09/20/2021 A Voice From the Gallery

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.

Walter Elliot

Mayor  Haeder called the September 20, 2021, city council meeting to order at 6:01 p.m. with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Council members present in the council room were Councilwoman Linda Talbot,  Councilwoman Darla Reppe and City Attorney Sam Nelson with Councilman David Larsen and Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples taking part in the meeting via telephone/cell phone.   Absent were Councilman Brian Johnson and Councilman Curtis Keiser.

Agenda Item #3 – Mayor Haeder called for Agenda Approval which passed unanimously with four votes.  Please take note here the inherent problems with a telephonic council meeting.  Aside from the fact the Mayor cannot effectively determine the telephonic council persons are alone during executive sessions.

Agenda Item #4  – Council Resignations of Brian Johnson and Curtis Keiser due to cause.  Both men tendered their resignations via email letter stating why they were resigning from the council.  To paraphrase; lack of common business sense, lack of spending controls, pig-pet trolling, political symposium plugs coming out of the Alcester city office business, making time for meetings which turn into marathon exercises of “well back in Salem, we did this”…”well back in Emery, we did that” and other marathon memory meme’s.

          Councilman David Larsen made the motion to accept the resignations of Brian Johnson, Ward II and Curtis Hunter, Ward III and thanking both men for their service. (?) (04:23:20)   Councilwoman Darla Reppe  (04:35.10) seconded the motion as it was spoken and no correction to the name.  (05:13.23)  Mayor Haeder announcesunanimous approval vote to accept the resignations of Brian Johnson and Curtis Hunter.  NOT ONE WORD OF APPRECIATION TO THE TWO MEN from Mayor Haeder.  ‘Spose they will get a plaque? 

          (05:43.00) Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples asked the Mayor to repeat the names of the folks who made the motions and who seconded the motions.  She could not hear over the telephone.  Councilwoman Peeples made the point that telephonic participation in a city council meeting is minimal at best.  No see, no hear, and can lose connection in a heartbeat.

          The group went on to approve advertisement for two more city council members.

Agenda Item #5 – Public Input  (06:57:23)  Gordon Richard introduced himself as a reporter and  asked Mayor Haeder for a statement or statements regarding the cause for the two resignations so soon after appointment to the council.  Mayor Haeder told Mr. Richard that he really should ask the two former councilmen.  They had given their resignations via email.  (08:04.33)  Mr. Richard asked if the emails could be public information. The  Mayor turned to the actual lawyer and asked the question if the email would be public and city attorney Sam Nelson responded he felt it would be public accessible. (08:34.60)   With Mr. Richard’s question answered Mayor Haeder asked for more public input. 

          I responded (08:53.83)  covered several subjects included my FOIA for Water information, my FOIA for Credit card information.  I thanked the resigning councilmen for their service and I asked if Wanda was on the clock taking notes? (09:47:90)  Folks the Finance Officer is present, on-the-clock and taking council minutes is her duty.  In the past our city Attorney took notes on the minutes of the meeting.  So now it has been the habit to have Wanda Halvorson sitting presumably on-the-clock taking notes, the city Finance Officer is on-the-clock presumably take minutes and we have a City Attorney on-the-clock who could be taking notes on the minutes.  So we have a two employees from the finance office city in the council meeting at a wage of somewhere between the two of them is $50-$60/hour straight time, Overtime is $75-$90/hour and a city attorney who is booking out at $130 per hour.  So if one takes the September 7, 2021, meeting as an example, the fee for 4 hours worth of council meeting would cost the city $200-$240 straight time, $300-360 Overtime and legal time $520.00 for just one night.  Think about if folks, the city has now gone to two regular meetings per month for 24 meetings per year.  In addition, in the month of August, I believe there were at least 2 special meetings in addition to the two regular meetings.  Now figure that into your calculations.  Worth it, I do not think so.  I then made mention of some gifting, which has apparently taken place, of inappropriate gift which step over the line of sexual harassment.  I mention this because this had been reported to the council.  The council apparently took no action.  Now Folks presuming this event is accurate, the council was indeed informed and took no action the theory of ‘joint and severally’ kicks in.  Simply put if a criminal action takes place, it is reported to the superiors and the superiors take no action, the city can be sued and each individual council member can be personally named and redress can be exacted.  I find this behavior distasteful and criminal.  Nor do I think the later response made after I brought it up is inappropriate because it negates the duty to act and makes sport of the complaint. (17:32.30)  City Attorney Sam starts in on the Water Bill FOIA, he has his opinion and I have mine. (11:27:77)  Good Gravy Sam , I am not asking how many baths a week are drawn or who is sharing the bathtub! I had one more comment to Councilman David Larsen, I left copies of the Facebook accounts listed under the Alcester Golf Course and Alcester Golf Club mentioned in the previous meeting at his place on the council table. One additional comment to add which did not happen in the council meeting and is adverse to FO Pat’s comment regarding Rick Huber handled the Facebook pages, was the fact Mr. Rick Huber states he gave everything he had from the Golf Course to the city secretary when he left his position.

Agenda Item #6   Police Department

Full-time Police Officer candidate was presented.  Tracy Grayson Reid Cannon-Lass has applied for the position and agreed to the terms and conditions of employment.  The council voted to hire Grayson Lass as he prefers to be called.  Officer Lass will be paid $17 per hour until he is certified and then he will be paid $18 per hour.  Welcome to Alcester Officer Lass.

Agenda Item #7   Medical Cannabis

A)  Approval of the Licensing of Medical Cannabis – 2nd Read approved unanimously

B)  Approve of Zoning for Medical Cannabis – 2nd Read approved unanimously

Agenda Item #8   Legal Updates –  None

Agenda Item #9   Chairperson Updates-

          Golf Course patrons approached the city to form a Golf Course advisory Board.  This board would be limited to opinions only with no power.  The proposed make-up of this board would be; 2- male, 2-female, 1- council member and 2- members of the community.

          The library needs a handicap friendly door.  The $1200 total cost of this proposed modification would be shared 50/50 by the school and the city of Alcester.

Agenda Item #10   Office Building Door  Update is that City Glass effected a fix for the door so that it can be opened.  No confirmation of cost sharing between the city and the board.  Two entities have been contacted for quotes, quotes shared during the meeting were ADG (Automatic Door Group) proposed a bid of $8990 while City Glass proposed a bid of $9885.  Since there are still some issues yet to be addressed on this project and the ultimate proposed cost share, the council elected to wait to make a decision.

Agenda Item #11  Finance Office Updates

A)  Budget second reading approval was unanimous.

B)  Work Comp Volunteer Roster added coverage for select groups beyond Fire and Ambulance was approved

C)  Test Results  for THHM and HAA were within acceptable limits.

D)  TextMy Gov was presented by Finance Officer Jurrens.  In spite of FO Jurrens apparent approval the council to its credit decided we already have a Website along with several other avenues of communication with the residents of Alcester, we do not need a $3K per year program with a $1200 fee in addition to the $3K for the first year sign up.  Council stated NOT INTERESTED–TOO SPENDY.

E)  Reminders.

Agenda Item #12  Alcester Community Center

A)  Bond Closure  –  AMKO with Premier Bank taking on the 20 year commitment at 2.5% interest.

B)  Center Rental Agreement  –  Council approved unanimously.

C)  Cart Rental Storage Agreement    –  Council approved unanimously

Agenda Item #13  –  Executive Session  – SDCL -25-2.1 Personnel

Evidently the council did not want to take up my proposal to speak to my concerns about personnel.  GO Figure!  Evidently the council is not concerned about an on-going problem.  Council went into Executive Session at 7:33 P.M. with Councilwoman Reppe, Councilwoman Talbot, City Attorney Sam Nelson and Mayor Haeder in the session.  At 8:04 P.M. Finance Officer Jurrens was called into answer questions.  The Executive Session remained in session with the additional of Finance Officer Jurrens remaining in the session until 8:48 P.M.  NO ACTION WAS TAKEN ON THE SESSION RESULTS.

Agenda Item #14  City Employees

 A)  Hire James Anderson for the duties of part-time Utility person for Landfill, cemetery, mowing and snow removal.  Unanimously approval to hire at $15.00 per hour.

B)  Hire Mitch Merrick for the duties of part-time snow removal and mowing at unanimously approved hire at $15.00 per hour.

Agenda Item #15  Adjourn

Council unanimously approve adjournment at 8:51 P.M.

Contact City Council

Mayor Dan Haeder                             605-934-2287      605-770-7929

Councilman David Larsen                  605-934-2434

Councilwoman Darla Reppe               605-934-2602

Councilwoman Linda Talbot              605-254-3074

Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples

Councilman Brian Johnson – Resigned

Councilman Curtis Keiser – Resigned 

Patricia Jurrens                                  605-934-2517