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The JordanUnderGround  

JUG is intended to provide information and opinion about local political and commercial issues.  JUG will also try to provide a place for people to express their opinions.  JUG is not a Blog.  No anonymous comments will be posted here.  If you wish to comment, please feel free to use the e-mail link below. 

04/23/14 

No Spin Zone 

Last week’s Jordan Independent carried a front page story about the resignation of Jordan’s City Administrator.  It seems to me, the article was distinctly one-sided.  In my opinion, some balance is due.  What I’m posting here is public knowledge.  What I’m posting is strictly my opinion, based on my experience. 

Now, ask yourself:

On whose watch did the three worst billing errors in City history occur?  Those errors totaled more than $110,000.00 in under-billed water usage.

On whose watch did the City send past due notices to over a thousand residences – many of which were participating in an automated payment program?  That incident led to hundreds of angry phone calls.

What happened to the proposed Fairview Ridges clinic?

Who is on the Board of Directors of St. Francis Medical Center?

Who tried to hire a Planner at a salary almost $7,000.00 higher than authorized by the Council?

Who twice tried to exclude a City Council Member from staff meetings?

Who worked tirelessly to eliminate the Parks and Recreation Commission?

Who failed for years to get the bathrooms at Lagoon Park repaired and deodorized – then got angry at the PRC when it forced the issue?

Who couldn’t find a copy of the City Attorney’s contract?  The result being, it came to light that the City Attorney didn’t have a copy of the contract either – meaning the City Attorney worked for Jordan for years with no contract

Whose contract states “Thereafter, performance evaluations will be conducted annually.  Salary adjustments are subject to satisfactory performance evaluations and will be given at the same time as for other management employees and in an amount equal to or greater than that given to other employees, subject to the City’s approval.”

The operative words in that question are “annually”, “subject to satisfactory performance evaluations”, and “subject to the City’s approval”

There are two sides to every story.  A good newspaper should report both.   What you see here on JUG this week, is what the JI didn’t report in its’ article last week, regarding the resignation of our City Administrator.

On a tangent, Mayor Shaw posted the following on a JI blog:
“(decided to skip the evaluation altogether) NO! --- Shaw suggested waiting 6 months -- due to the fact we had 2 new council members at the table. -- Mike Shaw, Mayor.
City of Jordan.”

Oh-kay.  So, if the suggestion was to wait six months, why, after 14 months was the performance review still not done?  And who gave the Mayor and/or the City Administrator the authority to override the City Administrator’s contract?

Don’t Blame Me!
 As the Council went through its’ various deliberations and votes, I had one recurring thought.  That was, suddenly I’m part of a majority.

I didn’t have to do or say much of anything.  I could just sit in my chair and watch the bombs bursting in air.  Fweeeeeeeee-boom! There goes one from the guy to my left.  Fweeeeeee-boom!  Here comes one from the Councilor a little ways down.  Sissssssss-bang!  One from over there.  Sputttter-pop. A misfire.  Fweeeeeeeeee-BOOMPH!  A big load from the guy who says we have a contract, and we should stick to it.

Seriously, about the only thing I felt compelled to comment on was the size of the severance package.  I’m actually not sure who suggested we go back to the original terms of the contract.  I do know Councilor Thill said the thing about having a contract, and sticking to it.  When he said that, I was sure there would be at least four votes to return from the 6-month proposal to the original terms of the City Administrator’s contract.

Councilor Goebel asked me if the two-month motion was removed, would I be willing to go to some other offer, such as five months?  I told him I’d have to think about it, but it didn’t look to me like the two-month motion was coming off the table.  So we voted – five to two – to authorize a severance package consisting of two months salary, plus an assortment of other benefits such as PERA payments and vacation pay.

Now, I’m going to repeat something for those of you who haven’t picked up on this yet.

Four Council Members voted to accept the City Administrator’s resignation.
Five
Council Members voted to offer the severance package specified in the City Administrator’s contract, and nothing more.

Four is more than two.  Five is more than two.  Are we clear?

For Real?
One Councilor told me about receiving emailed and phoned accusations of “playing favorites.”  Rumor has it another Councilor was told, “The Council doesn’t run this City.  We do.”  At least one of these ham-fisted attempts at intimidation backfired. 

And incidentally, I received zero emailed or phoned comments during the run-up to the special meeting.

This Just In!
Those of you who took the time to look at the information packet for this week’s Council meeting would have seen the original City Administrator’s separation package in Agenda Item 12.0 A was for $81,624.27. 

You may safely imagine that when the Council ultimately approved a separation package of roughly $40.000.00, the City Administrator and his attorney were angry.

The upshot is, the City Administrator withdrew his resignation.  He is apparently now a City employee, on administrative leave.  Presumably, he is also considering suing the City.  Relax, we have the League of Minnesota Cities on speed dial.

C’est la vie.

The Quote:
No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it.”

          Theodore Roosevelt

The next City Council Meeting is Monday, May 5th, 6:30 PM, at Jordan City Hall. 

Videos are now on the Video page.

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I welcome public comment on this topic. Anyone willing to give his or her name, and willing to limit his or her response to about 150 words is welcome to respond here.
Thom.Boncher@JordanUnderGround.com   No anonymous responses will be posted.  No obscene language will be permitted.  Threats, personal attacks, and spam will not be posted.  My house, my rules.  But if you have something to say, and if you are willing to put your name on it, I won’t refuse to let you be heard. 

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