02/07/2022 A Voice From the Gallery

The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don’t be Stupid, Don’t be a Jerk

David Cottrell

          The meeting was called to order with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by Mayor Dan Haeder with Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilwoman Cyndi Peeples, Councilman Lukas Driesen and Councilwoman Darla Reppe.  City Attorney Sam Nelson absent.

          Once again FOPAT planted her backside into the seat normally occupied by City Attorney Sam Nelson and once again she interjected her opinion as though she was a council member emboldened by the fact Mayor Haeder allows her to continue to speak without being asked a direct question about bookkeeping.

Agenda Item #3 – Approve Agenda after error was noted by Vickie Larsen (02:17.80)  Mayor Haeder continues on with approval of the Agenda without formally correcting the error. (02:47.83)

Approved Unanimously

Agenda Item #4 – Approve minutes of January 10th and 17th, 2022 meetings

Approved Unanimously

Agenda Item #5  – Public Input

          #1 I (Vickie Larsen) asked when I was going to receive my FOIA/Sunshine request.  “Dead” silence and then FOPAT whispers, “I haven’t had a chance to get…” (04:06.27)  Folks this is Par FOPAT as far as my Sunshine requests go, she delays as long as she dares.  So yeah, I used sarcasm to get my point across.  Then the great rush to defend PO FOPAT, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, “…No need to be sarcastic…” and then there is ol’ Mayor Got-FOPAT ‘s-back, “…you’ll get it as soon as possible…” (0:04:26.27)  I continued with my list addressing the Brosz  ‘Pot-O-gold’ offertory.  Any time you add a third party to the billing mix, the price goes up.  So what if they can buy in bulk, that $3000.00 up-front-join-the-buying-club fee will eat up any savings.  Folks we already have the ability to initiate a joint powers agreement with other towns to help off-set costs city projects. While I still had the floor, Mayor Haeder interrupted me prating, “…Next, Next, Next…” (0:04:35.40 through 0:04:37.90)   I went on to my next point, a statement of HRC Financial Condition and where Mayor Haeder babbled about, “…they (HRC) had a meeting, well it really wasn’t a meeting…”  So Mayor Haeder, was it or was it not a meeting.  I asked for the HRC financials, We the People have a right to know! (0:05:31.27)  I went on to my last item which concerned technology in the council room.  I asked if there was an Echo device or Alexa device in the room.  Folks get a load of the maturity of Mayor Haeder who immediately starts hollerin’ for Alexa (0:05:54.17)  And I was called for sarcasm?  Oh that is right, I was called on sarcasm not childishness.  By the way Mayor Haeder, the “wake” word doesn’t have to be “Alexa”, maybe “Dalie” or some other concoction from the list of covert names accessible by FOPAT.  I got no answer.  So Heads-Up folks when you walk into the city offices or any office with a tech-ware, beware you may be recorded.  Check it out for yourselves

(https://www.the-ambient.com/how-to/change-alexa-name-voice-wake-word-647).   

The device normally referred to as Alexa is always listening and recording.  Most of us use the ‘wake’ word Alexa but that ‘wake’ word can be changed.  So when Mayor Haeder was doin’ all his grand standing hootin’ and hollerin’ at Alexa, she was listenin’ and recording.

So how-bout-it FOPAT, a FOIA for what Alexa has been listenin’ to and recording for the past few days?

          #2  Further Input by Councilwoman Linda Talbot.  Councilwoman Talbott remarked about questions she received about water bills and paying them as well as other issues.

Agenda Item #6 – Police Department – Chief Schuller Updates

Chief Schuller went over the stats with the council.  Councilman David Larsen seem concerned about non-hazardous moving violations resulting in fines or the distinction between non-hazardous violations and the hazardous violations and subsequent fines.  At this point these statistics are not being featured on the website.  They should be public so we, the people can see what our officers are facing each workday and not being played down and interpreted by FOPAT.

Folks let the council know, we need police coverage

Agenda Item #7 – Brosz Engineering – Multi-Community Chip Seal Project

Discussion on the wonderful, wonderful deal the city was going to get if they suckered into Brosz Buying club. (this is sarcasm)  I was there for the presentation and I found certain allegations made in the pitch disturbing.  Question posed, “how do you know you are getting what you are paying for?” Answer we can supervise the project—for a price.  Engineering fees.  Folks we are already mired in an Engineering fee fiasco, so what do you call an engineering feat which causes a run-off flood situation, costs the city an extra $20,000.00 with a lawsuit down the road.  WOW  Mayor Haeder loves the engineers and they must be trusted.  Well let’s see a few engineers who were trusted:  Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster (USSR, 1986), Titanic (UK, 1912), Pennsylvanian Johnstown Flood (USA, 1889), Surfside condominium building collapse (2021), Space Shuttle Challenger disaster (1986), Hindenburg Disaster (May 6, 1937), Deepwater Horizon (April 20, 2010), Tacoma Bridge Disaster (July 1, 1940) and Cleveland Gas Explosion (1940) to name a few of the more spectacular events.  Let’s talk about the Fog Seal (0:16:38.03) cosmetic and no need to sweep.  So Fog Seal is the Mary Kay cosmetic make-over for streets and YAY our Street Sweeping machine never has to leave the garage.  Mayor Haeder prates on, (0:18:12.57) close by!  Closer is better.  So Mayor Haeder why are you promoting a Minnesota contracting applicator instead of a local contracting applicator.  Of course then we have the unsurpassed input of the city bookkeeper (0:25:15.43) and there ya have it, the bookkeeper thinks it is a better product!  The bookkeeper whose hands-on-expertise with road construction is what?  I’ll that to your fertile imaginations.  Mayor Haeder goes on to say, (0:25:26.47) OIL, that sticks in his mind.  Well at least something sticks in his mind.  Per Mayor Haeder, Brosz knows all about it.  Mayor Haeder further blathers (0:25:47.60) speculating the Road Guys might cheat us, oh but not the Brosz Aztec guys ’cause having an engineer (0:25:57.87) involved will protect us.   Yo’ Mayor Haeder tell that to the victims of the depot flooding.  Tell that to the surviving passengers of the Titanic, the Hindenburg, or the survivors of the Surfside Condominium Building Collapse.  I am sure they would be impressed by the perspicacity of you and your minion FOPAT.  (0:27:47.93)  Our community already has had joint powers agreement programs in place to facilitate group buying.  (0:28:05.17) Folks listen to Mayor Haeder as he takes a giant step back and lays the decision for or against solely on the shoulders of the city council.  Evidently he has forgotten that little ol’ power of veto he holds in his ‘lily-white’ hands.  (0:28:28.87)  Now listen as FOPAT comments she doesn’t know about the expertise and competency of  the Road Guys. Yeah madam bookkeeper, you don’t know about expertise nor competency and ya’ll sure don’t know any more about the expertise or competency of Aztec or Brosz other than hear-say from a biased entity. (0:29:57.57) Nice try Mayor Haeder, the State specifies materials used in road bids.  And sir, we do not have any more assurance that Aztec/Brosz will adhere to the standards than the Road Guys.

Left at getting a quote from the local guys, the question was tabled until more information was available.  Folks it is our money, why do we need to pay $3000.00 extra fee.  We can be cheated just as fast by the new guys on the block as we can by local guys. 

Just remember you never whizz upstream from where you get yer drinkin’ water, local businesses know this.

Agenda Item #8 – Horizon Health Foundation- Pars for Patients

Approved Unanimously

Agenda Item #9 – Water Pipe Locator Purchase Approval – $6250.00

A handy dandy water pipe locator all for the bargain basement price of $6250.00 which will be taken out of the water fund ($3125.00) and the sewer fund ($3125.00)  WOW  Too bad they cannot use it to locate lost graves in the cemetery, which would prevent selling the same grave plot twice.

Approved Unanimously

Agenda Item #10 – Promissory Note between City of Alcester and Gary McKellips, Interim Donation Shortfall $200,000.00 Community Center Fund-Five year payback (semi annual payments)

Approved Unanimously

Agenda Item #11 – Finance Office Updates Pat Jurrens

          a.  Warrants

Approved Unanimously

          c.  Reminders and Updates

Agenda Item #12 – HRC Update

I asked for a Statement of Financial Condition, don’t have one.  H-m-m   I have long commented on the lack of foresight and handling of the property within the HRC and building permit.  The city lives on the allowance (property taxes) our residents give us.  By the manner of building permitting we are fast losing income which is our city budget’s allowance.  No more garage only properties, we lose property tax income on those. (0:54:15.23)  Mayor Haeder just discovered our limited tax liability.  WOW  Ya just figurin’ that one out Mayor?  Ya haven’t been concerned about running competition to our local businesses where our local businesses have to pay property tax and the city can own buildings and not pay one red cent in property tax.  Mayor singled out the HRC and used it as an example where there is no property tax because the HRC an arm of the city does not pay property tax.  I told you a long time ago, didn’t ya have yer ears on Mayor?  Now you’re hot and bothered about lose of taxes on HRC properties.  So Mayor Haeder, what about the city owned Albatross encircling the necks of Alcester City Residents.  Our taxes are going to pay for a gamble by our mayor and his council who are totally ignorant of any kind of business plan for the Albatross.  Not a good money plan in my book.  But Mayor Haeder is tickled silly ’cause we now have lots sold and just one house to one lot.  (0:55:15.23)

Agenda Item #13 – Executive Session Personnel  (SDCL 1-25-2.1) Council went into Executive Session to allegedly discuss personnel.  Folks this is a serious matter, yet ya should have heard the laughin’, caterwauling and loud carrying-ons comin’ out of the council room.  Why all that noise kept Wanda and me awake in the hallway for that whole hour (60 minutes) of executive session. 

Approved Unanimously

In Executive Session at 7:02 p.m. and out of Executive Session at 7:57 p.m.

Agenda Item #14 – Vacancy Advertisement

We have a vacancy in the Finance Office and nope not that one, it’s Wanda’s position that is vacant.  We have a vacancy for a custodian and we are looking for a part time cook.  Now we really do not need a deputy Finance Officer, FOPAT does not need a side-kick.  However we do need is a third police officer.  So let’s dump the position of deputy finance officer and add a third police officer to the police department where we really need the help and assistance.  Ask the city council what the stats are, how is our police department handling the influx of calls.  I do not mean the call there is, “a wild pussy loose on Hayden Drive, I mean the 21st century version of a door-to-door peddler selling his/her druggy version of Watkins home-style cures and syrups.”

          Motion was made to advertise these vacancies.

Approved Unanimously

Agenda Item #15 – Community Center Staff Hire

Council voted to hire Carina Lusk effective immediately.

Agenda Item #16 – Adjourn at 8:02 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 Lukas Driesen

Patricia Jurrens                                  605-934-2517