08/19/2019 A Voice From the Gallery

I have been traveling and missed the August 5, 2019, city council meeting.  It sounded interesting.

I do however have a report or two on the Alcester City Code Enforcement Officer Geoff Fillingsness’ fishing trip to the Kezars.  On or around August 8, 2019, Code Enforcement Officer Geoff Fillingsness contacted the Kezars to let them know he was coming on August 9th at 9:00 a.m. to ‘inspect’ their home for Code violations, there had been complaints.  Really?  Ole FO Snoopy Nose?  Code Enforcement Officer Fillingsness warned the Kezars he had a warrant and expected to go into their home to take pictures.

REALLY! 

I was there to video-tape the fishing expedition.   Upon Code Enforcement Officer Fillingsness arrival just a few minutes before 9:00 a.m., I started filming.  Code Enforcer Fillingsness made it all the way to the door and when asked to present a valid warrant, he had to hussle back to his car to find the document.  What did he think?  That he was just going to walz into the home without question?  He presented a quasi-warrant to the home owners.  I say quasi because the document had no date, lacked the judge’s name, lacked a readable signature and carried no file number.  It lacked the affidavit of the complainant giving the judge the justification for signing an administrative inspection warrant, just plain lacking legal status in my book and smacked of FO Jurrens ‘aptitude’ for legal document incompetence.

Code Enforcer Fillingsness was told no he could not enter the home.  Code Enforcer Fillingsness wandered around the outside property, poked his Pinocchio nose into the garage, took pictures of windows and upon failing to gain admittance into the house he left with the verbal threat of, “…I am going to have to report this…”

Code Enforcement Officer Geoff Fillingsness returned on August 19, 2019, and was allowed into the home under duress and protest.  Pay special attention to the conversation regarding the file number, the name of the judge, the lack of date and time to object to the findings.

This can happen to any of us who collect.  It is moronic for FO Jurrens and Mayor Glas to whiz and moan about property maintenance and filing blind complaints on people.  Look and see what she perpetrated on the atrium in city hall and this is just a small example of what junk she shoved into the atrium.

DSC00959.JPG

In 2014 the council voted for a website, not a high priority.  About four months ago the council again voted for a website, evidently still not a high priority for FO Pat and Mayor Glas.  Could it be because they would have to publish the agendas, the minutes and the city ordinances on the website.  We would get the breakdown money dispersions for the finance office, not just a global number.  We can fix this, we just have to be willing.  Call Mayor Glas 934-2188 or your ward council person and let them know!

05/21/2019 A Voice From the Gallery

I filed a violation of property maintenance with the city of Alcester for 518 Anderson Street including a picture of the vandalization of the curb and gutter.  In fact I hand-delivered that formal complaint of violation to Mayor Glas in front of the Alcester city council on April 15, 2019.

Mayor Glas finally got around to sending a letter in reply.

On May 9, 2019,  I reiterated my FOIA Request on the property maintenance violation.

On May 20, I received the delayed FOIA information and was denied information regarding the vandalization of 518 Anderson curb because according to Alcester Finance Officer Jurrens, Randy Heuer OWNS the curb and gutter.  BULL!  What barn-door barrister handed down that opinion?  As to who gave him permission to vandalize the curb and gutter, could it have been the Alcester city councilman who admitted to vandalizing election signs of Mayor Glas’ opponent in the mayoral election?  This is the city, boyo not the back forty, shelter belt!

FO Pat and Mayor spent many hours crafting their Home-Owners-Association-like Circus of Hades.  You know where the city is being run by a pair of pissants dictating what we can and cannot do within our castles, imposing their troglodyte tastes upon the rest of us, and giving their  drinkin’ buddies ‘speschal’ privileges.    The city owns the curb and gutter, the abutting homeowner pays the upkeep.  Kind-of-like the nightingale call girl.  Ya’ll don’t own her but if you enjoy her company ya’ll are payin’ her upkeep, her ‘managing partner’ fees and her shots!

So tell me, WHAT ARE SET BACKS Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens?  The city owns from the center of the street, thirty-three feet toward the property.  Maybe Mayor Glas, FO Pat and IA-Roo need to do a refresher course on property owner-ship and who owns what and how far.

So third request for FOIA:

  • FOIA 04-22-2019 II-NO ANSWER
  1. Full name and title* of the individual granting permission to vandalize/modify the curb portion of the curb and gutter abutting the property at 518 Anderson Street, Alcester, SD 57001.
  2. Full and complete documentation/council variance approval* for the vandalisation/modification of the curb portion of the curb and gutter abutting 518 Anderson Street, Alcester, South Dakota 57001 and owned by Randy R. Heuer.
  3. The name and address of the individual or company* which performed the vandalisation/modification of the curb portion of the curb and gutter abutting 518 Anderson Street, Alcester, South Dakota 57001.

Readers, Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson ‘schooled’ me during a city council meeting interrogation on who was giving me advice.  Young Sir, I am fully capable of acting pro se and surely you have figured this out by now.  But to use your own logic Alcester City Attorney Sam, ‘If you refuse to answer, it didn’t happen and…(here I quote you ACA Sam), “…you are wasting my time discussing this…”.

Folks Mayor Glas and FO Pat are more worried about how high the grass grows, how low the trees hang, but working fire hydrants are not a high priority!  So Mayor Glas and FO Pat in your letter you stated Randy Ray Roo had permission, so where is the demolition permission and fee?  Randy Ray Roo chopped up the curb, where is the demo permit showing he paid you $400?  That is in you lil’ ole property maintenance.  I think you ‘jewels’ were charging somewhere around $400 for a demolition and a permit had to be obtained from the city.  SO WHERE IS IT?  If you make changes you have to have a building permit and according to FO Pat’s job description she has to inspect ‘yer process and progress’.  So what class was that at Beacom School of Business again?

So according to Alcester City Attorney Sam, there was NO variance, NO permission, there was NO professional removal, NO ownership, apparently NO demo permit just a ‘bag of words’, a mesh satchel of lies and absolutely no facts.

I WANT ANSWERS!  My fellow citizens WANT ANSWERS.  So if it is okay for Randy Ray Roo can vandalize his curb and gutter, if Alcester Councilman can vandalize an election sign, then by golly the rest of us can be civilly disobedient with impunity!

05/18/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

HEADS-UP!

Upcoming meeting!  May 21, 2018  6:00 p.m.!

WARD I VACANCY  YOU CAN STILL SIGN ON!

05-21-2018 AGENDA

05-21-2018 AGENDA II

May 7, 2018, published Minutes

05-07-2018 COUNCIL MINUTES EXCERP

*************************************************************************************

Still discussing Madam’s stools. 

Lifeguards-Interesting how the video states Finance Officer Jurrens advising Councilman David Larsen the minimum wage was $8.81 per hour and Councilman Larsen made the motion of minimum wage at $8.81 per hour for Abby Walth.  Yet the minutes published in the May 17, 2018, issue of the official city newspaper, the Alcester Union-Hudsonite listed the minimum wage as $8.85 per hour.  The council moved, seconded and voted unanimously on the amount of minimum wage as proclaimed by Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens.  The council relied on her ‘expertise’, Oops!  Now the May 17, 2018, minutes need to be amended to reflect the actual action, then correct Finance Officer Jurrens gaff, and re-publish.  The first publication cost taxpayers $112.48, so what is the additional cost to fix the error?  People want to know what is going on.     

Now this is one goat-rodeo where the goat got loose!  I have a problem when the minutes do not reflect the action, presto-change-o the error magically corrects itself upon publication.  Check out the video in the May 7, 2018, meeting (02:23:27).  H-m-m video and audio trumps the published minutes and this time ya cain’t blame the publisher.

Still working on the minutes, please note below where the published minutes announced, “… Lance Johnson was not in attendance to take his Oath and the Vacant Ward I seat will be filled at the June meeting…”  Yup that is what they say.  Take a gander at the Agenda for May 21, 2018, Agenda Item #10 (a) Mayor Glas to appoint Linda Talbott to Ward I Vacancy.  Now what do ya s’pose happened?  Mayor Glas and FO Pat did not do the residents the courtesy of advising them about the Ward I Vacancy,  Mayor Glas and FO Pat set up the oath for Ward I and cancelled it without explanation (?), Mayor Glas and FO Pat set up what appears to be a hand-picked appointment for Ward I in the June meeting of the Alcester City Council with the full knowledge they were going to have a special meeting in May for ‘police officer candidate’ interviews (May 7, 2018, Agenda Item #10(f)(2)) A-N-D then Mayor Glas and FO Pat include Agenda item #10 on the May 21, 2018, agenda successfully preventing any interested resident from Ward I from interviewing for the Ward I Vacancy no matter what powers of precognition ‘they’ profess to have.  Mayor Glas and FO Pat must be cold, ’cause they sure appear to be a coverin’ up right nice!  Half-Glas’d is still appears to be the modus operandi.  So much for open meeting and keeping the public accurately informed.

One more thing concerning the minimum wage thingy.  I once worked for a guy who whenever the minimum wage increased, new hires got minimum wage.  However the faithful, loyal, long-term employees did not get the same increase, so in essence the experienced, higher seniority employees were making less than new hires!  What do ya s’pose our city does?

 

05/09/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

At 6:00 p.m. Mayor Glas half-Glas’d the regular meeting of the Alcester City Council into session with Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilman Dan Haeder and Alcester City Attorney Sam Nelson present.  Alcester City Councilman Lance Johnson was AWOL.  I use the term half-Glas’d in place of the more colorful phrase half-a**’d describing the quality of performance of execution of duty.

Agenda item #3 Mayor Glas called for Agenda approval.  Here is where it gets interesting ’cause listed on the agenda under new council agenda item #2 titled administer oaths of office which list:  Linda Talbott, Ward I; Melissa Kay, Ward I; David Larsen, Ward II; Lance Johnson, Ward III; and Darla Reppe, Ward, III.  When Mayor Glas called for agenda approval, Councilman Lance Johnson was AWOL and Linda Talbott was not present and from conversation in the hallway it appears Finance Officer Jurrens and Mayor Glas were aware these folks were not going to be present or had been put off with a whisper of-needing-a-notice-of-vacancy published.  Interesting?  You betch yer sweet bippy!

I saw the agenda item #2 entry and wondered at Ms. Talbott’s inclusion in the Oath of Office Administration because there was no notice of vacancy for Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle’s Ward I seat.  On Monday, May 7, 2018, I visited Alcester Union-Hudsonite publisher Shane Hill, asking him if the paper had published a notice of vacancy advertisement because I could not find any notice of vacancy in the paper.  He checked his emails from Finance Officer Jurrens and found only the notice of vacancy received in January 2018 for publication January 18, 2018, and January 25, 2018, well in advance of the February 23, 2018, deadline for return of nomination petitions. That last-minute comment about notice-of-vacancy just prior to the start of council meeting makes my paranoid self wonder, had my seat belt even been clicked into place at the news office before Finance Officer Jurrens was given the heads up, she was found out!  H-m-m

After I returned home from my visit with Publisher Hill, I remembered chit-chat immediately prior to the April 2, 2018, council meeting this was Councilwoman Sundstrom-Lyle’s last meeting and because Finance Officer Jurrens had announced in an earlier March meeting there would be no city election, I presumed Councilwoman Sundstrom-Lyle had resigned.  That begged the questions

why no notice of vacancy and how was it Ms. Talbott’s name appeared on the agenda to be administered the oath of office? 

I telephoned Mrs. Sundstrom-Lyle asking if she had resigned, she told me, “…no she had just run out her term of office…”  So that left the only other legal option for Ms. Talbott’s name on the agenda for Oath of Office was Ms. Talbott presented a nomination petition. by deadline.

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, I delivered in-person a FOIA to the City of Alcester requesting a copy of the nomination petition presented to Finance Officer Jurrens before the deadline of February 23, 2018.  Just in case, I also presented a simple form statement which stated that Finance Officer Pat Jurrens could not provide the requested election petition because_____which was to be filled out by Finance Officer Jurrens including her signature and date.  Upon my presentation of the FOIA, Finance Officer Jurrens told me Ms. Talbott had not presented a nominating petition so she (Finance Officer Jurrens) could not honor my FOIA.  I presented her the denial of FOIA document and asked her to please fill it out, sign and date it.  After Finance Officer Jurrens asked the question, “why would I (FO Jurrens) do that…?”, I replied it was a denial condition of the FOIA and at which point she complied.

So folks, another shining, troubling example of half-Glas’d, government!  Ms. Talbott DID NOT fill out a nominating petition, Ms. Talbott DID NOT submit a nominating petition prior to the February 23, 2018, deadline, Ms. Talbott was NOT appointed by Mayor Glas IN OPEN city council meeting, Ms. Talbott was NOT ratified by the Alcester City Council in OPEN city council meeting, so how in bloody Hades can she be administered an oath of office.  This begs the question,

 

Did the Alcester City Council Know?

 Did Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens deliberately keep this information from the Alcester City council?

 Why would the council knowingly approve an agenda (if they read it in advance) they knew to be in error?

Why didn’t the council ask questions why Ms. Talbott was not present?  (00:00:15)

The Agenda was approved unanimously, five ayes without question or discussion.

Agenda Item #5- Alcester Bar.  The great stool discussion would be funny if it was not your and my tax dollars being wasted on Madam Woolworth.  It appears the City of Alcester is subsidizing the Deems with tax dollars to the detriment and direct competition with other three Alcester City liquor sellers.  (00:02:30)

The was a prolonged discussion of should we (taxpayers) pay for stools, shouldn’t we (taxpayers) pay for stools, what kinds of stools, should we buy two-part stools, should they swivel, should they not swivel and if we get stools that don’t swivel how are the bar belles going to stay on their stools.  Seat-belts?  The great stool debate, are ya kidding me?  Oh I know, “Let’s buy elevated versions of ‘them speshal’ office chairs they got in the Alcester finance office!” Ya know one of ‘them’ chairs with them bouncy balls instead of ‘reglar’ seats, so’s to take pressure off the brain?”  Why them ol’ bartenders could tell for ‘sartin’ they over-served a customer ’cause that ol’ bar beau or bar belle couldn’t stay on the stool.  ‘Cause you know in the past Madam seemed ‘to think’ our police officers were Uber drivers and 911 was the Uber ‘quik’ call number!

Not once has the council asked for the financials of the Deems on what they had spent on bar upkeep unlike their stiff, rooster legged reaction to Agenda Item #7 in the new council session (00:17:30). Ya sure don’t see the council getting testy about Madam coming to them on a regular basis with her hand out, hollerin’, ‘hey buddy can ya spare a dime?’ an’ ladies and gents, Madam sure doesn’t mean ten cents!

Agenda Item #6-Planning and Zoning Hearing.  The gallery had questions on parking on the grass, no longer a light industrial class, and once again the great semantic corrugated debate. (00:24:30)   Mayor Glas arguing the metal roof on house were not corrugate and that galvanized was a kind of metal.  I pointed out corrugation was process much like extrusion which shapes the steel, copper or aluminum sheets into stronger and ascetically attractive roofing.  I also explained to Mayor Glas that galvanization was a secondary process to metal.  (00:26:12)  Changes to wording were discussed and handed off to the planning committee to correct the wording.  One word here, the council seemed inclined to half-glas’d the issue with the wording on a case-by-case basis.  Translation:   if we like you, if you’re our good ‘bud’, or if your nose is placed between our posteriors and the big, inflated, bouncy ball of my office chair, I will find in your favor.

Agenda Item #8– Adjourn the old council

*********************************************************************************************

Agenda Item #1-Open New Council

Agenda Item #2-Oath of Office  The Oath of Office was administered to Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, and Councilman David Larsen.

Agenda Item #5-Public Input

  • Derek Lykken asked, “… how people were expected to know when the city council met and how they could find out about city business…” Council responses to Mr. Lykken’s questions were via the internet (?), the front door of the auditorium, and the city offices.
  • Mike Kezar asked the question, “in the event of the mayor’s (non-voting member) absence and the president of the council (voting member of the council) took the meeting over, did the president of the council retain his vote while he was presiding in the absence of the mayor and what would happen in the event of a tie. Council members just looked at each other in confusion.  It had been practiced, in the council president’s position as mayor pro tem in the mayor’s absence, he would not have a vote with the exception of a tie.  Per Roberts Rules, “…The chair cannot, however, vote twice, first to make a tie and then give the casting vote…”
  • I distributed documents as to procedure for the ‘special assessment’ aka the curb tax with which we were served. According the South Dakota Municipal League’s, Guide to Special Assessments the city must include certain information to the property owners.

In my opinion Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens office half- Glas’d the municipal checkbook and budget by failing to observe the restriction on the second penny sales tax which protected the property tax paying residents of Alcester from municipal pick-pockets.

Agenda Item #7Alcester Fire Department request.  This agenda item dealt with the Alcester Volunteer Fire Department’s request for additional funding support to the fire department for five of the department’s volunteers to go to Fire School.  The question was raised how much do we give the Fire Department, where do they spend their money, do we have financial statements from the Fire Department.  We need financial statements from the Fire Department. It seemed to me the council was under the delusion the Fire Department could exist nicely on the stipend the city was providing to them.  Finance Officer Pat Jurrens again played the seventh council  member by injecting her opinion that she had suggested several fund-raising options to Chief Kast and expressed her irritation at his response to her suggestions.  (00:15:56)

Agenda Item #8(c)-Slide (pool) discussion.  It is to be noted here the free slide being offered by Beresford is a mobile (on wheels) contraption and the pool for safety reasons needs to be roped off at the point of drop in order to protect swimmers in the water from the body dropping off the slide.  What I see is one more toy the city is going have to store because it was not appropriate for our pool size and design.  The other question is WHY did Beresford permanently remove this slide from their pool?

Agenda Item #10 (b)(f)Police Department.  Two things under this agenda item, first in spite of Mayor Glas’ penchant of Executive session/personnel the council proceeded to discuss in open session Officer Nelson’s Resignation, Certification Reimbursement, how much he should pay, how long he had to pay it back and possible garnishment of his wages (01:30:47) including reference to a former officer Tim Peete. BIG NO-NO. 

Secondly the discussion of police officer interviews.  A young candidate was present to schedule an interview because she was going to be out of the state at the time of interviews.  Chief Doty’s plan was to interview prospective officer candidates and submit his pared-down choices for council interview.  Unfortunately Police Chief Doty was called away prior to the meeting which ultimately became Mayor Glas, Finance Officer Jurrens and certain council members opening for aggressive micro-management of the police department.  The group was busy making arrangements to interview all 8 or so candidates and then let Chief Doty know what their choice was.  (01:46:26)

Agenda Item #10 (f)(2)-Set date for Special Police Meeting.

Meeting was set for May 21, 2018, 6:00 p.m.

Agenda Item #12 (a)1-6  – Renovating the auditorium.  Finance Officer Jurrens wants to put in new carpeting, new tile, stalls and flooring in the men’s room downstairs.  There was talk of ADA compliant changes, yo how are those folks ADA gonna get down those steps?  Duh?

Agenda Item #12 (b) – Lifeguards.  A discussion took place about the hiring of Ms. Abby Walth as lifeguard.  Councilman David Larsen moved to hire Ms. Walth at minimum wage, at which point Councilman Larsen asked FO Pat Jurrens the minimum wage amount per hour, FO Jurrens replied, “$8.81/hour” AMAZING The South Dakota minimum wage of $8.85/hour took effect on January 1, 2018.  Another half-Glas’d job of disseminating important inFOrmation  Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded the motion, NO DISCUSSION and the council voted unanimous to hire Abby Walth at $8.81/per hour.  Now the council is going to have a ‘DO-OVER!’ so Abby will be paid the proper wage.  (02:23:27)  So how many other minimum wage city employees have been short-paid since January 1, 2018?

Agenda Item #12(f)-Executive session.  PERSONNEL 1-25-2.1   Go figure!

Well of course!  Executive session began at 8:33 p.m. and ended at 9:08 p.m.

Agenda Item #12(h)Set July meeting date.

Date for the regular Alcester Council meeting was changed from July 2, 2018, to July 10, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.

Agenda Item #17 Executive Session-Personnel   AGAIN!

Evidently the council was not done bashing personnel.  The past four to five years  council have gone into Executive council more times in two months that previous councils went into Executive session in four years barring a lawsuit session.  Check the minutes see for yourselves how many executive sessions and how many times it was for PERSONNEL!

Council went into closed session for ‘personnel’ at 9:22 p.m. and back in open session at 9:35 p.m.

Immediately after opening the session and before the gallery could get back into the room, Mayor Glas appointed Councilwoman Melissa Kay to the Public Safety Committee.  I did not hear the entire appointment because I was just approaching and entering the room and only caught part of the action.  Since it did not appear on the agenda, I legitimately questioned the ‘appointment’ and received some short, terse, and snarky replies that it was for a committee appointment.  Ladies and Gentlemen of the Council, YOU did not do the patiently waiting gallery the courtesy of allowing them back into the room and seated before you resumed business, effectively maintaining closed meeting because the public was not yet present in the room!

Motion to Adjourn

MEETING WAS ADJOURNED APPROXIMATELY 9:40 P.M.

Note:  Certain council actions just after the council comes back into session from closed session are not always captured on camera.  Upon the executive session declared, I remove my camera from its tripod taking it with me into the hallway.  Upon the executive session declared back in open session, I return and re-attach the camera back to the tripod.  A process which sometimes takes moments of council time that is not recorded.

04/03/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

Once again Mayor Glas failed to open the meeting properly (00:00:15), he just announced it’s time, let’s say the pledge and so the April 2, 2018, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council began with the presence of Mayor Glas, Councilman David Larsen, Councilman Lance Johnson, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilwoman Melissa Kay, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilwoman Darla Reppe, City Attorney Tom Frieberg and his colleague Sam Nelson of Beresford.

The council unanimously and with no discussion approved the agenda and minutes of the March 5th regular city council meeting and the March 19th Special/ Equalization meeting with no changes or corrections.

Agenda Item #5-Alcester Bar/Theresa Deem  After a far too short respite Madam Woolworth has returned with her hand out to the Alcester taxpayers wallet.  It seems her stools are over-stapled, ‘tipsy’ and because, “…a lot of heavier people are sitting on them…” (00:01:50) she is afraid her stools cannot handle the ‘loads’ placed upon them and Madam, “don’t want nobody gettin’ hurt…”.  Madam wants new stools at what she speculates to be $100-$150 a ‘plop’.

The council discussed Madam’s conundrum and none of the current council members had an idea of past council practices as it related to Madam Woolworth.  In the past lease agreements, Deem Enterprises, LLC, managing member Theresa Deem affixed her signature to the Lease and Operating Agreement acknowledging her responsibilities as lessee under

Title XI REPAIRS – Page 5,  “Operator (Theresa Deem) shall maintain the building premises and any improvements, additions or alterations thereto in a good, safe and substantially similar condition existing at the commencement of this Lease and Operating Agreement…Operator shall also, at her own cost and expense, put, and maintain in thorough repair and in good, safe, and substantial order and condition…Operator shall be responsible for all repairs of equipment…”  

So when Madam, ‘re-tires’ from the bar, she can take her stools and ‘sit on them’ and save the city money spent hauling them away.  The city needs to sell the bar building, get that Central Business property back on the tax rolls and stop the hemorrhage of cash spent to ‘float’ Madam’s booze boat.  I believe Madam’s monthly lease went up to $1300 last operating agreement so she pays the $1300 then holds her right hand out for $1200-$3000 for ‘stools’.  Where is our records custodian? Finance Officer Jurrens is the custodian of city records and she didn’t know to look at the Lease and Operating Agreement for the obligations and restrictions of the parties to the Lease?  By-the-way have the Lease terms and Conditions named Title XIX, Title XXV and Title XXVI been complied with by the Deems and been verified by the city for 2018?

It was still early for the scheduled Planning Commission Public Hearing, the Seal Coat Bid Opening and Mr. Jones representing Alcester Townhouse Apartments was not yet present so the Mayor Glas called Public Input.

Agenda Item #9-Public Input was called.  I responded.  Prior to the meeting I provided the council members with a re-presentation of documents I presented to them in Public Input on June 5, 2017, and to which they failed to respond.  Highlighted on the document was the establishment of an official city website on March 3, 2014, which included the members who made the motion, the members who voted aye which included the Alcester Councilwoman Pat Jurrens and Rick Johnson was Mayor.

This time there was a discussion but the discussion was a little troubling.  Councilwoman Darla Reppe asked the question, “…are we required to have an official website?” (00:19:33) Finance Officer Pat Jurrens responded (00:20:33), “…as long as (minutes) are published in paper”

  (SDCL 1-25-1.1 “…Also, if the public body has its own website, the notice must be posted on the public body’s website upon dissemination of  the notice…The notice must be delivered in person, by mail, by email, or by telephone  to all local news media who have asked to be notified…” and SDCL 1-27-1.17 “requires that draft minutes of public meetings must be made available to the public at the principal place of business for the public body within ten business  days after the meeting (or made available on the website for the public body within five business days…”)

Councilwoman Reppe since you were not present at the March 3, 2014, council meeting when that council decision was made and along with your lack of gallery presence at subsequent Alcester City Council meetings until the evening of your interview and appointment as Ward III representative which could have bolstered your insight into how our municipalities operate,  I understand your global ignorance of council procedures and how our municipality operates.   Yeah Councilwoman Reppe and Finance Officer Jurrens, we are required because a previous council approved the official Alcester website and provided for taxpayer moneys to be used!  Madam Finance Officer it fell to you (then Councilwoman Jurrens) who voted on the website to act upon the ratification of that council vote and later when you were appointed as Alcester Finance Officer it became your duty to work at or cause to be implemented the establishment the official city website as voted by the representatives of the people of Alcester!  What were those definitions again, mal-feasance, mis-feasance and non-feasance as it relates to councilwoman oath/duty and finance officer job performance?   Mayor Glas you have thrice been apprised of the website situation and you failed to enact the website directive.  You have the duty to carry out that council vote once you were made aware of the website vote, failure to implement and proof of vote!  Are you aware Mayor Glas of those definitions of mal-feasance, mis-feasance and non-feasance as they apply to your failure to act?  On March 3, 2014, Alcester Councilwoman Kama Johnson moved to establish an official city website, Alcester Councilman Mike Burke made the second to the motion and Councilman David Larsen, Councilman Steve Johannsen, Councilman Mark Dykstra and Councilwoman Pat Jurrens voted unanimously to establish an official city website! Period!  Councilman Dan Haeder responded, “…verify with legal if we have to have a website…vote not relevant to a past council…requirements…?” (00:21:04) So with all due respect Councilman Haeder if we drag our feet long enough, prior decisions of the council are automatically repealed by sitting council declaration?  Is that what you are saying?  So what is the time frame, a month, several months, a year?  How long before we can ignore votes of the current council?  I know ‘we the people’ can already refer, initiate or just move to compel compliance but how long must we wait to come up to an acceptable or widely practiced standard, a website?

Another part of my documentation to the city council was a formal complaint made on June 1, 2017, regarding the roll-off container with flammable materials located at 102 E Second Street violating Fire Code 2803.2, 2808.1, 2808.5, 2809.1, 5904.2, 5904.2.1, Alcester Municipal Code 3.0102E and 6.0212.  I have had no response from Code Enforcement Officer Fillingsness or the city of Alcester.  I have heard from other sources Finance Office has been saying, “…the city sidewalk in front of the bank doesn’t have the same restrictions as the residential sidewalks…” BALONEY!  I have also heard reports of comments to the effect that, “…well if they make an effort to clean it up… it is discretionary…”  BALONEY!   Violations are violations, Period!  It makes no difference whether it is the Alcester Tire and Service place (2015-CDBG Loan $15,000.00-Teri Metcalf) or the assistant finance officer’s son-in-law who is operating light industrial in the central business zone.  Nepotistic discretion or Chamber discretion hold weight?  Too many years of, “…it’s on our radar…” allowed a older gentleman by the name of Andrew to perpetrate a municipal nightmare.  Well gents, your radar ain’t pingin’ right!  Maybe, just maybe, that pingin’ on your radar is a UFO or UCO.  Ya know one of them there Un-responsive Finance Officer or Un-responsive Code Officer zippin’ around the grid.

During Public Input I also addressed the Planning and Zoning revision noting the district map had an error on it, as well as and I addressed pages 23 and 32 which dealt with the construction materials.  These pages prohibited corrugated metal, “…corrugated metal is not a permitted roofing material…”.  NOTE:  Both the 01/29/2018 nor the 04/02/2018 draft of the Planning and Zoning Revisions fail to define corrugated metal.  Mayor Glas reveling in his ‘expertise’ undertook the task of educating me on the definition of corrugated metal. (00:41:58)  Mayor Glas the definition of corrugated metal quite simply put is, metal sheeting which has been extruded (if you will) with a texture of ridges and grooves which provide strength to the metal sheet.  Copper, aluminum and stainless steel are the most commonly available corrugated metals and Mayor Glas, these corrugated metals are recognized as an excellent form of residential roofing  (corrugatedmetalroofing.net)  so endeth the lesson Mayor Glas.  Several Alcester residential homes have corrugated metal roofs, drive down Lincoln Drive some time Mayor.  By-the-way check out the pot holes in the street while you are at it!  In addition I told the council the Planning and Zoning revision failed to recognise and/or deal with global solar roofs and panels.  It is easier to fix omissions in an ordinance update before the printing than after the printing and ratification.

Agenda Item #8-Alcester Townhouse Apartments-Dennis Jones  At the conclusion of public input, Mr. Dennis Jones had arrived and his agenda item was moved up in the line-up.  Mr. Jones was present to address a Property Maintenance Complaint on the property located at 101 SD Hwy 11.  The property violates Property Maintenance Code and has done so for quite some time.  Mr. Jones had voiced his concerns in the past with no action taken and he was concerned because he had seen a posting that the business was going to start taking used oil and batteries.  So if the business is going to be put up for sale (per a 01-09-2018 Facebook posting) when will the property be cleaned up?  The CDBG Loan balance due $10,377.05 to Teri Metcalf appears to be the same as Alcester Tire and Service?

Agenda Item #7-Open seal coat bids.  The city received three bids for seal coat select streets in Alcester.  Bid criteria was 20,000 square yards of CRS-2P to be put in place between June 15, 2018, and September 1, 2018.

  •                          Topkote             Yankton             $1.97/square yard     granite chip
  •                          Road Guys         Yankton             $1.75/square yard     granite chip
  •                         Asphalt Surfacing  Sioux Falls       $1.99/square yard     granite chip

Councilman Lance Johnson moved to accept the bid from Road Guys at $1.75/square yard of CRS-2P based upon 20,000 square yard purchase.  Second by Julia Sundstrom-Lyle and a unanimous vote x 6 aye ratification.

Agenda Item #6-Planning Commission Public Hearing  Upon the arrival of Mr. Patrick Andrews SECOG representative, the Planning Commission Public Hearing commenced.  Discussions involving the telecommunication towers addition to the Planning and Zoning document, semantics discussion of appropriate use and conditional use definitions.

Councilman Dan Haeder moved to approve the first reading of the April 2, 2018, revision of the Alcester Planning and Zoning Regulations, with the second to his motion coming from Councilman David Larsen.  No further discussion followed and vote was called with a unanimous X 6 Aye vote, affirming and ratifying the First Reading of the April 2, 2018, Alcester Planning and Zoning Regulation Revision.

Councilman Lance Johnson moved to set the Second reading of the April 2, 2018, Alcester Planning and Zoning Regulation Revision on the May 7, 2018, regular meeting agenda of the Alcester City Council (I presume under old business) with the second to Councilman Johnson’s motion from Councilwoman Darla Reppe, with no further discussion the vote was called with a unanimous X 6 Aye vote.

Agenda Item #10-City Employee Updates-Street Department-Pool  Lonnie Johnson of the Alcester street department gave an update on asphalt repairs and requested a concrete pad be poured near the city shop to control water flow down grade away from the building.  Concrete slab would be .5 X 16 X 30 with rebar reinforcement requiring 9.778 cubic yards of concrete.  Bid from Larsen Construction was $2203.20.  Councilman Lance Johnson moved to approve the project and the Larson Construction Bid of $2203.20 with a second to his motion coming from Councilwoman Darla Reppe and with no further discussion the vote was called with the council voting unanimously X 6 Aye.

Swimming pool issue was called with input from Councilwoman Melissa Kay and  Councilman Dan Haeder on the opinion poll.  Since the criteria of the original opinion poll changed with the advent of the notification from Beresford on the possibility of Alcester acquiring their projected surplus pool slide  making the opinion poll irrelevant and redundant the council addressed the purchase of a diving board.  Councilwoman Melissa Kay moved to purchase the diving board as presented by MCR at the quoted cost, the second came from Councilman David Larsen and with no further discussion the vote was called with the council voting unanimous X 6 Aye to approve the purchase of the diving board.

The slide issue was put off in order to gather more information about the slide.  Unfortunately when I searched for Seawave model by Aqua Thrill, I found the domain name was lapsed and Seawave was now listed under Lincoln Aquatics and the Seawave model is a portable slide.   In addition the criteria for slide installation and operation was sketchy.  Particularly the operational and safety aspects.  I found the suggested rules listed below, some are common sense but others will not allow certain children on the apparatus.

WATER SLIDE RULES:

  1. Make sure the slide is mounted per the manufacture recommended specs for the slide and the pool size.
  2. Children younger than six years old and shorter than three feet tall should not use pool slides.
  3. Don’t push or scuffle on the latter or stairs of the slide.  Only one person on the ladder at a time.
  4. Wait your turn.  Do not try to slide until you see the child before your has cleared the slide land area or left the pool.
  5. Don’t slide holding objects that can get caught on the slide and cause injury.
  6. Only One person at a time should be on the slide.
  7. Slide down feet first only.
  8. Never apply oils or lotions to the slide.
  9. Never throw anything at anyone on a pool slide.

SPECIAL NOTES AND RULES:

  • The splash down area in the swimming pool must be clearly separated from the general recreational pool with buoy lines if the pool is not a dedicated slide land pool. Additional methods of egress may be required if the pool is separated with a buoy line.
  • A lifeguard shall be on duty at the slide whenever it is in use. Where possible one (1) attendant shall be stationed at the top of the tower, and one lifeguard at the splashdown area.

Agenda Item #11-City Employee Updates Water/Wastewater-  No report. Finance Officer Pat Jurrens announced that assistant finance officer Wanda Halverson was updating sewer rates.

Agenda Item 12-City Employee Updates-Police Chief  Police Chief Doty gave a statistics update, mentioning a break-in at the bar.  No update on a parking issue.  Police Chief Doty did ask for an executive session regarding police personnel issues.  Councilman Lance Johnson moved to go into executive session to discuss police department personnel issues, the second came from Councilwoman Melissa Kay and with no discussion the vote was called with the council vote X 6 unanimously Aye.  The Council went into executive session at 7:22 p.m.  At 7:35 p.m. the council was declared out of executive session.  Upon which Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle moved to send Police Chief Chris Doty to Police Chief Convention with the second coming from Councilwoman Melissa Kay, with no public discussion the vote was called with the council voting X 6 unanimously Aye to approve the motion.

Skipping down the agenda to Agenda Item 15- Fair Board Update– City Councilwoman Darla Reppe and secondary Alcester City Council Fair Board representative was absent from the March 19, 2018, Alcester City Council meeting which was the Equalization meeting.  Councilwoman Reppe announced (01:34:12) in the April 2, 2018, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council she failed to represent her constituents in Ward III with her presence in the March 19, 2018, meeting because she felt it was more important to debunk rumors about the Union County Fair and was instead addressing the Lions Club on behalf of the Fair Board.  WOW!

Councilman Lance Johnson moved to adjourn the meeting, second from Councilwoman Darla Reppe and with no discussion the question was called with a unanimous X 6 Aye vote.  Meeting adjourned at 8:17 p.m.

03/05/2018 A Voice From the Gallery

A picture may be worth a thousand words,  but a video with audio is priceless and it makes it tough to call me a liar-Vickie Larsen

On Monday, March 5, 2018, Mayor Tom Glas announced it was 6:00 p.m. let’s open the meeting. (video 00: 00:11).  Really again?  Alcester City Council members present; Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman David Larsen, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilman Lance Johnson, Councilwoman Darla Reppe and Councilwoman Melissa Kay.  Absent city attorney representative. Action taken during any meeting that is not open or has not been properly noticed could, if challenged, be declared null and void.  It could even result in personal liability for members of the governing body involved, depending upon the action taken. (CONDUCTING THE PUBLIC’S BUSINESS IN PUBLIC, A guide to South Dakota’s Open Meetings Law (Revised Fall 2015),Prepared by representatives of the:  S.D. Attorney General’s Office S.D. Municipal League Associated School Boards of S.D. S.D. Association of County Commissioners S.D. Association of County Officials S.D. Newspaper Association S.D. Broadcasters Association S.D. Association of Towns and Townships, Published by: South Dakota Newspaper Association 1125 32nd Ave. Brookings, SD 57006)

 John Wooden said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”

Mayor Glas, here is an abbreviated script of calling a meeting to order,  “Good evening! It’s 6:00 p.m. and I’d like to call the March 5, 2018, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council meeting to order.”  You could have cue cards made and have someone hold up the appropriate card, whenever you need prompting.

Agenda Item #3-Approve the agenda Mayor Glas upon calling for approval of agenda announced the meeting agenda once again needed to be amended by adding item (d) bid for chip sealing to Agenda Item #8.  Once an agenda has been posted no changes can be made unless they are emergencies.  Folks, chip sealing was already discussed in the February 5, 2018, regular meeting under City Employee updates under street updates referencing a collaboration with the city of Beresford.  The February 5 agenda regular meeting agenda change of a one-time burn at the golf course was not an emergency nor was the chip sealing issue an emergency on the March 5 agenda regular meeting change.  Agenda’s must be posted no later than 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

SDCL 1-25-1.1.”Notice of meetings of public bodies other than the state and its boards, commissions, and departments–Violation as misdemeanor. All public bodies, except the state and each state board, commission, or department as provided in § 1-25-1.3, shall provide public notice, with proposed agenda, that is visible, readable, and accessible for at least an entire, continuous twenty-four hours immediately preceding any meeting, by posting a copy of the notice, visible to the public, at the principal office of the public body holding the meeting…”

 Agenda Item #4-Approve minutes – Mayor Glas called the question to approve minutes, Councilwoman Darla Reppe moved to accept the minutes (as provided to the council by Finance Officer Pat Jurrens)  Councilman David Larsen called for correction to the minutes.  Councilman Larsen pointed out the regular city council meeting was held on Monday, February 5, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. not Sunday, February 4, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.  In addition he pointed out the Masthead date on the city’s official paper, The Alcester Union-Hudsonite was inaccurate.  The Masthead date showed the date of Thursday, February 18, 2018.  February 18 was a Sunday not a Thursday.  Please note here that Finance Officer Pat Jurrens failed to inform the council she did not have the correct date of the regular meeting, thereby allowing the council to approve an error.  The council approved the corrected minutes of February 5, 2018.

Agenda Item #5-Public Input– I(Vickie Larsen) answered the call for public input.  I pointed out the council had approved the Alcester Union-Hudsonite newspaper as the official city newspaper and published legal documents and notices with time sensitive dates.  Any Masthead date errors such as the February 18, 2018, could have consequences regarding the time period to refer ordinances, resolutions and etc.  For example the flowery prosy Extract of Minutes of Meeting of the City Common Council of City of Alcester, dear sweet Aunt Polly.  In what archaic book of forms did the finance office find that one?  This creative alliterative prose wasn’t drawn up by the former city attorney and I checked with the office of the new city attorney and they said they didn’t write this piece of ye olde prose (my words not theirs), so I must assume the finance office put on their round conical lawyer hat and ‘writ’ their own resolution.  Now this resolution from the date of publication, February 18, 2018, we the people have 20 days to refer this assault on our collective wallets.  Oh but February 18, 2018, was on a Sunday.  I recommended the council confer with their legal counsel.  After some discussion the council decided to contact the publisher of The Alcester Union-Hudsonite for a correction in the next issue of the newspaper which in my opinion could have the effect of adding another seven days on to the already three day late publish date.  In other words, it could have the effect of adding another ten days in which to refer Ye olde sales tax revenue bond.  I also recommended the Finance Officer indicate the whether the minutes were council approved or unapproved minutes.  It is important for the citizens of Alcester to understand current practice has been to publish the unapproved minutes with any corrections MAYBE coming the month later publication of minutes and again in unapproved publication form!

Agenda Item #6 Road Safety Improvement Project DOT 929-08/2015 Joint Powers PH0020 (187) PCN-06JK – this involved sign replacements as translated by Finance Officer Pat Jurrens.  The council was provided a copy of the contract required for participation in this project for replacing street signs.  Alcester Finance Officer Pat Jurrens prefaced her explanation (video 00:08:35) with reference to the Alcester City Council of Four years ago took the line that they were unwilling to cover the liability of sign replacement if for some reason the signs were destroyed.  H-m-m so who was on that council?  Let’s see Mayor Rick Johnson,  Mark Dykstra, Mike Burke, Kama Johnson, David Larsen and of course COUNCILWOMAN PAT JURRENS!

The story goes like this, “In the May 5, 2014, regular meeting of the Alcester City council…MAYOR RICK JOHNSON announced he signed up for ‘free street signs and wanted council permission to sign an agreement ASAP.  Councilman Larsen and Councilman Dykstra asked to see the agreement since MAYOR RICK JOHNSON failed to share advance information with the council.  Upon reading the city would be liable for the cost of materials and engineering if it didn’t maintain the signs and records.  The council said NO!  Given his responses to questions, it became clear MAYOR RICK JOHNSON failed to ‘read’ the agreement he was so anxious to sign because apparently he missed the payback clause and the cost of payback! WOW…”*

Imagine Finance Office Pat Jurrens ‘FORGOT’ all about her starring role as Alcester Councilwoman during that discussion.  Imagine that!  WATCH OUT FOR THE FO BUS BOYS!  Mayor Glas and FO Pat want those street signs up to code and BY Golly Gummed Up catastrophe it NEEDS to be done!  Now folks the council voted to approve this time but the scary thing is Councilman Lance Johnson voted to do the visual sign replacement with the second coming from Councilwoman Melissa Kay, discussion happened and the good folks realised they needed to amend the motion to allow Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens to sign the document (presumably) WITHOUT presenting the final document to the council for approval.  Watch video of this (video 00:23:51)  Anyone have a problem with this scenario?  We really want to trust a pair that have trouble getting the agenda right not once but at least twice.  Or get the date of the regular city council meeting correct BEFORE putting it out for publication?

*Vickie A. Larsen, a View from the Gallery,  published May 15, 2014, The Alcester Union-Hudsonite newspaper.

Agenda Item #7 Planning and Zoning–  Set meeting for public hearing for the next council meeting on April 2, 2018, 6:15 p.m.

Agenda Item #8-Street Department – (c)  parking on 4th street and feuding neighbors.  Yup folks it is true.  Finance Officer Pat brought up an incident where two parties were creating a bottleneck on a narrow street and FO Pat thought the city might need to another parking ordinance limiting parking on one side of the street only.  ONE INCIDENT and she was questioning a need for an ordinance?  Ya Kiddin’ me.  Leave it to the police department!

Agenda Item #10-Police Department – Alcester Police Chief Chris Doty gave an update on department activities in the past month specifically referencing a mutual aid call to Beresford on the ‘trunk jumper’ in Beresford on Thursday, February 22, 2018.  There was NO agenda item involving an Executive session for the Police Department.  At the conclusion of Chief Doty’s updates, council members briefly talked among themselves with Councilman Lance Johnson asking, “… about that Thursday conversation with Chief Doty and whether it was common knowledge”, (video 01:02:25)Chief Doty replied, “no”.  At which Councilman Dan Haeder moved to go into Executive session for personnel, the second came from Councilman Lance Johnson, council approved and Mayor Glas declared the council in Executive session and Pat Jurrens remained in the Executive session with the council.  At this point Pat Jurrens has no privileged standing, therefore she should not be included in the Executive session unless she is the focus of allegations.  Since Pat Jurrens is not a member of the Police Department she is not entitled to be a part of the discussion.  If notes are required, the president of the council is called upon to take any session notes, not the city bookkeeper!

I QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS PERSONNEL. 

Alcester Councilman Lance Johnson asked about some information Chief Chris Doty shared with him on Thursday night.  Councilman Lance Johnson asked the question, “IS THIS COMMON KNOWLEDGE?”  If Councilman Lance Johnson is asking this question, it means a specific named employee of the city was not the focus of the Executive session!  A Violation of Executive session!  SDCL 1-25-2 allows a public body to close a meeting for the following purposes: 1) to discuss personnel issues pertaining to officers or employees;… Any official action based on discussions in executive session must, however, be made at an open meeting.”

Agenda Item 12 (h) Employee Updates-Finance Office – Executive session  Now folks this generic Executive session operates as a JUST-IN-CASE-WE NEED-IT-EXECUTIVE-SESSION because as I explained above if it is not included on the agenda, it cannot happen! (i.e. the police department executive session).

Mayor Glas called Executive session agenda item, asking if anyone needed an Executive session. (video 01:36:28 )  Councilwoman Melissa Kay raised her hand and commented, ” I would like to discuss some things in the employee manual (waving what appeared to be the employee manual) and police manual…”  Councilwoman Melissa Kay moved to go into Executive session to discussion personnel issues, second came from Councilman Dan Haeder.  Vote Aye times 6.  The council entered into Executive session at 7:56 p.m. and exited the session at 8:26 p.m.

I AGAIN QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS PERSONNEL. 

A Violation of Executive session!  SDCL 1-25-2 allows a public body to close a meeting for the following purposes: 1) to discuss personnel issues pertaining to officers or employees;  Specific employees or officers!  First, any Employee Manual employee violation and any Police Manual violations cannot be dealt within  ONE Executive session.  VIOLATION  It is not an appropriate  discussion if employees should be allowed to take their PTO for illness to take care of children under school age when the spouse is sick.  Or even when employees can or cannot take PTO, Leave or Comp time—NOT Executive session material.  Second, the Police Manual in and of itself  is not Executive session material valid.  What cannot be discussed in open session is specific investigations or events.

Agenda Item #14-HRC UPDATE-Mayor Glas is upset ’cause the HRC committee said the little Beck Drive lot sign on SD Hwy 46 was ineffective and needed to be moved.  I told the Mayor and council this some time ago.  The rule of thumb in Highway advertising is the traveling speed on the highway, the number of seconds a person has to view the sign at that speed, eye or above eye level and complexity of the sign.  One must KISS it for highway advertising.  Keep the design simple, 3-5 second readability and eye level or above.  The Beck drive sign on Highway 46 is down in the ditch, complex design and the lettering is so small one has to stand on the highway for full readability.  Mayor Glas had already purchased the signs, they were a sittin’ in the basement for a year and by golly they needed to be put up and he finally got the job done.  Five signs at (just guessing here) $150-$200 a pop and totally worthless for outside city limits advertising.  Salute Mayor Glas!  Check out ( video 01:39:54)

Agenda Item #15-Alcester Community Building-Real Estate Purchase Agreement.  Agreement needs changes regarding dates, liability and etc.  The council authorised Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens to sign the final draft.  I  feel the council should review the final draft of any agreement before Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens sign it, we have had too many revisions and amendments because the Mayor and city bookkeeper cannot accurately proof read legal documents as to dates and contexts.  These signatures could bind the city inextricably to conditions Alcester city residents/taxpayers cannot afford.

Agenda Item #18 Adjourn  Meeting was adjourned at 8:39 p.m.

Board of Equalization appeal deadline:  March 15, 2018

Board of Equalization meeting:  March 19, 2018  6:00 p.m.

Regular Alcester City Council Meeting April 2, 2018, 6:00 p.m.

Planning and Zoning Public Hearing:  April 2, 2018  6:15 p.m.

Election:  April 10, 2018

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.

12/31/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

Mayor Tom Glas called the December 29, 2017, special meeting of the Alcester City Council to order at 7:00 a.m. with Councilwoman Darla Reppe, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle, Councilman Dan Haeder, Councilman Lance Johnson present and Councilman David Larsen via telephone and Vickie Larsen in the gallery after which the group recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  City Attorney Chuck Haugland was not present.

This meeting was necessitated because Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens did not know the difference between a Resolution and an Ordinance and obdurately neglected to seek a definition from the city legal counsel, Chuck Haugland.  Over the past year or two Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens apparently feel the city is paying out too much for legal advice.  It has been Mayor Glas’ practice to excuse Mr. Haugland from city council meetings about an hour into the meeting while he (the mayor) wings the rest of the meeting on his and Finance Officer Jurrens’ own legal acumen, blithely allowing the council to make legally malinformed decisions.

Come to a meeting and see Mayor Glas clock-watch while Mr. Haugland is in the meeting. (maybe I can get it on tape)  Sadly the council accepts whatever Finance Officer Jurrens tells them regarding any agenda item, whether it lay within her scope of finance officer duties or not.  Many times when City Attorney Haugland is not present, the council gets an ‘explanation’ from Finance Officer Jurrens who has ‘talked’ to Mr. Haugland.  Now there is a theory in law called best evidence or best evidence rule which Black’s Dictionary describes as,

          “…Primary evidence, as distinguished from secondary;  original, as distinguished  from substitutionary…The original of a written instrument is itself always regarded as the primary or best possible evidence…a copy or the recollection of a witness, would be secondary evidence…”[1]

In other words Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland’s opinion  in person is the best evidence, not the recollections or translations of his and FO Pat’s conversations  presented to the council by Finance Officer Jurrens in Mr. Haugland’s absence.

The council ratified the motion to approve the agenda made by Councilwoman Darla Reppe, seconded by Councilman Dan Haeder, with no discussion and with a unanimous vote of five yeas.

The council went on to the second reading of the Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance 2017-12, with no changes or further discussion.  Upon Councilman David Larsen’s motion to approve, Councilman Lance Johnson’s second, the Alcester City Council ratified Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance 2017-12 with a five yea unanimous vote.

At this point Councilman Dan Haeder moved to forego the council and mayor’s meeting pay, Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded the motion, and with the council’s unanimous vote the council agreed to forego pay for the December 29, 2017, special meeting.

Last item on the agenda was Executive Session.  Imagine that!  Immediately Councilman Lance Johnson piped up to say, “I want to discuss what I found out about equipment in executive session…”  I sat quietly watching Mayor Glas look toward Finance Officer Jurrens a couple of times before Finance Officer Jurrens told Councilman Lance well she needed know more information.  Then FO Pat with a couple other chiming voices responded we cannot go into executive session for equipment eliciting an immediate response from Councilman Lance Johnson, “…well then I move to go into executive session to discussion personnel.” (really transparent move there, Councilman Lance!)  At which point FO Pat provided him with the appropriated South Dakota Statute for personnel.   Councilwoman Darla Reppe seconded the motion, with no discussion the council with a unanimous vote of five yeas approved the move to closed session at 7:03 a.m.  As I exited the room, I stopped to point out to the council they could only discuss specific personnel and they could not discuss equipment or anything else.  I was called back into the council room.   As I entered the room, Mayor Tom Glas called the meeting out of executive session at 7:07 a.m.  Upon the Mayor’s declaration, Councilman Dan Haeder commented they would discuss the contract stuff in the January meeting.  The January regular Alcester city council meeting is scheduled for January 8*, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.

At this juncture Councilman Dan Haeder moved to adjourn, Councilwoman Julia Sundstrom-Lyle seconded the motion to adjourn, with no discussion the group voted five unanimous yeas to adjourn.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:08 a.m.

*Waiting for confirmation.  Confirmation received today, meeting is January 8, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.

[1] Henry , Campbell Black, Joseph Nolan and Jacqueline Nolan-Haley. “Best Evidence.” Black’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations. Abridged Sixth Edition, Centennial Edition (1891-1991). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1991. 110. Print.

12/30/2017 A Voice From the Gallery

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

    Issue

          Does Mayor Tom Glas and the Alcester City Council have the authority to ignore, disregard or flout city ordinance establishing a restrictive penny sales tax in order to purchase, direct and obligate second penny sales tax income toward  loans and payment of equipment not associated with Capital Improvement?

    History

          In or around 2005 Alcester City Councilmember with the aid of Alcester City Attorney Charles Haugland, authored, directed and provided for specific, restrictive language in a 2005 Ordinance (Exhibit A2)  establishing a second penny sales tax. Please note additional Exhibits A1 and A3 relating to Exhibit A2, during the same time period were included and provided to the South Dakota Department of Revenue (Sales Tax Division)

This ordinance was brought as the result of a community-wide assessment program organized and promoted by Alcester community leaders, Alcester civic groups and Alcester residents using the expertise of advisors from South Dakota State government, SECOG and South Dakota Municipal League.  This assessment established the need for imminent upgrades and future updates of Alcester infrastructure which include streets and underlying utilities, a new community building with upgraded, accessible city offices as well as other long term capital improvements in the city of Alcester to encourage growth of the community.  The concept behind the establishment of a restricted second penny sales tax provided for a long term interest bearing savings-type fund, consistent income for capital improvements eliminating the need for loans and the accompanying interest and fees involved with those loans.

As you can see from Exhibit A1, Alcester Ordinance 1984-3, amended August 21, 2003, was further amended as of August 1, 2005, to fully comply with South Dakota state law as suggested by South Dakota Municipal League (Exhibit A3).  On August 15, 2005, (Exhibit A2)  Ordinance 1984-3 with August 1, 2005, amendment was once again amended adding a restricted second penny sales tax to be specifically,   “…earmarked, set aside, and restricted to the funding of Capital Improvements…”.

Once this amendment was put into place, pre-determined amounts (I believe approximately $20,000.00 per annum upon motion by Alcester City Councilman and unanimously affirmed by the Council prior to 2011) of collected second penny sales tax funds were to be placed into a separate account specifically earmarked for the community building/city offices project.  In 2013-2014 the community building project account contained an aging balance of $30,000.00 derived from the restricted second penny sales tax.  Second penny sales tax moneys collected above and beyond the pre-determined annual contribution to the community building fund project were directed to capital improvements such as the Lincoln Drive repair from First street to Jefferson Drive, Lee Drive construction, and municipal golf course development.

Sometime in 2012-2013, Mayor Peter Larsen with City Attorney Charles Haugland, SECOG representative Toby Brown and council ordinance revision committee initiated a review of city ordinances for the express purpose to update, up-grade and institute new city ordinances to better reflect the direction Alcester city government and Alcester residents wanted to take the city.  This review continued until May of 2013 when Rick Johnson took over as mayor and a new revision committee was formed.

On June 2, 2014, a draft of revised municipal ordinances for the City of Alcester, South Dakota, was produced and prepared by the South Eastern Council of Governments.  Final Revised Municipal Ordinances for the City of Alcester, Ordinance 2014-2 was globally approved with an effective date of August 6, 2014.

Argument

          Since 2013 and more recently, Mayor Tom Glas and the city of Alcester have failed to appropriate and place the pre-determined annual contributions of second penny sales tax moneys for the community building into the special account.  In addition Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Jurrens have failed to follow the restrictions of the second penny sales tax as set out in the 2005-2006 ordinance in that they allowed non- capital improvement expenses to be paid out of the second penny sales tax.

The 2005 ordinance states (Exhibit A2),

“…The second one percent (1%) shall be earmarked, set aside, and restricted to the funding of Capital Improvements within and for the City of Alcester, Union county, South Dakota…”

           Prior to the December 4, 2017, regular Alcester City Council meeting, I spoke one-on-one telephonically with Alcester City Attorney Charles Haugland voicing my concerns the city was violating the 2005 second penny sales tax restriction.  On December 4, 2017, and before the meeting was called to order, I presented the council with copies of the August 15, 2005, ordinance which restricted the use of the second penny sales tax for any purpose other than Capital Improvements with that section highlighted.  In addition I provided a definition of Capital Improvement as follows,

“A capital improvement is defined by contract and varying state and federal laws, but generally is defined as a non-recurring expenditure or any expenditure for physical improvements, including costs for: acquisition of existing buildings, land, or interests in land; construction of new buildings or other structures, including additions and major alterations; construction of streets and highways or utility lines; acquisition of fixed equipment; landscaping; and similar expenditures. It may mean any change, alteration, rearrangement or addition to existing facilities. It is also new construction, acquisition or improvements to sites, buildings, or service systems.”[1]

Capital Improvement can have fixed equipment that is attached to the building/asset becoming realty but, should not be confused with capital equipment which among other definitions is mobile, not fixed to real property and produces a commodity.

When the Alcester City Council Agenda (Exhibit C1) item 6 (a)(ii)(a) and (b)-Equipment bond was called in the December 4, 2017, regular meeting, the council having read the document I provided them prior to the meeting discussed how the second penny sales tax restriction would affect the equipment bond.  Alcester Finance officer Pat Jurrens offered an opinion the equipment was capital improvement using the local accounting office as her legal source  after which Alcester City Attorney Charles Haugland specifically discussed how the revised 2014 municipal ordinances repealed the 2005 restrictive ordinance in 2014 ordinance revision under, Title 10, chapter 10.01 Municipal Sales and Service Tax and Use Tax, item 10.0102-Effective date,

“…From and after the first day of January, 2006, there is hereby imposed as a municipal retail occupational sales and service tax upon the privilege of engaging in business a tax measured by Two Percent (2%) on the gross receipts of all persons engaged in business within the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Alcester, Union County, South Dakota, who are subject to the South Dakota Retail Occupational Sales and Service Tax, SDCL 10-45 and acts amendatory thereto.”[2]

and under Title 11, Chapter 11.01 Penalties and Repealing Clause, item 11.0102-Conflicting Ordinances Repealed,

“...All former ordinances or parts of former ordinances in conflict with the provisions of this ordinance or relating to the subject matter of this ordinance, except as stated in this chapter, are hereby repealed; provided  however, that nothing herein shall be construed as repealing any special ordinances, appropriation ordinances, franchise ordinances establishing fees and charges, levy ordinances for the issuance of bonds, or special ordinances of like character, nor shall this ordinance repeal or modify the provisions of any zoning ordinances or any other ordinances requiring a special method of adoption, nor shall this ordinance repeal or modify the provisions of any resolution heretofore adopted by the City of Alcester unless the provisions of this ordinances either, modify, repeal, or amend such resolutions; and all such ordinances and resolutions shall remain in full force and effect…”[3] (Exhibit B1and B2)  

Upon the conclusion of  Mr. Haugland’s comments, I asked Mayor Glas for time to defend my stance.  Mayor Glas refused to allow me the floor for rebuttal saying, “I could make my remarks during my two minute Public Input time” to which I responded, “Public Input would be after the council vote on the equipment.”  Mayor Glas retorted, “We are talking city business!” and I responded to this comment, “I am taking city business!”  This is not the first time Mayor Glas has refused me agenda item access to discuss city business.  In fact, Mayor Glas moved Public Input from item number four or five to second to the last item before adjournment in response to my opinion and discussion of any agenda items which followed Public Input when it was still on the front end of the agenda. (Exhibit C1, C2 and C3)

In response to my remarks, the council decided to delay any action on using second penny sales tax to fund the equipment of a new pick up and a dump truck.   With all due respect to Alcester City Attorney Haugland, I respectfully disagree with his stance the Revised Municipal Ordinances, City of Alcester, South Dakota, Ordinance 2014-2, Effective date August 6, 2014, in Chapter 10.01, section 10.0102 repeals Section 2-Effective Date and Enactment of Tax, Ordinance 2005 dated August 15, 2005.

In the 2014-2 Revised Ordinances, section 10.0102 confirms and continues the two percent (2%) city sales tax on municipal retail occupational sales and service upon the privilege of engaging in business within the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Alcester and is silent and mute on any intended, specific repeal of previous restrictions placed upon the second penny sales tax.

Nor does the 2014-2 Revised Ordinances, section 11.0102 Conflicting Ordinances Repealed apply since 2014-2 is in agreement with the August 15, 2005, ordinance establishing a second penny sales tax.  In addition the 2014-2 Revised Ordinance further states,

“…that nothing herein shall be construed as repealing any special ordinances, appropriation ordinances…or special ordinances of like character…and all such ordinances and resolutions shall remain in full force and effect…”[4]

Section 2 of the August 15, 2005, (Exhibit A2) ordinance provides for a special restricted funding of Capital Improvements from the second penny sales tax which has the same effect as an appropriation ordinance for a specific purpose and can only be dispersed for Capital Improvements.  In addition and in line with statute, the motion made by the Alcester Councilman to set-aside approximately $20,000.00 per annum from the second penny sales tax to fund the construction of a community building was unanimously ratified by the Alcester City Council and remains in full force and effect as provided by the clause, “…special ordinances, appropriation ordinances…or special ordinances of like character…”

As a direct result of the Mayor and Finance Officer Jurren’s failure to follow Alcester City Ordinance as it relates to the second penny sales tax restrictive ordinance, the city has failed to maintain ordinance generated Capital Improvement funding causing a catastrophic shortfall in street maintenance.  As a direct, punitive result of this failure on the part of the city to follow ordinance, the city council has passed Resolution 2017-09 (Exhibit D) which allows the city to extort an annual maintenance fee for the repairs and maintenance of street surfaces of lots fronting and abutting a public street.

Conclusion

          Over the past months Alcester Mayor Tom Glas along with the 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.

Based upon my research and reading of Alcester municipal ordinance, equipment purchases such as pick-up trucks, dump trucks, street sweepers and skid loaders cannot be funded in part or entirety from the restricted Alcester municipal second penny sales tax moneys.

It is my opinion Mayor Glas and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens have over-reached and violated Alcester’s Sales Tax ordinance, specifically but not limited to the Capital Improvement restriction placed upon the second penny sales tax.

I request the Office of Legislative Audit investigate this matter and based upon facts I have presented in this complaint, find the city has indeed violated its own sales tax ordinance.  I respectfully request the Office of Legislative Audit direct Mayor Glas and the City of Alcester cease all non-Capital Improvement purchases using the Alcester Municipal second penny restricted sales tax moneys as payment and void all past and present equipment payment obligations from the Alcester restricted second penny sales tax.

_____________________________

Vickie A. Larsen

[1] USLegal.com, definitions, USLegal.com/c/capital-improvement, 1997-2016

[2] Revised Municipal Ordinances City of Alcester, South Dakota, Ordinance No. 2014-2, August 6, 2014, Page 77, prepared by the South Eastern Council of Governments.

[3] Ibid., 79

[4] Ibid., 79

 

NOTE:  Exhibits have not been included

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