03/11/2022 A Voice From the Gallery

“Things will only improve when the people – all of us – say to authorities, ‘I will hold you responsible.’ We should all be showing up at city council meetings, lighting up every community with activism and mobilization”.

Erin Brockovich

          I would like to address a couple of portions of the recent council meeting in more depth.

          First I would like to address the point where, I asked the question who approved the verbiage of the advertisement in the local paper for a vacancy in the city finance officer.  Listen to the non-answer I received from Mayor Haeder. (02:56.50), “…I don’t know if anybody had an opportunity to look at it ( the advertisement for a finance office employee)  Well folks if the mayor did not write this fairy story, the council did not write this fairy story and the city attorney certainly did not write this fair story, who did?  My guess is that FOPat appropriated the form and the verbiage.  So, let’s take a gander and see what the goose wrote.  First let’s compare the Finance Officer Description and FOPat’s opinion of her job description:

DUTIES OF MUNICIPAL FINANCE OFFICER

SDML

  • KEEP REGULAR BOOKS OF ACCOUNT
  • SUPERVISE ACCOUNTING SYSTEM
  • KEEP A RECORD OF CITY COUNCIL PROCEEDINGS
  • DRAW AND COUNTERSIGN ALL WARRANTS
  • KEEP THE CORPORATE SEAL
  • COUNTERSIGN ALL CONTRACTS
  • AUDIT AND ADJUST ALL CLAIMS AGAINST THE CITY BEFORE THEY ARE ALLOWED BY THE GOVERNING BOARD
  • KEEP A BOOK IN WHICH ALL CONTRACTS SHALL BE ENTERED
  • CERTIFY ANNUAL TAX LEVY TO COUNTY AUDITOR
  • MAINTAIN SPECIAL ASSESSMENT RECORD
  • FILE BONDS OF ALL EMPLOYEES AND OFFICIAL OF CITY EXCEPT AUDITOR’S BOND
  • PREPARE, PUBLISH AND FILE ANNUAL REPORT
  • MAINTAIN BOND RECORD
  • PREPARE BUDGET BEFORE SEPT 1 OF EACH YEAR AND SUBMIT TO COUNCIL
  • MAINTAIN A FILE OF ANNUAL INVENTORIES
  • RECEIVE MONIES OF CITY AND MAINTAIN CASH RECEIPTS JOURNAL
  • ISSUE PRENUMBERED RECEIPTS IN DULICATE GIVING THE ORIGINAL TO THE PAYER AND THE DUPLICATE TO THE AUDITOR
  • INVEST SURPLUS CASH BALANCES OF CITY
  • MAINTAIN A WARRANT REGISTER LISTING ALL WARRENTS ISSUED BY FUNDS
  • COMPARE CASH BALANCES MONTHLY WITH AUDITOR
  • REPORT TO THE CITY COUNCIL GIVING A FULL AND DETAILED ACCOUNT OF ALL RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES SINCE THE LAST REPORT
  • MAINTAIN A REGISTER OF ALL WARRANTS NOT PAID FOR WANT OF FUNDS
  • FILE AUDITOR’S BOND.

DEFINITION OF DUTIES OF A CITY MANAGER

  • MANAGING THE CITY BUDGET
  • OVERSEEING CITY PERSONNEL
  • ADDRESSING QUESTIONS FROM THE MEDIA REGARDING CITY COUNCIL ACTIVITIES
  • MEETING WITH VARIOUS HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS TO IDENTIFY AND RESOLVE ISSUES
  • MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL ON A VARIETY OF ISSUES, INCLUDING BUDGETS, PERSONNEL NEEDS AND PROJECTS COST
  • ENSURING COMPLETION OF REPORTS AND STUDIES COMMISSIONED BY ELECTED OFFICIALS
  • OVERSEEING IMPORTANT SERVICES SUCH AS TRASH PICK-UP AND RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  • ENSURING WATER SUPPLIES ARE SAFE
  • WORKING ON IMPORTANT EXONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
  • RESPONDING TO AND RESOLVING DIFFICULT OR DELICAT QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS OF CITIZENS

PAT JURRENS DEFINITION OF DUTIES

  • RECOMMENDS NEW POTENTIAL EMPLOYEES TO THE COUNCIL, TRAINS AND EVALUATES PERFORMANCE AND DISCIPLINES PERSONNEL USING THE EMPLOYEE STANDARDS ADOPTED BY THE CITY COUNCIL
  • SERVE AS LIASON BETWEEN THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL WITH REGARD TO WATER, SEWER, STREET AND OFFICE DEPARTMENTS, OFFERING RESOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS AND EVALUATING THE PROGRESS OF GOALS. 
  • BRIEF COUNCIL MEMBERS ON PENDING AGENDA ITEMS AND OTHER CITY ISSUES PROVIDING ADMINISTRAIVE SUPPORT TO THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL AS NEEDED
  • PROVIDE ANALYSIS NEEDED TO ASSIST THE COUNCIL TO MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS
  • PERFORM FINANCIAL AND MANAGERIAL ANALYSIS FOR THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL RELATING TO CITY OPERATIONS, GRANTS AND PROGRAMS FOR CONSIDERATION
  • PREPARE THE BUDGET BEFORE SEPT 1 AND SUBMIT TO THE COUNCIL, PREPARE, PUBLISH AND FILE THE ANNUAL REPORT BY MARCH 1
  • COUNTERSIGN ALL CONTRACTS
  • SUPPLY MONTHLY, QUARTERLY AND ANNUAL INFORMATION TO THE AUDITOR FOR REVIEW
  • MAINTAIN ANNUAL INVENTORIES AND A LIST OF ALL FIXED ASSETS OWNED BY THE CITY
  • ISSUE BUILDING PERMITS-MAKING PHYSICAL INSPECTIONS SEVERAL  TIMES DURING CONSTRUCTION
  • ISSUE ALL OTHER LICENSES AND PERMITS AS ALLOWED BY THE ORDINANCES
  • ACT AS CUSTODIAN OF BOOKS OF RECORD, ORDINANCES, MEETING MINUTES AND OTHER OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS AND ACTIONS OF THE COUNCIL, THE CORPORATE SEAL AND OTHER OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS.
  • CREATE, MAINTAIN AND IMPLEMENT A POLICY & PROCEDUREAL MANUAL FOR CITY OPERATIONS
  • FILL OUT MONTHLY AND QUARTERLY REPORTS FOR THE SEWER PLANT, RETIREMENT, SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, EMPLOYMENT TAXES AND WITHHOLDING AND SALES TAX REPORTS
  • WORK WITH THE ASSISTANT FINANCE OFFICER ON THE WATER BILLING, DELINQUENT BILLS, ADDRESS UPDATES AND OTHE INNER OFFICE DUTIES
  • LISTEN TO THE REQUESTS AND CONCERNS OF THE COMMUNITY AND RELATE TO THE COUNCIL FOR REVIEW.
  • MAINTAIN THE CHECKBOOK BALANCE, PREPARE MATERIALS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS, CITY COUNCIL MINUTES AND SCHEDULING GYM EVENTS.
  • ATTEND ALL COUNCIL MEETINGS AND OTHER MEETINGS AS REQUIRED
  • CONFER WITH THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL ON FISCAL MATTERS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
  • ANY OTHER DUTIES ASSIGNED BY THE COUNCIL.

Now let’s look at the advertisement placed for the ‘Deputy (?)  Finance Office Job’

City of Alcester

Deputy Finance Officer (Utilities Finance Office Employee) Job Opening

Reports to:  City Council and Mayor

Reports to Finance Office supervisor.

Job Summary:  Assist the Finance Officer in Customer Relations and accounting operations;  Bill city patrons for city utilities; Run payroll for city employees.

  • Bills city utilities, run employee payroll.

Performance Responsibilities:  Read and bill water meters on a timely basis to generate operating revenue for the city; remind fellow employees of scheduled happenings, make timely deposits from the funds from the Golf course, pool and Utility payments;  Assist staff with the day-to-day operations of the Golf course, community center, pool and utilities.

  • It is the function of the Finance Officer to make deposits from the various enterprise funds not the Utilities meter reader.  It is the function of the managers of the golf course, community center, pool and utilities to be assisting their staff not the meter reader employee.  So if the advertised Performance Responsibilities are for the Utilities Employee, what the blazes is FOPAT doing to justify her title?  h-m-m?  Where is the over-sight of Wanna-Be FOPat?

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Read  approx. 220 meters of the 440 meters in town/Send out 440 water bills per month. Utilities Employee  duty!
  2. Receive, deposit and Record all monies paid to the City (pool, water, golf course, and etc.)  Finance Officer duty not meter reader Utilities employee duty!
  3. Record all entries in the water billing program. Utilities employee duty!
  4. Cover shifts at the pool when needed.  Utilities employee with WSI certification!
  5. Send out delinquent notices monthly, send out  billing notices to residents and send out various licensing notices.  Utilities employee duty!
  6. Get mail.  Utilities employee duty!
  7. Write/type Vouchers and memos.  Finance officer duty not meter reading Utility employee duty!
  8. Calculate payroll, print out checks, do Bi-weekly and monthly reports.  Finance officer duty not meter reading Utility employee duty!
  9. Assist Finance Officer with checkbook balancing, Assist with city council meeting preparation, city council minutes and scheduling events.  Finance officer duties not meter reading Utility employee duty!
  10.  Order all pool Concessions and price.  Finance officer duties not meter reading Utility employee duty!  Community center and golf course items are under the direction of the managers of those managers not the Finance officer!

WHY ARE WE PAYING ANOTHER ADMINISTRATIVE TYPE WAGE FOR TWO EMPLOYEES TO DO THE FINANCE OFFICERS JOB? 

WHY DID THE FINANCE OFFICE FAIL TO SHOW THIS FARCICAL RECITATION OF JOB DUTIES TO THE FINANCE OFFICE COMMITTEE FOR APPROVAL, A COPY OF THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR EACH AND EVERY COUNCIL MEMBER BEFORE AD WAS CONSIDERED AND VOTED UPON AND PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION FOR AD PLACEMENT?

          Second  I would like to address a comment made by Councilman David Larsen.  To make a correction of a mis-remembered event attributed to a ‘past mayor’! 

          This would be the air-conditioner discussion broached by Councilman David Larsen.  Agenda Item #11 – Golf Course Surplus Property  (i.e. ice machine)  The ice machine under discussion was not purchased by a former mayor at the time of Councilman Larsen’s addition to the Alcester City Council in or around 2010-2012 as suggested by Councilman David Larsen.

          The history of the ice machine for the golf course occurred as follows:

Councilman David Larsen made a veiled reference in the recent council meeting regarding concerning a former mayor, an ice machine and surplus efforts. (0:56:29.87) 

          Peter Larsen was seated on the Alcester City Council as a councilman for Ward III with Mayor William Koenig as mayor in 2010.  At that time the Council received 2 bids on the Alcester Bar in July 2010.  Bidders were David Duncan and Steve Larsgaard.  David and Jesse Duncan were awarded the bid for the Alcester Bar.

          February 2011 meeting Mayor Wm. Koenig and council members Curt Anderson, Larry Anderson, Peter Larsen, Ron Manning, Steve Johannsen and Wayne Van Gelder received the Ninety (90) day vacation notice from the Duncans regarding the Liquor Store Lease effective February 1, 2011.  Council placed advertisements for the lease of the Alcester City Liquor Store.  April 2011 meeting, Mayor Koenig and council receive one (1) bid for the lease of the Alcester Liquor Store from Bryce Sullivan for $1250.00 per month for a three year term to commence May 1, 2011.  Motion, Second and vote was taken with AYE votes from Councilmen R. Manning, S. Johannsen, C. Anderson, L. Anderson and W. VanGelder with a No coming from Councilman Peter Larsen.  Motion carried 5-1 in favor of accepting the lease bid from Bryce Sullivan.  May 2011  Council authorized Mayor Koenig and Finance Officer Mike Kezar to sign the Alcester Liquor Store Lease.   Last 1/2 May 2011 meeting seated the new city council and mayor.  Mayor Peter Larsen, and council members R. Manning, S. Johannsen, W. VanGelder,  L. Anderson and Curt Anderson.  Within 10 days of the May 2nd Council meeting, Mayor Peter Larsen observed unauthorized building changes and equipment additions which included an ice machine to the Alcester Bar contrary to lease contract.  Mayor Larsen walked to the City Attorney’s office and a Cease and Desist Order was drafted and served upon Bryce Sullivan.  At some point the Sullivans disappeared in the dark of night abandoning equipment and bills, the bar was shuttered with the Sullivans failing to pay the construction workers.  Lawsuits commenced against the Sullivans and the city of Alcester.

          During this same time period, the ownership/acquisition of the golf course was in discussions with the City of Alcester.  Once the golf course became a city asset, arrangements were made to move forward with activating golf course operations.  Again this time the golf course staff were routinely purchasing large quantities of bagged ice.  Mayor Larsen visited with the Golf course director about the ice machine needs and upon information out of that discussion, Mayor Larsen brought the idea of an under counter ice machine to the council.  The council authorized Mayor Larsen to purchase the under counter ice machine model to provide a more economical supply of ice.  The idea being during off hours of demand, the build-up of  ice would be bagged and placed in the freezer for future demand.  Since this under counter ice machine was acquired late in the golf season it only saw a month or two of service.

          January 2012  Mayor Larsen, city council members C. Anderson, L. Anderson, S. Johannsen, R. Manning, W. VanGelder and M. Dykstra added the Alcester Liquor Store to the agenda.  No record of discussion or action regarding the agenda addition of the Liquor Store.  February 2012 City Attorney Chuck Haugland gave an update on the status of the lawsuit.  At some point in this time period in anticipation of the upcoming golf course season the Liquor Store ice machine which was larger was moved to the golf course.  Additionally South Eastern Electric Cooperative became aware of the under counter ice machine no longer used at the golf course offered to purchase to un-used ice machine for what the ice machine originally cost the city.  June 2012 Motion was made to seat Patricia Jurrens to fill the Alcester Ward II vacancy.  This appointment passed, Patricia Jurrens became the Alcester Ward II Council person and as such council member dealt with all the issues arising out of the equipment, lawsuit and CBDG issues regarding the Sullivan lawsuit.

          What I do not know because I have not researched the minutes after that June 2012 meeting leading up to this point in time is whether yet another ice machine for the golf course was purchased after David Larsen became a Councilman and what ice machine decisions he made.

          So as in the words of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot:

                    “…And I would like to have a good, productive relationship with members of the City Council, but I’m not going to allow them to undermine what the people’s choice was and what the people want, which is change…”

Lori Lightfoot

But I was not allowed that opportunity because I did not and would not allow the undermining of the people’s choice, what the people wanted and because I did not follow the rest of the flock!

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