03/28/2019 A Voice From the Gallery

The streets and alleys of our wards are notoriously failing, with Mayor Glas habitually and profoundly neglecting them, not failing, however, to draw his regular stipend from the city treasury.

This is something I learned today when I read Mayor Glas’ answers to the questions posed to him by Mr. Gordon Richards in the Alcester Union-Hudsonite, ‘never look a ‘gift’ mayor in the mouth’

Alcester Union Question:  “Why do you want to continue to be Mayor of Alcester?”

Mayor Glas’ answer:  “I enjoy working with all our city employees.  There are many more things I would like to accomplish which would make our town a better place.”

*Mayor Glas gave a non-responsive answer.  So WHAT things, Mayor Glas?  WHAT things have YOU accomplished Mayor Glas?

  • Fixed our streets? 
  • Abandoned alleys without proper notification or procedures? 
  • Allowed an earthen dam to be built in the park which promptly flooded residents? 
  • Kept the HRC in a solvent manner? 
  • Constructively fired our former city attorney Chuck Haugland with the help of your Finance Officer? 

“…On January 9, 2018, Tuesday morning after the Monday night regular meeting in which the council voted unanimously to approve the retainer with no discussion, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and Mayor ‘Tom’ visited Mr. Haugland’s law office telling him, “…the City Council felt that it was “time for a change” concerning the retention of our law office and me in particular as City Attorney for the City of Alcester…there was no other reason stated…and the City intended to retain Tom Frieberg of Frieberg, Nelson & Ask of Beresford, SD as the new City Attorney for the City of Alcester…”

Folks the council voted unanimously, Monday, January 8, 2018, and entered into a ratified, binding, good faith agreement.  But, wait!  On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, less than twenty-four hours later, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and Mayor Tom  are hot-footing it down to Chuck’s office to tell him, “the council decided it’s time for a change (in representation)!” 

 

  • You allowed the Finance Officer to gift herself with comp time and over-time for which she is ineligible?   

 

Alcester Union Question:  “What would you continue to bring to the Council?”

Mayor Glas’ answer:  “I bring forward any issues or concerns of our citizens…I always stand behind their (the city council’s) decisions

*Bring forward any issues or concerns of our citizens?  Nah and Mayor Glas some advice from an old Cowboy, “Do Not Corner Something That You Know is Meaner Than You!

 

letter requesting agenda placement

 

 

Mayors response via Pat Jurrens

 

 

 

Alcester Union Question:  “what has been your experience in politics and government”:

Mayor Glas’ answer:  “…I had no experience in politics…I am…very cautious, especially in spending…”

  • What about the $3.1M new office for FO Pat in the guise of a community center?
  • What about the $46K salary for Finance Officer Pat Jurrens?

 

  • What about the Overtime and comp time for Finance Officer Pat Jurrens,  while you stiffed our past police officers?

 

Alcester Union Question: “Why should the citizens of Alcester elect you to be the mayor?

Mayor Glas’ answer:  “…My job as mayor is not to micromanage our employees, but to let them do their jobs…If elected I will continue to do the same for 4 more years.”

*Mayor Glas’ advocates a hands-off position.  Mayor Glas has let Finance Officer Pat Jurrens run the city.  WE did not elect Pat Jurrens!  Pat Jurrens is the city bookkeeper not a city administrator nor a city manager.

  • Mayor Glas allowed Finance Officer create the fantasy of comp time and overtime.
  • Mayor Glas FAILED to sign off!
  • Mayor Glas FAILED to oversee his employee!  Mayor Glas FAILED to function as mayor!
  • AND Mayor Glas’ proposes to, “Continue to the same for four more years?”

There are risks and costs to action.  But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.

John F. Kennedy

 

 

Vote for the candidate who is in it for US! 

Vote for the candidate who wants to give us back OUR voice!

Vote for the candidate who will provide OVERSIGHT AND LEADERSHIP!

 

VOTE for Mike Bucholz!    

 

09/26/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

I am b-a-a-c-k!  After four days in Copenhagen, Denmark, sixteen days cruising, crossing the Baltic Sea into the North Sea through the Arctic Circle, through Prins Christian Sund to the Atlantic Ocean and down the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada to Boston with stops at: Skagen – Denmark, Stavanger – Norway, Lerwick, Shetland-Scotland, Akureyri – Iceland, Reykjavik – Iceland, Qaqortog – Greenland, Sydney – Nova Scotia, Halifax – Nova Scotia to three days in Boston – MA.

Needless to say I missed a couple of city council meetings but I did not miss the September 18, 2018, Community Building meeting.  Now the minutes of the September 5, 2018 meeting, published in the September 13, 2018, volume 131, Issue 36 edition of the Alcester Union-Hudsonite newspaper, touched on the “Alcester Community Building” stating in the minutes the community building will be having a drawing presentation later this month.  So just how does an inanimate building have a drawing presentation?  So IF the FO knew a meeting was scheduled, WHY didn’t she announce and publish the date of the drawing presentation in her council minutes?

I arrived early for the meeting because parking can be ‘ifie’ at the golf course with large crowds, I waited, observed and listened.  As I watched Mr. Raph a principal architect with Coop Architecture who handled the Alcester-Hudson School district addition set his poster boards into place around the room for his presentation, readying his slide projecting device and composing himself for the meeting, I heard Finance Officer Pat Jurrens relay the information that Mayor Glas couldn’t make the meeting, so Finance Officer Pat Jurrens was ‘handling’ the meeting and he (Mayor Glas) wanted to suggest some architectural changes.

The meeting began and Mr. Raph started his drawing presentation by showing artist renderings of the bar area and the group seating area with placement showings of the kitchen area, the fitness area, bathroom areas, the golf watching/football watching deck and of course the city office area sans the police department.   After this anti-climatic presentation, the cost of this poor-man’s Taj Mahal was shared…$3,000.000.00.  Oh, but Oh, but Oh Finance Officer raced on like a greyhound after the mechanical bunny at Sodrac park to ‘splain that $2,000,000.00 was coming from the Foundation, private donation and an unspecified organization.  When asked where the last $1 million was coming from…city taxpayers or bake sales?  No answer.   When asked why the Alcester City Finance Office was included in this Poor Man’s Taj Mahal, the FO Pat answered, #1- to give the police department privacy?  Privacy from whom, Finance Officer Jurrens?    #2- staffing time, which FO Pat explained the Finance Office could ‘over-see’ golf course operations…really?  Oh and the golf cart storage would be a ‘free’-standing pole barn type structure instead of beneath the community/golf course building.  Admittedly I was seated some distance from the collage of posters, but what I saw of the design and curb appeal certainly did not impress me and even less so at the price tag of $3 million.  Folks we have an ambulance (albeit a Morton) building where I believe the initial projected cost was somewhere between $250,000-$380,000…?  Now I cannot say what the square footage comparison between the two buildings would be but consider what the inevitable cost over-runs will add to the projected $3 million edifice bearing the look of a generic hillbilly high rise pole building with vinyl siding and a nondescript deck clapped along two sides, but I have to say the Morton building comes off cheaper and more sensory palatable

I am and have always been in favor of a community building which will show off our community.  I believe a combination golf, community building and event center is a good thing.  Keep the city offices downtown where residents can reasonably access the city offices, their bank, the grocery store, post office and retail businesses.  There will be another meeting, go to the meeting, ask questions, insist upon answers and push hard for a building we can be proud of, that will represent our community and not depict us as gapped-tooth grinning folks, gnawing on a spindly piece of straw.

 

 

07/11/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

The regular meeting of the Alcester City Council was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Tom Glas with the following council present”  Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, City Attorney Sam Nelson and at 6:05 p.m. via Skype, Councilman David Larsen.  AWOL Ward III Councilman Lance Johnson who was going to be late.

*Just prior to the start of the council meeting, Finance Officer Jurrens presented an envelope addressed to me.  I slipped it into my bag without opening it.

The agenda was approved with the exception of the Agenda Item #8 Pool Update to be delivered by Pool Employee Sam Jensen to be moved to just after Agenda Item #4-Approval of June 4th and June 11th meeting minutes. 

Agenda Item #8 Pool Update – Sam Jensen delivered the report stating things were going well.  Mr. Jensen was asked the question, if the pool needed to do things differently what would he recommend.  Mr. Jensen stated a new for a new pool vacuum.  Note nothing was asked about the pool rules of Mr. Jensen. I will reiterate, “Folks nothing was introduced on pool slide rules or the imminent danger of injury due to the placement of the slide and rules of use, i.e. pool safety recommendations of  feet first sliding, no head first or backwards sliding , no child under the age of 6 years old without parent in the pool catching, only one child on slide or slide ladder at a time, no toys on the slide and roped off to keep swimmers out of the splash down zone.  I passed out pool slide rules from other sources including a national organization for safety last meeting for the council to read.  Evidently it is not as Finance Officer/Bookkeeper Pat Jurrens puts it, a high priority.  Alcester children it appears are not a high priority.  Imagine your 8 year old or 10 year old suffering a spinal cord injury with the life-long result of tetraplegia or paraplegia because the pool rules were not set or enforced.  Are you willing to bet your child’s future on FO Pat’s ability to distinguish high priority or ignorable priority.  FO Pat’s, Mayor Hal-Glas’d and the city’s pocket are not deep enough to restore what may be lost through sheer ego and terminal stupidity! 

Agenda Item #5 Public Input–  I responded for public input, I distributed spiral bound documents for each council member and distributed them to their usual seats at the council table prior to the meeting.  Contained within the document was Safe Routes to School Issue which contained email transcripts between Mr. Kim McLaury of McLaury Engineering, Mr. Rod Gall of the Mitchell Region Office of the South Dakota Department of Transportation and Mr. Dustin DeBoer special Attorney General of the South Dakota Department of Transportation.  I had asked for change orders issued for the substantial grade change, addition of culverts to discharge water build up on the upstream side of the earthen dam the grade change created.  I addressed the unintended (?) consequences of an earthen dam which created a downstream water/flooding issue, the entrapment of standing water which created a breeding surface for insects, the attractive hazard created by a ramp in which children with bicycles were already Evel Knieviling over the new sidewalk with the added prospect of motorcycles, scooters and snow mobiles doing their own version of Dukes of Hazard maneuvers in the park, additional charges for increase thickness of concrete to allow for car and truck traffic implementation of the sidewalk through the park but the sharp grade increase would cause a regular car or truck to bottom out making it useless.  In addition of grading changes in the construction of this project, the north/south alley on the west edge of the Alcester Park was constructively abandoned without public hearings , proper notification to affected residents and notification of abandonment and proper legal steps.  I advised the council of the liability of the ramp, flooding situation and the loss of backyard access could cause lawsuits against the city and city council, jointly and severally. 

        The second part of the booklet of documents dealt with my Freedom of Information request of the City.  These documents were a collection of FOIA requests and Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens response which simply put was going to cost me $40 per hour for eight (8) hours research time in addition to copying costs.  This maneuver by Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens has the effect of deliberately closing public records (00:06:13) and creates a violation of Federal and State open records statutes.

        I finished up my public input with notification to the council that someone appeared to have vandalized the curb on Anderson Drive across the street from Alcester City Councilman Lance Johnson’s home.  The upper part of the curb had been hacked away from the horizontal plane of the gutter which would allow water to collect and possibly wash away support compactions under the street creating a voids and street collapse.

        Also presenting public input were Terry and Jessica Christiansen, owners of the former depot building.  Due to the creation of the earthen dam related to the Safe Routes to School Sidewalk changes has caused flooding in their home and continues to create flooding with each rain event.  It is the Christiansen’s understanding they will have to foot the bill of the poor engineering of the sidewalk which caused damage to their home.  Please note Mayor Half-Glas’d “I (Mayor Glas) was in construction” comments on a cure for the Christiansens. (00:11:25) 

 Agenda Item #6 – Planning and Zoning  This was the second reading of  the Planning and Zoning Ordinance.

 Agenda Item #7 – Street Updates Items of interest is the maintenance of the gravel on West Clark Street, that portion of street running north of the Fairgrounds parking lot.  The grain hauling trucks are complaining the concrete has broken away and have sharp edges.

         A one-time burn permit was approved on the 6th street property, I believe this is the future site for the community building and city offices (?)  But as we the tax-payers have received very little information on the proposed community building, design, funding and our input-wise we are as usual in the financial dark.

 Agenda Item #10 – Police Department Updates.  Chief Christie brought the council up to speed on new locks, evidence lockers and storage and announced the new hire Kendra was  no longer a part-time officer with the Alcester Police Department, she has accepted the open deputy position with the Union County Sheriff’s office created with the departure of Jeff Christie to take the position of Alcester Police Chief.

        The council went into Executive session to discuss personnel at 7:10 p.m. pondered and pondered and pondered until they declared themselves out of Executive session at 8:33 p.m. just shy of an hour and a half. Sheesh!  Either one is fit to be a police officer or not, and it really shouldn’t have taken one and half hours to make that determination.

        A curious thing though Chief Christie and OfficerSchuller came out after about 20 minutes or so after the start of executive session.  They were followed a couple of minutes later by Finance Office Jurrens, who remained in her office another 15-20 minutes or so until she was called back into the Executive session meeting.  This finance officer exit was unusual, ’cause unless Finance Officer Pat comes out to retrieve documents, she simply does not come out of executive sessions until they declared out of executive session or…?

Agenda Item #11-Golf Course  Councilman David Larsen gave a brief report via Skype.  He announced the golf course had a health inspection and received a 98 out of 100. 

        There was an irrigation control issue and has been repaired. However there was an issue where duplicate control boards were purchased.  One control board was purchased independently from the repair guy at $250 and the repair guy brought a second control board and charged the city for it but took a control board away with him.  To be resolved in the future

 Agenda Item #12 – Finance Office Update 

        Warrants were approved with the payment for the diving board was withheld by Finance Officer Pat due to funding.

        Safe Routes To School (SRTS) Project sign off and payment of $20K was delayed due to the questions on, specifically who is financially responsible for the apparent omissions and errors.

        CDBG Loans-Years ago the city of Alcester received a grant from the state of South Dakota secured by Alcester businessman/ South Dakota legislator Roger McKellips to finance the expansion of Alcester Meats.  Alcester Meats repaid the loan with interest to the City of Alcester which was placed into a special account which the city could extend secondary loans to a primary bank loan by businesses relocating to Alcester or expanding into Alcester, to grow Alcester business district.  These loans were to be repaid with interest to keep the fund alive to encourage new business.  These loans should never have been guaranteed with perishable inventories such as alcohol or disposable commodities.  Finance Officer Pat announced two businesses Alcester Tire and Alcester Steakhouse recipients of outstanding CDBG loans have closed their doors but at this time both extinct businesses are current in their loan payments.

        Parking at Alcester City Park included a discussion on the properties immediately North of the Earthen Dam Sidewalk and their loss of access to the rear boundary of their properties.  In other words, the failure of the city to comply with abandonment procedures set by statute.

        Personnel Policy Manual-Committee members set as Councilman David Larsen and Councilwoman Melissa Kay with additional committee members to be comprised of employees.  What About City residents input on Personnel Manual?

        Consensus for the city to take over the Chamber Website and cause the new website to be the Official Alcester City Website with all the bells and whistles of a genuine city website including, agendas, minutes and city codes on line for residents.

        Just before Agenda Item #10, Executive session was called AGAIN to discuss personnel which does not show up on the agenda.  H-m-m!  The council moved into Executive session at 9:15 p.m. and declared out of Executive session at 9:27 p.m.

        NOTE:  Alcester City Councilman Lance Johnson never did show up for the meeting.  The late Ward III Councilman just couldn’t seem to come to the meeting to represent his ward.

Agenda Item #17-Adjournment

        After motions and vote, Mayor Glas declared the regular meeting of the July 10, 2018, Alcester City Council meeting adjourned       

          

 

 

06/21/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

If I am silent it’s because there is a thunder inside me Or I am just chillin’, it depends.  May the odds be ever in your favor.

author unknown

Before I begin my commentary on the June 11, 2018, special city council meeting, upon advice my comments involving the legal procedure for filling of a vacancy on the council had an error I make the following correction.

First it is important to know that city of Alcester is by definition a second class municipality.   According to SDCL § 9-2-1, “…Municipalities of the second class are municipal corporations with a population between five hundred and five thousand…”.

Second the city of Alcester is by definition as aldermanic consisting of a mayor and what is called a common council, this form of government is generally referred to as a strong council, weak mayor meaning a council of six voting members versus one mayor who does not have the power of vote beyond ties and contrary to Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens apparent belief of a strong mayor, weak council and one terminally pushy Finance Officer operating under the delusion she is City Manager.  According to SDCL  § 9-2-3, “…Each municipality shall be governed by a board of trustees, a mayor and common council, OR by a board of commissioners. (Source: SDC 1939, § 45.0401; SL 1992, ch 60, § 2; SL 2000, ch 34, § 1.)”

Correction

SDCL §9-8-5 Titled Power of council to judge members and govern proceedings-Bribery vacating office.

    “The council is the judge of the election and qualification of its members. The council determines its rules of procedure, and may punish its members for disorderly conduct, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of the aldermen may expel a member…(Source: SL 1890, ch 37, art IV, §§ 6, 7; RPolC 1903, §§ 1203, 1204; RC 1919, § 6210; SDC 1939, § 45.0704; SL 2017, ch 56, § 6.)”

and

SDCL §9-13-14.1 Titled Filling of vacancy on municipal governing body-No special election.

“Filling of vacancy on municipal governing body–Appointment or special election. If a vacancy exists on a municipal governing body, the remaining members shall appoint a replacement to serve until the next annual municipal election, or the vacancy may be filled by special election for the remainder of the unexpired term as provided in § 9-13-14.2. In the aldermanic form of municipal government, the appointment shall be a person from the same ward of the municipality. If electing a person to fill the remainder of the unexpired term at an annual municipal election, the vacancy shall have occurred prior to the publication required by § 9-13-6.  (Source: PolC 1877, ch 24, § 18; CL 1887, § 1039; SL 1890, ch 37, art IV, §§ 6, 7; RPolC 1903, §§ 1203, 1204, 1434; RC 1919, §§ 6198, 6210; SL 1931, ch 200, § 2; SDC 1939, §§ 45.0603, 45.0704; SDCL §§ 9-7-4, 9-8-6; SL 1979, ch 50, § 2; SL 1992, ch 60, § 2; SL 2005, ch 48, § 5; SL 2006, ch 28, § 1; SL 2010, ch 74, § 5.)”

With those citations serving as basis for correction of my previous comment regarding the appointment and ratification of Councilmember Linda Talbott simply put and according to statute not practice, it is up to the five remaining, duly seated members of the council to secure a candidate, appoint and ratify the candidate for interim council member NOT the mayor nor the Finance Officer.

Now to the meeting of the special meeting of the Alcester City Council which appears to act as the Cliff Notes version of a Bigger Problem.

The special meeting was called to order by Mayor Glas with Councilwoman Linda Talbott, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman David Larsen, City Attorney Sam Nelson and oh yeah, Councilman Lance Johnson present.

Agenda Item #4 – Police Department

  1. a) Police personnel Discussion- the June 4, 2018,  the language of the Councilman Lance Johnson’s motion to hire Jeff Christie as Alcester Police Chief was restricted to specific contract language regarding salary versus hourly wage.  Historically Alcester Police Chief’s were salaried positions.  It is extremely important to note here certain groups of workers are excluded from over-time pay.  As I understand it, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires all covered non-exempt employees be paid overtime pay at no less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay for all hours of work in excess of 40 in a work week.  However Section 13(b)(2) of the FLSA provides an overtime exemption to law enforcement or fire protection employees of a public agency that employs less than five employees during the workweek in law enforcement or fire protection activities.  So is this Mayor Cheap-Glas’s move to low-ball our police officers pay and hand over quasi-control of our police department to FO Pat?

There are three criteria used to determine if the employee is exempted from the minimum wage and over-time protections. 1) the employee must be paid a pre-determined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction, 2) the salary paid must meet a minimum specified amount and 3) the employees job duties must primarily involve executive , administration or professional duties as defined by the regulations (duties test).

So explain it to us Mayor Cheap-Glas’d, explain in detail why you and your minion FO Pat pushed to reduce the Salary of the Alcester Police Chief to an Hourly wage?  Oh and don’t fob us off on advice of counsel, that tired old response has run its course of credibility.  Oh and while you are at it, explain why conditions are not retro-active (00:05:55), to Police Chief Chris’ salary?

AND of course the city is not barred from paying over-time to our officers.  It does have the discretionary power to pay over-time to its officers.

Agenda Items #5-Warrants and Agenda Item #6 – Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Training were disposed of through vote.  The Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Training was scheduled for the week of July 9 with a morning session as well as an afternoon session.

Agenda Item #7 – Executive session As usual the session was for personnel purposes, as far as the Alcester City Mayor and FO Pat Jurrens there is no other kind of purpose for executive session!  Council went into session at 6:15 p.m. and exited personnel executive session at 6:45 p.m.

Meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:46 p.m.

Folks nothing was introduced on pool slide rules or the imminent danger of injury due to the placement of the slide and rules of use, i.e. pool safety recommendations of  feet first sliding, no head first or backwards sliding, no child under the age of 6 years old without parent in the pool catching, only one child on slide or slide ladder at a time, no toys on the slide and roped off to keep swimmers out of the splash down zone.  I passed out pool slide rules from other sources including a national organization for safety last meeting for the council to read.  Evidently it is not as Finance Officer/Bookkeeper Pat Jurrens puts it, a high priority.  Alcester children it appears are not a high priority.  Imagine your 8 year old or 10 year old suffering a spinal cord injury with the life-long result of tetraplegia or paraplegia because the pool rules were not set or enforced.  Are you willing to bet your child’s future on FO Pat’s ability to distinguish high priority or ignorable priority.  FO Pat’s, Mayor Half-Glas’d and the city’s pocket are not deep enough to restore what may be lost through sheer ego and terminal stupidity!   

 

06/04/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

Giving money and power to our city council is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

P.J. O’Rourke quote

Thus begins the commencement of the June 4, 2018, Alcester City Council with Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Council Candidate Linda Talbott, Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson,  and oh yeah councilman Lance Johnson.

We all stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  Then all the agenda line items were figuratively tossed into a lottery hopper, spun around and Mayor Half-Glas’d proceeded to pluck the agenda balls off the top of the hopper much like a Saturday night lottery ball pick.

Agenda Item #3 – Approve the Agenda

Agenda Item #4 – Approve Minutes of 05/07/2018 and 05/21/2018

Agenda Item #5 – Administer Oath of Office Ward 1 Candidate Linda Talbott (00:02:18) – I do not recall the council ratifying Mayor Half-Glas’ appointment of Mrs. Talbott.  According to SDCL 9-14-3,

 “…Each appointive officer of a municipality governed by a mayor and common council shall be appointed by the mayor with the approval of the council…”

So if I am correct, how does the vote of individual who has not been formally ratified and who has taken part in several council votes affect council business.

Agenda Item #6 – Mayor appointment of committee-Yup Mayor Half-Glas’d looked down at the list to see whom he appointed and to which committees.

Agenda Item #7 – Public Input-  I spoke first advising the council the pool rules are no longer present at the pool.  Prior to the beginning of the meeting I distributed copies of sample pool rules, highlighting rules which need to be instituted to conform to safety issues with a slide to each of the council members, council-candidate Talbott and City Attorney Sam Nelson.  I formally advised them of pool slide uses which due to liability exposure should be prohibited.  (00:04:29) NO Action.

(00:06:18) Mayor Glas took up space on public input (when he, as author of the agenda could have had an agenda item all to himself) complaining about properties in violation of green growth height and junk.  Yo Mayor, did ya forget we have property maintenance ordinances? Did ya forget we have a code ordinance enforcement officer, Geoff Fillingsness?  Have you not seen FO Pat wandering down the streets during city office business hours with her protégé and camera taking pictures of the weed realms?  Sir didn’t ya’ll get FO Pat’s’ memo on that one?

Ostensibly the ‘need’ for outside code enforcement is to take heat off local employees doing the ticketing job.  So when observant souls in Alcester see FO Pat and her entourage a haulin’ their fannies down the street and stopping in the weed realms to take pictures we are to assume they’re scrapbooking for the Alcester Historical Page of the Union?  Really!  I heard-tell of the golf-cart cortege and how the ‘girls’ were taking pictures of high-jump-sized weeds, drooping trees, eye-balling the height of over-hang and the Salvador Dali school of junk art.  Since no one reported a jousting-style 14 foot pole with the golf-cart cadre or NBA basketball player with a l-o-n-g tape measure standing next to over-hanging trees, eyeball measurements are not best evidence and could be successfully challenged.

Mayor Half-Glas’d called upon the council for ideas TO FORCE ordinance compliance and as the character of Sergeant Schultz was often quoted in the TV series, Hogan’s Heroes, “…I know nothing…n-o-t-h-i-n-g…”  Glas-knost nothin’ neither!  But… but he is the mayor, he is supposed to know!

Since it wasn’t 6:30 pm yet, Mayor Half-Glas’d pulled Agenda item #9 from the top of the lottery tumbler.  Lonnie Johnson gave a synopsis of street updates, flashing cross light with no push buttons and pool updates.  Here was the perfect opportunity for the council to address potential changes in the pool rules or at least have the pool committee of Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilman David Larsen and councilman Lance Johnson set up a meeting to address the liability, insurance and pool rules as they apply to the new ‘used’ ‘slide’.  NOPE-didn’t happen!

Still not 6:30 p.m. so Mayor Half-Glas’d moved onto Agenda Item 10 – Water/Wastewater Dale Pearson.  OOPS Mayor didn’t get the memo Dale was not present, so Mayor Half-Glas’d had Lonnie Johnson give the water/wastewater synopsis.

Agenda Item #11 – Police Department-Police Chief Chris Doty was not able to be present so Mayor Glas hop-scotched onward.

Agenda Item #12 –  Golf Course Updates – Councilman David Larsen gave an update on golf course.  Items b and c were postponed until later in the meeting because they required executive session.

Agenda Item #13 – Finance Office Updates –

  1. a) Parking at the Park – concrete bridge near horseshoe pit blocks access for the two northern most homes on Park Place.  Evidently the alley of clown concreters  ‘…did the city a favor…’ by what appears to be an unauthorized change order by building a Dukes of Hazard style ramp/bridge which ‘precipitated’ the flooding of a ‘down-stream’ home.  Who let this pratfall of clowns out unsupervised?  The council cemented their decision to delegate by handing this exercise in concrete off to Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson so he could present them with a firm solution.
  2. b) Fitting Madam’s door.  Evidently Madam’s door was too short, so Mr. Pies was hired to lower the hem on her door.  Councilman Haeder assured the Mayor and the council that Madam had been take care of.

IT IS 6:30 p.m. Now we go back in ‘Agenda time’ to Agenda Item #8 – City Council Public Hearing for 2018 Planning and Zoning.  Alcester Councilman David Larsen moved to accept the changes in the Zoning Ordinance, Councilman Lance Johnson made the second and with no further discussion the council voted to accept the changes and officially accept the first reading of the 2018 Planning and Zoning Ordinance.  Although the term ‘Planning’ in this context has been to date an oxymoron.

Mayor Half-Glas’d be-bopped back to Agenda Item #11 and Police chief candidate and part-time police officer candidate interviews.  At 6:35 p.m. councilman Lance Johnson moved to go into executive session to conduct police department interviews, second came from Councilwoman Melissa Kay and with no discussion the group voted unanimously to enter executive session for the purpose stated.

LANCE JOHNSON

(00:35:43)  councilman Lance Johnson in response to your pronouncement that I am not a council member.  That is true but neither is Pat Jurrens a member of the Alcester City Council, she gave that up to poach the position of Alcester Finance Officer.  Finance Officer Jurrens has no special insight, no special employee interview talents nor does she have legal standing over any other resident of the City of Alcester to be included in executive session, therefore in your own words councilman Lance Johnson she needed to, “…get out!…”

In addition any historical information concerning wages, resumes, applications is contained within city records available to each and every council member.

Currently, the city of Alcester makes no record of executive session therefore the presence of the city attorney needed unless he is supplying legal advice or opinion.  Should a written record be needed, the president of the council acts as recorder.  Therefore councilman Lance Johnson if the meeting is open enough to support Pat Jurrens presence, it can support my presence as well as any other interested parties presence which in fact makes the meeting open.

At the conclusion of the executive session at 8:35 p.m., the mayor entertained council motions, seconds-to-the-motions and votes to hire Jeff Christie as Police Chief and Kendra Windeshausen as part time officer

The mayor re-called Agenda Item #12 (b) and (c).  Golf Course Committee Chair David Larsen raised the questioned whether the council still needed to go into executive session for the golf course.  FO Pat piped up and said yes.  Curious the guy who is the Golf Course Committee Chairman having an active participation in the daily operations of the Alcester Golf Course questions the need for executive session and yet Finance Officer Pat Jurrens over-ruled him on the need for executive session. H-m-m!

The Council returned to Agenda Item #13 (c) (1) for the Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Training course.  Date of Training and unlike the TV series, MASH character Five o’clock Charlie the group could not land on a time for the training just they felt they needed to be trained.  The question was never called, so no action on the item.

Agenda Items 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 were superfluous and quickly dispatched, so finally Agenda Item #19 Adjournment was called and with all the alacrity of the last Amen after a two hour sermon in a non-air-conditioned church on a piping, hot day the council voted to adjourn.

After the meeting I questioned Mayor Glas what his reason for keeping Pat Jurrens in Executive sessions was, he hesitated but replied, “…it’s personal…”  I replied how can it be personal, you are mayor, how can your inclusion of Pat Jurrens in executive sessionto interview Police Chief and part-time police officer be personal?  I didn’t get a responsive answer, only that the city attorney told him he could keep Pat Jurrens in executive sessions a-n-d so the conversation devolved.  I walked outside, came across the city attorney and ask him if he had told Mayor Glas that Finance Officer Pat Jurrens could stay in executive session that didn’t require her bookkeeping duties.  I got a surprises, non responsive answer but did take part in a spirit debate on why FO Pat should not be included in executive session since she is no more a member of the Alcester city council than I am.

05/22/2018 A Voice From The Gallery

The May 21, 2018, special meeting to the Alcester City council was half-Glas’d called to order at 6:00 p.m. with the following council members present:  Councilman David Larsen, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Melissa Kay and Councilman Lance Johnson (got the beans out and deigned us with his presence).  No lawyer present.

Prior to this meeting I distributed copies of the minutes of the May 7, 2018, meeting so the council could see Finance Officer Jurren’s published liberty with the truth of the May 7, 2018, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council meeting and the closure and bar of applicants for the Ward I vacancy, knowing that I would be barred from speaking and pointing out her abysmal failure to record and report the actions of the council.  I also hand-served a FOIA (freedom of information request) on Mayor Glas via the Alcester Finance Officer Jurrens on May 18, 2018, requesting a true and complete copy of the May 7th minutes, a true and complete copy of the 2018 Lease and Operating Agreement between the City and Deem Enterprises, a line item accounting of all expenses attributed to the city asset described as the Alcester Bar for the years 2014 through 2018 and a line item accounting of all income attributable from the Lease and Operating agreement between the City of Alcester and Deem Enterprises for the years 2014 through 2018 (as explained in an amendment to the FOIA).

The purpose of the ‘special meeting’ was to interview candidates for police officer position.   The meeting opened with the pledge, then straight into approval of the Agenda. 

Agenda Item #5 – Alcester Bar.  Madam Woolworth still didn’t have any stools.  Councilman Dan Haeder had done some swivel stool research and found just replacing the ‘swivelly’ part wouldn’t work ’cause the screws wouldn’t match up with Madam’s bottoms.  S-o-o-o the council decided to purchase two-part stools at $138.14 per patron butt times twelve (12) for a ‘bottom-line’ price of $1657.68 for twelve disassembled stools which would have a weight limit of 250 pounds each.  Councilman Haeder stated they (to which Lance Johnson immediately volunteered) would have to assemble the ‘swivelly’ super-structures to the ‘base’ units.

Agenda Item#6 – Public Hearing for the Alcester Quickstop Malt Beverage License.  Evidently a recent change in law created some additional work to issue license now.

Agenda Items #7 – Personnel.  I am pleased to impart the information Alcester Finance Office Pat Jurrens and Mayor Glas were advised that FO Pat’s rendition of the minutes was not factual and needed to be corrected!  Folks the original published minutes were not just incorrect but appeared to be surreptitiously corrected without notice to the council and its approval.  These minutes are unapproved, yet Mayor Glas and Finance Officer patently refuse to publish them as unapproved as I have repeatedly suggested in public input.  The county correctly publish their minutes as unapproved as well as the Alcester-Hudson School district correctly publish their minutes unapproved when the minutes are published before the meeting in which they are formally approved by the board, so why are Mayor Glas and FO Pat refusing to give true, complete and reliable, transparent information to the people of Alcester?

Agenda Item #8 – Police Department.  And now the police interviews.  With the exception of the interview of a female applicant in which the public safety committee (Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Melissa Kay and Councilman Lance Johnson) decided to interview without Alcester Police Chief Chris Doty.  By-the-way was this the female applicant who was related to a council member as I hear by-the-grape-vine)? The absence of the Police Chief in this quasi police interview is amazing because these council members have (as is my understanding) absolutely no experience in police procedures and training unless one counts being arrested a couple of times).  Candidates for the evening’s interviews were Austin Pickering, Austin Van Horn and Austin Schuller. 

Councilman Lance Johnson moved to go into executive session to discussion personnel, Councilwoman Melissa Kay seconded the motion and with no further discussion and a unanimous aye times five vote council moved into executive session at 6:14 p.m.  However, after shutting down, removing my camera but prior to leaving the council room I saw that Finance Officer Pat Jurrens was making NO move to leave the council room.  WRONG!  I promptly stated, “…It is not proper for the city bookkeeper to remain in executive session to interview police candidates.  FO Pat is NOT the seventh council person, personnel interviews have absolutely no context with the city finance office and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens has absolutely NO relevant input, right to vote nor sway council opinions on police candidates. NONE!  I watched  as Pat looked toward Mayor Glas, Councilman David Larsen stated, “…I see no reason for Pat to stay…she can leave…”  Again Pat stood looking at Mayor Glas and then to Councilman Lance Johnson.  I exited the room, expecting to have Mayor Glas ask for my arrest if I did not.  I had already had the council ask a police officer in a past executive session to be ready to arrest me, if I dared (my word) protest.  So Pat stayed where she did not belong and we trouped out into the hallway.

So while Police Chief Doty, Mayor Glas, Councilman Larsen, Councilman Haeder, Councilman Johnson, Councilwoman Reppe, Councilwoman Kay and bookkeeper Jurrens remained in the council room with the door shut, it was the three Austins and me in the hallway.  I told them Finance Officer Pat Jurrens did not have the right or authority to ask them any questions when they were interviewing in closed session and they did not have to answer any of her questions or comment.  It was purely up to them whether to ignore her interference or answer her, it was not however a requirement of interview.  We idly visited about training and procedures.   Austin Pickering was the first candidate to go into interview, at 6:50 p.m. Austin Pickering came out and Austin Schuller went into interview, at 7:40 p.m. Austin Schuller came out and Austin VanHorn went into interview and exited his interview at 8:05 p.m.  With all candidates out of executive session the Mayor, the Council, Police Chief Doty and bookkeeper Jurrens remained in Executive session until 8:29 p.m.

Agenda Item #8 (f) – -Police Chief Doty’s Resignation.  Police Chief Chris Doty officially tendered his resignation as of June 5, 2018.  The council accepted his resignation unanimously.

Agenda Item #9 – Banking.  Pat wants to transfer $30K from the second (2nd) penny sales tax to the Community Building Fund Account.  Needed a council vote to transfer the money.  Now folks we have several accounts accessible to the finance office which begs the question, WHY?  Too many accounts and lamentably half-Glas’d, poor oversight or duplication duties of oversight results in questionable accounting problems and ‘shortages’.

Agenda Item #10 – Council Vacancy.  The Mayor at the urging of Bookkeeper Pat to appoint Ms. Talbott to the Ward I vacancy.  This effectively shut down anyone who had not been hand-picked by bookkeeper Jurrens from applying for the vacancy and interview.  There was no formal interview of Ms. Talbott, although Councilman Lance Johnson stated he had visited with her privately and gave his tacit approval.  WOW!  So the council dispensed with formal interview ’cause Councilman Bean Talker says he approves.  Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens when asked about the vacancy stated, (00:19:23) “…Ward I is hard to find people to seat…’cause they are old…or they are renters…”  Really, tell me  Councilman Dan Haeder was a renter, so he is not suitable as a councilman because he was a renter according to your statement?  So how old is Mayor Glas, 77 years old?  So FO Pat is 77 years too old, too infirm or too incognizant to be a credible Mayor?  Really!

Agenda Item #11 – Executive Session.  Called by Pat (00:20:31) for Personnel at 8:38 p.m. Really the bookkeeper calling for Personnel Executive Session?  Remaining in the council room were Mayor Glas, Councilman Larsen, Councilman Haeder, Councilwoman Reppe, Councilwoman Kay, Bookkeeper Pat Jurrens and Councilman Johnson.  I was relegated to the Hallway where I took up my usual post by the half-door of the Finance Office.  So what in the world of personnel could they have yet to talk about, the Police interviews had already taken place, the misinformation regarding the pool employee had been corrected, so what else?  It couldn’t be police department performance ’cause the council just hired personnel and Councilman Lance Johnson and Councilman Dan Haeder had already discussed the previous police officer, his finances and possible legal actions against him in OPEN SESSION and the council hasn’t had time to advertise for a Police Chief, although courtesy advertising a vacancy doesn’t seem to be a ‘high priority’ for Mayor Glas and FO Pat.  Maybe they will down size and put FO Pat in charge of the Police Department, TOO.  That way she can schedule police officers patrol times.  Yup I can see this move,”…Whereas, the former software peddler who applied for the Finance Office vacancy caused in part by her council vote to sack the 30+ year finance office veteran, and with absolutely no training, background or expertise was awarded a starting $40+K salary with the expectation the outgoing finance officer would ‘train’ her at his exit wage of $38K+/-.  Now in addition to her ‘expertise’ in police scheduling, I’ll bet she will want to control law enforcement performance, dictating who should be arrested and who shouldn’t?  Similar to the Code Enforcement sorties where I have been told involved a golf cart cruising town, eye-ball judging tree hang-over and issuing ticketing letters.  So what does Code Enforcement Officer Fillingsness do besides provide a form with his signature which the ill-trained golf-cart cadre fill out?  Two ordinance complaints I know of have been filed, yet there is no discussion, no disposition or no courtesy acknowledgement of the complaint.  Amazing!   The council was called out of Executive session at 9:02 p.m. and before I could get completely into position, Councilman Lance Johnson called for adjournment and council was immediately adjourned around 9:05 p.m.

 Ladies and Gentlemen of Alcester, the Alcester Ship of State is being  dragged down by a cadre of milfoil-style barnacles.    

 

 

 

04/24/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

People try to live within their income so they can afford to pay taxes to a government that can’t live within its income.”

(Robert Half)

As the property-owning folks of Alcester city have recently found, Mayor Tom Glas and his minion FO Pat Jurrens have found a way to rob the poor to give to the incompetently managed Alcester city budget!

January 2006, a restricted second penny sales tax went into effect:

This second penny sales tax was restricted to be, “…earmarked, set aside, and restricted to the funding of Capital Improvements within and for the City of Alcester, Union County, South Dakota. 

 2nd PENNY SALES TAX ORDINANCE.jpg

 

Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens ignored this ordinance so they could take moneys from the restricted second penny sales tax for equipment.

Now they have redirected the second penny sales tax to fund equipment purchases;

  • created a special assessment at a rate of $1.00 per frontage foot
  • failed to specify in detail the need and scope of the project for which the funds are needed (proposed resolution of necessity) Proposed Resolution of Necessity

GUIDE TO SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS CHECK LIST i.jpg

GUIDE TO SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS II

Source SDML, South Dakota Municipal League, Guide to Special Assessments (http://www.sdmunicipalleague.org/vertical/Sites/%7B2540DC39-A742-459F-8CAF-7839ECF21E89%7D/uploads/SDML_Guide_to_Special_Assessments_Updated.pdf )

Since it appears the finance officer failed to follow the musts in this document, it is my belief the resolution for special assessment is void!

Contact the Alcester City Mayor Tom Glass 934-2188, Contact Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens at 934-2851 or your Ward representative and give them your opinion of their special assessment!

 

 

“In levying taxes and in shearing sheep it is well to stop when you get down to the skin”

(Austin O’Malley)

 

02/19/2018 A Voice from the Gallery

 

I begin with an apology to my readers and Alcester Councilwoman Kay for my error in name reporting in January 16, 2018, article of A View From the Gallery. The newly seated Alcester Municipal Ward I Councilwoman is Melissa (not Amanda) Kay.  I also, want to apologise for the delay in getting this article posted.  I wanted to make sure of my facts with Foia and with the video.  Especially note the comment by councilman Lance Johnson about how his new seat at the Mayor’s left hand makes him more talkative, the ‘explanation’ by Pat regarding her morning trip with Mayor Glas’ January 9th visit with Chuck Haugland and Finance Office employee Wanda Halverson’s off agenda input just before adjournment that was not city business.

The February 5, 2018, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council was not formally called to order. Mayor Tom Glas looked at the clock and stated, “it’s 6:00 time to get started,” (video :09) with Council members Lance Johnson, Melissa Kay, Dan Haeder, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, David Larsen, and Darla Reppe present. Also seated at the council table was Beresford attorney Tom Frieberg. In addition Assistant Finance employee Wanda Halverson, Alcester City employee Lonnie Johnson and Vickie Larsen were present in the gallery.

After the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Glas called for Agenda Approval at which point Alcester Finance Officer Jurrens stated the agenda needed to have a question addition of a one-time burn added to the Golf Course agenda item. Councilman Lance Johnson moved to approve the agenda with the one-time burn question added to the agenda. Second came from Councilwoman Sundstrom-Lyle, with no additional discussion the group voted unanimous aye.

January 8, 2018, minutes approval was called and again Finance Officer Jurrens (video 01:34) admitted her error in recording the minutes and a correcting amendment would be needed. She stated Councilman David Larsen left the meeting at 8:10 p.m. but she included him in subsequent votes. Upon Jurrens revelation Councilman Dan Haeder made the motion to approve the January 8, 2018, minutes as corrected, Councilwoman Reppe seconded the motion and with no further discussion the group voted unanimously aye (times 6).

Public Input was called—no public input.

Agenda Item #6b- Retainer Agreement called. In the January 8, 2018, regular council meeting Councilman David Larsen moved to accept the City Attorney Retainer agreement of which all council members had a true and complete copy and Councilwoman Reppe seconded the motion. Councilwoman Melissa Kay asked a couple questions regarding the retainer agreement history and with no further discussion by council members, the question was called with a unanimous (times 6) approval of the retainer agreement between the City of Alcester and Charles Haugland of Gubbrud, Haugland and Gillespie.

Now February 5, 2018, the Alcester City Council is terminating the Retainer Agreement with Alcester City Attorney Charles Haugland. During the February 5, 2018, meeting discussion and prior to Councilman Lance Johnson’s motion to terminate the retainer agreement with Gubbrud, Haugland and Gillespie, Finance Officer Par Jurrens took the floor to comment, (video 02:51)”…after the January meeting (January 9, 2018) Mayor Tom and I (FO Jurrens) went down to the law office to… garbled and inaudible…to notify (Chuck) the council decided it was time for a change in city attorney…”, to which Chuck responded per Finance Officer Pat Jurren’s account, “…he (Chuck Haugland) was done with legal services as of December 31, 2017…” and which Mr. Haugland confirmed with a letter of resignation to the City of Alcester on January 16, 2018.

REALLY?

In the January 8, 2018, regular meeting the Council unanimously (times 6) approved the 2018 retainer agreement with the addition of language in item 15, page 3, “…This agreement contains the entire agreement between the parties may not be changed orally but by agreement in writing and can be terminated by the City or attorney at will upon thirty days written notice to the other party…” between the City of Alcester and Gubbrud, Haugland and Gillespie. NO DISCUSSION Councilman Lance Johnson, Councilman David Larsen, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and Councilwoman Melissa Kay ALL voted aye making the decision unanimous.

“…On January 9, 2018, Tuesday morning after the Monday night regular meeting in which the council voted unanimously to approve the retainer with no discussion, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and Mayor ‘Tom’ visited Mr. Haugland’s law office telling him, “…the City Council felt that it was “time for a change” concerning the retention of our law office and me in particular as City Attorney for the City of Alcester…there was no other reason stated…and the City intended to retain Tom Frieberg of Frieberg, Nelson & Ask of Beresford, SD as the new City Attorney for the City of Alcester…”  (Letter of Resignation from Charles Haugland)  January 16, 2018, page 1.

WHAT?

Folks the council voted unanimously, Monday, January 8, 2018, and entered into a ratified, binding, good faith agreement. But, wait! On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, less than twenty-four hours later, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and Mayor Tom are hot-footing it down to Chuck’s office to tell him, “the council decided it’s time for a change (in representation)!”

WOW! The council decided it’s time for a change less than 24 hours after they voted unanimously to approve the retainer agreement?

There was no discussion or concerns brought by the council after the unanimous approval! None, zip, nada. I was present in the meeting until the January meeting was adjourned and council members left the council building. The council made no such decision, January 8, 2018!

February 16, 2018, when I picked-up the FOIA copies I requested on February 7, 2018, I asked Finance Officer Pat Jurrens, “Is it true Alcester Councilman Lance Johnson didn’t want Chuck talking to residents of Alcester about (non-confidential) city business and if he did he speak to an Alcester resident about city business he was to notify the city in advance and have Finance Officer Jurrens present?”   Finance Officer Jurrens replied, “Yes, it was discussed a year ago and the rest of the council was present, too.”  History of this, about a year ago a Alcester Resident Peter Larsen and Alcester City Attorney spoke concerning issues arising out of the Larsen’s lost water bill, a letter from the city by Finance Officer Pat Jurrens who flatly refused to supply the Larsens (who routinely paid their water bill a year in advance) with monthly statements and in which Alcester City Attorney Charles Haugland was courtesy copied. Mr. Larsen went to the city office during regular business hours, found the office dark, locked up with no one there. Mr. Larsen then went to the Law office to discuss the contents of the letter from Finance Officer Jurrens with Alcester City Attorney, which resulted in a letter from Mr. Haugland to Mayor Glas, Finance Officer Pat Jurrens and council members affirming Mr. Larsen’s position. On another occasion when Mr. Haugland was looking for documentation from former Alcester Mayor Peter Larsen about the 911 lawsuit against the city and Mr. Haugland and I had a brief conversation on the sidewalk in front of the law office, after which Alcester City Councilman Lance Johnson threw a ‘hissie-fit’ about the city paying for free legal advice to the Larsens.

Astounded with Finance Officer Jurrens answer I asked, “Was there a meeting on January 9th, 2018 (for council discussion of legal representation changes)? Finance Officer Jurrens replied, “no”. I asked, “when did the council decide they needed a change in representation?” Finance Officer Jurrens replied, “in the February meeting.” Puzzled about the timing I asked, “so the council had no special meeting to discuss changes in legal representation on January 9, 2018?” Finance Officer Jurrens replied, “No, but Mayor Tom and I did not want to blind-side Chuck at the February meeting, so we decided to talk to him.” I asked, “why did the council sign the 2018 retainer document in January?” Finance Officer Jurrens replied, “Well, we still needed representation until the February meeting.”        Dear Sweet Calamity Jane, Mayor “Tom” and Finance Officer Jurrens took it upon themselves to improperly terminate the duly approved and signed retainer agreement (on January 9, 2018) on their own initiative without the knowledge, notification and ratification of the Alcester City Council in the guise of representing the city council!

WHAT THE DEVIL IS GOING ON?

As I listened and witnessed the Great Gypsy Switch perpetrated by Mayor Tom Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens on the Alcester City Council and the residents of Alcester in the February 5, 2018, city council meeting as they related to the duly approved Retainer agreement between Mr. Haugland and the City of Alcester, it became clear I needed to interview Mr. Haugland. I met with Mr. Haugland on February 13, 2018, for the purposes to interview and explore Mr. Haugland’s reaction to Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens unorthodox behaviors and proclamations.

Upon graduation Mr. Haugland came to Alcester in June of 1975, joining in the law practice with Mr. John Gubbrud. From that time forward, Mr. Haugland and the law firm (under its various names) has been the attorney of record, representing in good stead the City of Alcester and it’s Council. Mr. Haugland has represented the City of Alcester at a reduced, nominal fee during those years. Mr. Haugland felt the difference between the reduced retainer fee extended to the City of Alcester and the customary legal fees charged by law firms in the surrounding area a loyalty contribution to the community. The 2018 signed, approved, ratified Retainer agreement between the City of Alcester and Charles Haugland, Gubbrud, Haugland and Gillespie provided for the hourly rate of $105.00 per hour.

TAKE NOTE: Compare the new retainer agreement with Tom Frieberg, Frieberg, Nelson and Ask of Beresford for the hourly rate of $150.00 per hour (Tom Frieberg) and $125.00 per hour (Sam Nelson) including mileage for attendance of one regular meeting per month.

So Alcester City Council members when did you make the decision for “a change” between 6:00 p.m. January 8, 2018, when ya’ll voted unanimously access the 2018 Retainer with Mr. Haugland and the following, Tuesday morning when Finance Officer Jurrens and Mayor ‘Tom’ went to the law office to announce a decision of which ya’ll had no knowledge?

Agenda Item #6d-Retainer Agreement called motion to approve 2018 Retainer Agreement. Alcester City Councilman Dan Haeder moved to accept the 2018 Retainer Agreement with Frieberg, Nelson and Ask of Beresford, SD, Councilman Lance Johnson seconded the motion and with no discussion the vote was called with 4 ayes (Councilmen Haeder, Larsen, Johnson and Councilwoman Sundstrom-Lyle) and 2 abstentions (Councilwomen Reppe and Kay). The motion passed.

Note: the above document provided to Frieberg, Nelson and Ask by Alcester city, obviously not authored by Gubbrud, Haugland and Gillespie begs the question who did author this cobbled document? Could it be the same PRJ who couldn’t get the date right on a legal instrument? I don’t think PRJ stands for Pruned Raspberry Jammed up and Jelly wrong! Is the city bookkeeper now authoring legal documents?

Agenda Item #7a-Legal Updates -Mayor Glas called for motion to approve the 2018 Equipment Bond Resolution. Councilman David Larsen moved to approve the 2018 Equipment Bond Resolution, second came from Councilwoman Darla Reppe, no discussion with the council voting unanimous times 6 aye. Motion passed for the resolution not to exceed $230K

Agenda Item #14a- City Employee Updates -Approve Warrants. In the list of warrants Finance Officer Jurrens included legal fees for Gubbrud, Haugland, & Gillespie in the amount of $1755.75. According to my sources the problem with this warrant was these fees were two separate billing cycles which were lumped together as has apparently been Finance Officer Jurrens’ practice. This Finance Officer’s failure to distinguish, report and publish accurately two billing cycles from one billing cycle, implies the $1755.75 legal fee amount was a single billing cycle and the city was paying exorbitant legal fees to Mr. Haugland.

Agenda Item #14(e)(II)-Meeting Watch-Allegedly at no cost to the city. This advertisement will give out the names and telephone numbers of the city council members in a weekly ad. So why couldn’t this be handled in the city website? Oh that’s right, then Finance Officer Jurrens would have to post city records. Why give out personal telephone numbers of the council, why not assign the council members an e-mail.city address which would be separate from their personal or business email?

Tom Frieberg left the meeting at 7:11 p.m.

Agenda Item #14(f)(I)-Executive session called for personnel (again). Councilman Lance Johnson moved to go into executive session for personnel, Councilman Dave Larsen seconded the motion, no discussion, vote times 6 ayes, council in executive session at 7:20 p.m. with Finance Officer Pat Jurrens stating she wanted Wanda in the session. At 7:41 p.m. the council was called back into open session with no action taken in open meeting.

Agenda Item #19-Executive session if need, none.

However Finance office Employee Wanda Halverson asked (video 01:28:11) to submit public input. She was present when public input was called but failed to respond. H-m-m! Ms. Halverson wanted the council to donate the change from their checks to the fundraiser at the school.  City business?

Agenda Item #20– Adjournment. Councilman Lance Johnson moved to adjourn, Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded the motion, no discussion with the vote times 6 unanimous ayes to adjourn. Council adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

01/16/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

The January 8, 2018, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Tom Glas with Council members Dan Haeder, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Lance Johnson, Darla Reppe and David Larsen present.  Also present was Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland.

(Prior to the opening of the Alcester City Council, I (Vickie Larsen) placed copies of my explanation of equipment purchases along with the figures, computations and loan calculator I used to come to the amount of “…Alcester City Council have spent almost $500,000.00 on equipment purchases through loans which debt service coverage obligation is from Alcester’s municipal second penny sales tax[1]…” which Alcester City Finance Officer Pat Jurrens requested for the council)

The council approved the agenda without change (Note:  Public Input was positioned as agenda item number six prior to any financing discussion, also copies of materials provided to the city council were provided with which the gallery could follow along during the meeting) and the council approved the minutes of the December 4, 2017, regular meeting, the December 21, 2017, special meeting and the December 29, 2017, special meeting without change or discussion.  It is to be noted here, that Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle upon the call for motion, asked the council if they knew of any changes to the minutes of the above mentioned meetings and receiving no additions or changes moved to approve the minutes as written.  Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded the motion, with no further discussion the group voted unanimously to approve the minutes as written.

Agenda Item 5 was called with Councilman Lance Johnson moving to go into Executive session to conduct interviews of candidates for the Ward I vacancy.  Councilman David Larsen seconded the motion, with no discussion the group voted five unanimous yea votes to close the session to discuss and interview Ward I candidates.  Council in Executive session at 6:02 p.m. and the gallery removed to the hallway and the council room door was closed with the following remaining in closed session:  Mayor Tom Glas, Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland, Councilmen Lance Johnson, Dan Haeder, David Larsen, Councilwomen Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Darla Reppe and Alcester City Finance Officer Pat Jurrens.

At 6:06 p.m. Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland came out of the room and at 6:08 p.m., sole Ward I candidate (Melissa*)Amanda Kay entered into Executive Session to be interviewed for the Ward I vacancy.  At 6:18 p.m. Mayor Glass declared the council out of Executive Session.

Once back in open session, Councilman Lance Johnson moved to appoint (Melissa*)Amanda Kay to the vacant Ward I seat with Councilman David Larsen seconding the motion.  With no discussion, the council voted four (4) to one (1) to accept the appointment of Amanda Kay to the vacant Ward I seat.  Councilwoman Julia Sundstromm-Lyle abstained from the vote.  Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland administered the oath office to Ms. Kay and upon administration of the oath, Alcester Ward I Councilwoman (Melissa*)Amanda Kay took her seat.

Agenda Item-Public Input was called and I responded directing the council to the figures I had provided to them before the meeting.  With no further public input the council moved down the agenda.

ALCESTER EQUIPMENT FINANCE

 

Under the 2018 Equipment Bond, the council did not yet have the physical resolution from Todd Meierhenry and upon advice from legal counsel the city council should not enact without the resolution document present, took no action.  There was a brief comment, the bond should not exceed $270K.  This resolution can be referred 20 days after publication.

Agenda Item Southeastern Plat map was called and was noted the Plat Map action needed to be in the form of a resolution.  Alcester City Councilman Dan Haeder was appointed to be the Planning Director (by Pat Jurrens)?  Finance Officer Pat Jurrens made the comment that, “…(she)chose Dan as President of Council…when Glas is not there…” Apparently Southeastern directors are selling off the Southeastern Electric Cooperative’s Managers House.  Councilman Dan Haeder moved to approve the Plat map plus/minus 1 acre, with the second coming from Councilwoman Darla Reppe, upon no discussion the council voted unanimously to approve the Plat Map.

Agenda item- Austin Schuller agreement was called.  Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland stated he had received no response from Austin’s attorney David Stewart concerning Mr. Haugland’s modifications to the contract.  Austin Schuller was present but City Attorney Haugland had ethics concerns and was reluctant to proceed without Austins legal representative present.  Austin stated he had a December 1, 2017, email in which his attorney had approved Mr. Haugland’s modifications to Austin’s academy sponsorship agreement.  Mr. Schuller forwarded his attorney’s December 1, 2047, email and upon receipt of that email the council elected to go ahead.  Alcester City Councilman David Larsen moved to approve the amended sponsorship agreement with Austin Schuller, second from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and with no further discussion the council voted unanimously (X6) to approve.

Agenda item-Retainer Agreement with Chuck Haugland.  Mr. Haugland of Gubbrud, Haugland and Gillespie has provided legal services to the city of Alcester for a modest retainer fee.  In the past years retainers, Mr. Haugland’s retainer fee has increased by only $5/hour with a dialed back minimum of one hour.  As recently as the October 3, 2017, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council,  Mayor Glas, Finance Officer Jurrens and Councilman Lance Johnson insisted that City Attorney Haugland was not to read or talk to me (A Voice from the Gallery or Vickie Larsen) and charge the city  “…The motion was made by Councilman Dan Haeder to approve the August legal warrant hold back of $52.50 and the September legal warrant hold back of $63.00 with no further legal time charged for reading A Voice from the Gallery blog, Second came from Councilman David Larsen.  Once again no discussion with an unanimous aye vote… ”    Mr. Haugland added a provision “…30 day notice to fire or Mr. Haugland to quit…”  Councilman Larsen moved to approve the City Attorney Haugland’s retainer agreement, Councilwoman Reppe seconded the motion to approve, with questions from Councilwoman Kay the group voted unanimously (X6) to approve Mr. Haugland’s retainer agreement.

The group also approved the Alcester Union and Hudsonite as the official newspaper and Premier Bank (formerly the State Bank of Alcester) as the official bank.

Employee updates included dump truck and chip sealing contracts.  Chip sealing contracts were discussed along with the amount of chip seal needed and the extension of the bid deadline.  The dump truck was once again discussed with comments from Councilman Lance Johnson and Mayor Glas as “…repair dump truck, no matter what!…hire and rent(Lance Johnson)…spent an awful lot of money (Mayor Glas)…with the group coming to the consensus of no action.

Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was dismissed by Mayor Glas right on schedule at 7:05 p.m.

Police Department update.  Alcester council has approved hiring two part-time officers.  Fernando Claren of the Dunes was hired on at $14.00/hour and will need training and certification.  Anthony Garcia who is certified from Madison, SD at $15.00/hour.

Finance Office agenda item to approve warrants.  Approved as presented.    Next agenda item was coyotes.  Evidently the state folks will only trap if the coyotes are doing damage and as explained to the state, Alcester landfill coyotes have not committed damage as the state defines it.  Why do anything?  Permission was given to Nick Day who was recommended by the SD state trapper to snare in the fence line and trap at the sewage beds.  Motion was made by Councilwoman Darla Reppe, second from Councilman Dan Haeder and with no discussion the group voted 4 yea; Lance Johnson, Dan Haeder, Darla Reppe and David Larsen, 1 nay; Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and 1 abstain; (Melissa*)Amanda Kay.

Agenda Item 2018 Municipal election:  Five vacancies on the council of six:  Ward I-Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Ward I-(Melissa*)Amanda Kay, Ward II-David Larsen, Ward III-Lance Johnson and Ward III-Darla Reppe.

March 26, 2018, voter registration.  Petitions taken out 01/26/2018 and signed returned Petitions due February 23, 2018, 15 signatures needed extra signatures advised in case of disqualifications.  April 10, 2018, election day.

Agenda item #15(e)(1) Resolution of 2018 Alcester city Fees-  Motion by Councilman Johnson, second from Councilwoman Reppe, with no discussion and vote of five (5) yeas; Johnson, Reppe, Haeder, Larsen, Sundstro-Lyle with one (1) abstain (Melissa*) Amanda Kay.

Agenda Item 2018 Salaries and Contracts-  Motion for Executive Session by Councilwoman Reppe, second from Councilman Johnson, no discussion, vote unanimous.  Council in Executive session at 7:33 p.m.  Council declared out of Executive session at 7:45 p.m.

Councilman Larsen moved to approve the Wages and Salaries, seconded by Councilman Johnson, no discussion with five (5) yea votes and one (1) abstain.  Councilman Larsen moved to go into Executive session to discuss contracts, with the second from Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, no discussion with unanimous vote of six (6) yeas.  Council went into Executive session at 7:50 p.m. without the presence of Finance Officer Pat Jurrens, and declared out of Executive session at 8:07 p.m.  At 8:10 p.m. Alcester City Councilman David Larsen left the meeting.

Agenda item 17 HRC-Mayor Glas broached the subject of selling the Four-plex on Lee Drive (piece meal-my term not Glas’).  Mayor Glas proposed the idea of selling each separate apartment much like a condominium. No further discussion or action taken.

No community building update*

Councilman Lance Johnson made the motion to adjourn, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle seconded the motion, no discussion and approved with five yea votes.  Meeting adjourn approximately 8:23 p.m.

 

Note  A couple of days after the January 8, 2018, meeting I was told of a meeting which took place on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in which one attendee was Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens in which there was an alleged discussion and an alleged approval of building a new Golf  Club House based upon a donation.  On Thursday, January 11, 2018, I visited with Finance Officer Jurrens questioning the alleged meeting upon which I was told that, “…there was no city council meeting but a planning meeting…”  H-m-m!

* I erred in reporting the name of the Ward I candidate and ultimately seated council member.  The newly seated Alcester City Councilwoman from Ward I is Melissa Kay not Amanda Kay as I indicated in this piece.  My apologies to Councilwoman Kay and to my readers.

[1] Vickie Larsen Complaint to Office of Legislative Audit, December 19, 2017, p 7.

12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery-Part I

       Mayor Glas opened the December 21, 2017, special city council meeting with Alcester council members David Larsen, Lance Johnson, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Dan Haeder with the recitation of the pledge of allegiance at 5:00 p.m.  Councilwoman Darla Reppe arrived late due to confusion with the time of meeting start.

Prior to the meeting Vickie Larsen placed abridged copies of her Complaint to the Office of Legislative Audit at the seats of Mayor Glas, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Darla Reppe and Councilman Lance Johnson*  Since Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was not present, a full copy was delivered to his office on December 22, 2017.

Councilman Lance Johnson moved to approve the agenda as presented with Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle seconding the motion.  Councilman David Larsen having read the Complaint to the Office of Legislative Audit, began discussion with a request to add public input between agenda items #3 Agenda approval and #4 Equipment Bond because the council was proposing another large expenditure of money on equipment.  After a bit more discussion, Councilman Larsen moved to amend the Agenda with the addition of Public Input between Agenda Approval and Equipment purchase agenda items, Councilman Dan Haeder seconded the motion to amend and with no further discussion Council members, David Larsen, Dan Haeder, Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and Lance Johnson voted unanimously to amend the agenda and agenda placement.  The council went on to approve the agenda with the amendment attached with a unanimous vote of the quorum of four.

Public input was called and I responded to questions whether the Office of Legislative Audit had any authority of the Alcester City.  I replied yes, the Office of Legislative Audit did have authority.  I explained I visited with Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland prior to December 4, 2017, meeting to express my concerns after which discussion we agreed to disagree.  I then knew my options.  In the December 4, 2017, meeting I pointed out my belief the city had violated the restriction placed upon the second penny sales tax.  Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens disagreed and were prepared to go forward obligating second penny sales tax income on yet more equipment.  So my course of action was already plotted as evidenced by my complaint.  I explained if they persisted in spending the second penny sales tax on equipment in defiance of the ordinance restriction and were found in error, the city would have to replace all moneys spent in violation and would have to come out of the general fund or the first penny sales tax.  The council conceded they should re-think the excessive (my term not theirs) equipment spending.

Agenda item-Equipment purchase was called.  Discussion was lively and the
most real discussion I have seen to date. The council began dissecting Mayor
Glas’s and Finance Officer Jurren’s plan for adding more financial stress to the
residents of the city. The council looked at delaying the pick-up truck purchase for
a year, they questioned the use for the dump truck and looked at other methods
they could implement to get the dump truck work done. By this time
Councilwoman Darla Reppe had arrived and she mentioned she had been
approached about the equipment spending specifically the ‘fancy’ police truck.
Councilman David Larsen asked the question, “…would the employees be upset
with delaying equipment purchases…” to which Councilman Lance Johnson
opined, “…we’ve spent a fortune for employees in the past year…” Not the most politic public comment I’ve heard in a while, usually Councilman Lance reserved those genre of comments for Alcester law enforcement. No action was taken regarding equipment Purchase.

Executive session was called for:  Community Center SDCL 1-25-2-4 to
discuss contracts. Imagine that, ’cause for numerous months when the
community building agenda item was called there was always No update! In
addition Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland was not present to take part in the
‘contract’ discussion. So who was going to offer a legal opinion, Finance Officer
Jurrens, the bookkeeper or Mayor Glas, concrete extraordinaire? So what
contracts, with whom, how much is it going to cost the taxpayers of Alcester and
will ‘we the people’ have some sort of say or will we be left to silently suffer some type of
Jumanji edifice gracing our community? I mean we already have a pseudo city
administrator avatar that looks just like the city Finance Officer. No action taken
in open session.

Property management-Oh my goodness Mayor Glas is on a tear. “…the city needs to clean up…we do not have enough enforcement!…Our code officer is not getting the job done, why I hear…” and “…we need bigger fines…”we need volunteers to help the elderly-disabled clean up…”. In my opinion Mr. Mayor, clean up the city offices, get rid of the clutter passing for ‘decor’.  The city office is where we conduct business and needs to look professional NOT give one the impression he has just dropped through the Pinterest Rabbit Hole just as he passes through the city office doors! So Mr. Mayor clean up your own office doorstep before ya’ll start writin’ tickets on the rest of us! Oh and
contrary to finance office gossip, main street businesses are NOT exempt from
Property Maintenance regulations.

I am happy to announce the city will be contacting the South Dakota State
Trapper to take care of the coyote infestation rather than let some citizen Wyatt
Earp wanna-be doin’ target practice at the Alcester City land-fill. W-a-a-hoo!

Now we have arrived at the whole purpose of the meeting, uh-m-m, yeah,
right. At the conclusion of each fiscal year, the city must rob Peter to pay Paul so-to-speak. Finance Officer Jurrens must ‘borrow’ moneys from accounts that STILL contain money to prop up the over-drawn accounts.**  This is called a Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance and not to be confused with a Resolution. You see a Resolution takes one reading with publication while an Ordinance takes TWO readings with publication. Now the importance of this, is Finance Officer Jurrens who admitted she did not understand the difference between an Ordinance and a Resolution took a short cut by scheduling only ONE reading. The importance, is the city HAD to schedule a third December meeting to do the Ordinance correctly. Now the city council agreed to forego payment for this corrective meeting, however the council should not have to eat the cost and inconvenience of this third meeting had Finance Officer Jurrens just sought the advice of the City Attorney instead of relying on her own legal ‘expertise’.  The Council voted on the first reading of the Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance and scheduled a meeting on December 29, 2017, at 7:00 a.m. to fulfill the required TWO readings.

Due to lack of dual control and risk management issues, our local audit accountant recommended monthly spot checks of the city books as a risk management tool.  The council has chosen to take turns doing monthly spot checks.  As encouragement to the
council, good ol’ Mayor Glas says, “…I have done this and it is very easy to do…”
This is sadly amusing in that during the discussion on coyote trapping, Mayor
Glas ask three times in the course of about five (5) minutes how much the bounty
on coyotes was and each time the answer was $20 a head. Dear sweet aunt Tillie
it is like having Mr. Magoo check out the fine-print on a $100K contract!

Last item on the agenda was 2018 contracts SDCL 1-25-2-(4) which is
Preparing for contract negotiations or negotiating with employees or employee
representatives. The council voted to go into executive session presumably to
discuss contract negotiations. This is interesting since the city attorney was not
present and the only NON-Council member in executive session with the council
members was Finance Officer Pat Jurrens who does not operate under a contract,
and while she has on occasion attempted to tell the City Attorney what legal advice
he should be handing out, she is NOT a lawyer. The council spent from 6:18 p.m.
to 6:53 p.m. discussing ‘contracts’.

Meeting adjourned at 6:54 p.m.

* See part II for abridged text
** Contact Alcester City office for the text of the 2017 Supplement Appropriation Ordinance