase the building to house the police department and have the remodel and repairs several times the cost of the purchase price. Motion, second, discussion none, unanimous vote X 5

Police Charger revised First payment $3995.66 Motion, second, discussion none unanimous vote X 5

Warrants-motion, second, discussion none unanimous vote X 5

HR Human Resources (01:57:08.93)Bambee I have to assume the council after reading the fine print decided Bambee was too expensive. But it was decided to form a committee of three, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Melissa Kay and Employee Pat Jurrens. Yeah right Pat-demic deciding if two misdemeanors or if bloating comp time claims are a firing offense.

2019 Annual Report- discussion on water fund mandate. There is a protected minimum of $59K hold back/reserve but as usual Pat wants to spend it down to nothing . (02:13:26) Council take back your powers, Finance Officer is not elected, she is not your equal, she is just a bookkeeper! Motion to approve the 2019 annual report, second, discussion, unanimous vote X 5.

Destroy records– 2001-2005-Motion, second, discussion none, unanimous vote X 5.

Amko approval– special meeting Bond People April 15, 2020, 6: 00 p.m. Motion, second, discussion none, unanimous vote X 5.

Continued discussion of Covid-19 – put up posters use park at your own risk, advertisement in the paper versus close park, park shelters, swimming pool–No decisions.

Golf Course – Food to go only. No bar.

Finance Office Open/Close– FO Pat Jurrens wants to work from home. Where is oversight on that one. How are people going to access building permits, pay bills, and etc. Oh I know an operating official website which will take payments. Councilwoman Melissa Kay asked about this. (2:37:49.27) Furlough Wanda, Keep Finance Officer Pat in the city office with the half-door locked and with a plastic drape over the top of the half door. No brainer! City business essential.**

Reminders and Updates

Clean up April 10-27, 2020

HRC-meeting coming up

Fair Board-06/01/2020 fair cancellation date

Alcester Community Building- architect to redraw- Leave out the Finance Offices and council room because size-wise the city gains absolutely nothing–Keep the city offices down town.

Volunteer roster-none

Agenda Item #22– Executive session personnel

motion, second, discussion none, unanimous vote X 5.

9:45 p.m. in session with Attorney Nelson but without Pat Jurrens or Wanda.

10:06 p.m. out of executive session

no business coming out of executive session

So another secret session to appoint another council member?

Agenda Item #23 Adjournment

Motion, second, discussion none, unanimous vote X 5. 10:08 p.m.

*Note the number of actual discussions for each Motion and note the number of unanimous votes for each Motion.

**Long, un-researched discussions outlasted camera battery.