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 Why are the City of Ortonville minutes and agendas for meeti

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mouthpiece
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PostSubject: Why are the City of Ortonville minutes and agendas for meetings missing?   Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:41 pm

Going to websites and obtaining information should be easy. In one meeting already this year the City Administrator was criticized for not getting informational packets to the councilmen. With support from the Mayor the Mayor awarded this insubordination with a pay raise.

Now, a few months later there are no meeting information minutes posted on the website and no agenda.

Mayor we need to be looking for competent administrators.

Ortonville is again fighting with its neighbor to the west who have children going to the Ortonville school and whose community is a great supporter or Ortonville. Isn't it time to get along?

The new law enforcement center is also being questioned by the city. This would be a great economic development and perhaps this mayor needs to spend more time getting along with other governments instead of constantly fighting.

Let's move in a positive direction with Big Stone City and Big Stone County. Let's be positive instead of always so negative.


Last edited by mouthpiece on Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Re: Why are the City of Ortonville minutes and agendas for meeti   Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:01 pm

Wow. Shocked
I guess someone was listening.
The minutes of the Ortonville City Council Meetings
are up on their website now. Thanks to who ever got the job done.
It is always best to keep things like that up to date. Otherwise people
get to thinking that there is something wrong. judge

Looking it over though I happened to see something else.
I noticed that there are no minutes posted for September and October of 2007. Detective

The Ortonville City website shows minutes for August and then picks up on
November 29th.

What happened to the Minutes for September 4th, 11th, & 17th.
October is missing the 1st and the 15th. Wasn't there also a meeting on
November19th? whistle

It seems to me that there was some discussion going on about that time
regarding merging Ortonville's Police with the Big Stone County Sheriffs
office. Someone should pull those meetings and get them up.

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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Vicki Oakes
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PostSubject: Re: Why are the City of Ortonville minutes and agendas for meeti   Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:03 pm

I received the group of minutes referred to on this blog on 8/25/08 and thought that I had put them on the web. When I read the post on your blog, I realized that I had not. We do have a link on the web site (the same page the minutes are posted on even) that could have been used as a first resort to ask about the minutes and I would have been happy to apologize and also thank the person for bringing it to my attention (those who know me - know I would have been very grateful for the help!)

I do hope you check out the Ortonville site at www.ortonville.net for the new info items that we are offering to keep the citizens of Ortonville involved in the current projects... the 2008 Comprehensive Plan information has been posted (along with video to show some of the work that went into the update and a link to a blog to continue the Comprehensive Plan as a living document) - information on recent Heritiage Preservation items have been added - we have started a Community Development section to include information for departments and also the Arts and Writer's Groups - we have also started a blog for the daycare project that the EDA is working on to include those interested in the process. We will continue to expand our communication to encourage active participation.
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PostSubject: Thanks Vicki!   Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:10 pm

Thanks Vicki! We appreciate your updates and for letting this forum know they are now posted! We'll check them out!

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PostSubject: Why did we need a Comprehensive Plan?   Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:36 pm

Why did we need a Comprehensive Plan?

The city spent valuable dollars on developing a Comprehensive Plan.

Why did they not follow this plan? The council voted to purchase additional housing on Lundell when the plan said housing needs will decrease 12%.

Why is the city constantly in conflict with Big Stone City? In fact, when Big Stone City offered to assist in the building of an indoor ice arena Ortonville would not allow it and 2 years the city has bragging rights to painting the warming house.

What is the city saying as to the new law enforcement center? Or is the city going to fight the county here as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Why are the City of Ortonville minutes and agendas for meeti   Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:12 am

We were behind on the minutes because we are asking the city administrator to do the EDA director job as well as the administrator job. We have since hired additional office help and are now caught up on minutes. Those minutes are on our website which I feel is an excellent resource with all the minutes, ordinances, committee members, etc. Hats off to Vicki Oakes for the great job she does keeping this website up to date. The amount of employees in the city office is now back to what is was in the past. When Char Grossman took over as city administrator the city cut one full time position which has now been replaced with two half time positions.

The comprehensive plan is important so we can plan for the future. The comprehensive plan stated that additional senior living will be needed which is why we are looking at using the Lundell property for possible expansion of senior housing like Fairway View. Fairway View has a long waiting list for people wanting to get into the independent living side. This demonstrates the need for additional housing.

The city has been working with other cities and the county. We have a group that was started last year to have all the cities in the county and the county get together to work on issues that we can work on together. We also met with the county commissioners and are working towards getting a joint law enforcement center. We do work together with Big Stone City. We have had a few problems but we still share equipment and a water treatment plant.
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PostSubject: Mayor Johnson sounds like George Bush?   Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:32 am

Hats off to retired Char Grossman! applause The mayor and others have now admitted that it is taking a full time City Adminstrator had a substantially higher pay and two part time employees to do what Char did for years. Thank you for your years of valuable service.

Mayor Johnson sounds like George Bush? The housing market and the ability to get low interests loans was the cornerstone of economic growth of the Bush Adminstration and it broke this country. This comes from Republicans. Where in the Comprehensive Plan does it say that there is a shortage of housing for the elderly. I have now read the Comprehensive Plan five times and do not see this in the Plan! There is political goobly dee goop that hints at this, but the Plan says that there will continue to be population declines and housing appears to be adequate. Again the language of the Plan is full of political double talk.

Why are we building houses instead of creating jobs?
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PostSubject: Still a problem   Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:41 am

It has been three months since the last post and there are still issues with the Ortonville City Council Minutes on the internet.

In the past when Char Grossman was in charge you could use an index to find the issues you wanted to look up. Now you have to go into each meeting and sort through to find anything. There appears to be a counter at the bottom of the 2008 minutes list. It looks like a typed number but it changes every time you come back to that page. It went from 21 to 30 while I was looking around trying to locate the information. I don't know what they are trying to keep track of.

Then there are the past meetings. When Char was in charge there were all the past minutes on the top of the page. Now it only reads 2007, 2008. If you go into 2007 and scroll to the bottom of the page then you see the past minutes. If you click on 2006 then all the past years minutes show up on the top of the page. Why do you have to go through so much rig-a-ma-roll to find the past minutes?

Then there are the minutes themselves that are confusing. For instance on the 11-17-08 minutes at the very bottom of the page there is this entry:

David Meyer reported to the Council that he no longer has legal counsel and wants to meet with the City Council in a closed session. Clerk-Administrator Lang will contact City Attorney Craig Ash to follow up on these concerns and to determine what research and investigation needs to occur prior to a session. The City Attorney will be in contact with David Meyer regarding these concerns.
See minutes here.

What is that about? There is no agenda assigned number. Is Mr. Meyer asking the city to provide him an attorney? It is very confusing.

Then when you go to the minutes of 11-3-08 you find this entry about Mr. Meyer under CITIZENS TO BE HEARD:

OAHS employee David Meyer appeared before the City Council. He stated an investigation as to whether or not there was a HIPPA violation was supposed to occur in 2006. He requested a closed session with the City Council. It was suggested the OAHS Healthcare Board be present. There is a letter from September of 2006 from David Meyer’s attorney. David Meyer declined to appear with his attorney at a scheduled July 16, 2007 closed meeting of the City Council. It was noted OAHS needs to complete an internal investigation before this matter is considered by the City Council. David stated he believes there is also an issue with back pay. This matter was referred to City Attorney Craig Ash for follow-up.

See 11-3 minutes here.

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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PostSubject: The City Administrator needs to take lessons on organization and manners   Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:49 pm

The City Administrator needs to take lessons on organization and manners

I recently attended the meeting of the city and quickly realized where the hockey committee took lesson on running a public meeting. The city administrator.SmileyCentral.com

We also requested to be placed on the list of people to be notified of public meetings to not only Ortonville but other surrounding cities. Almost everyone has already responded in a polite and cooperative way. Big Stone County, Wheaton and other. Ortonville has not responded. Is that a surprise.

The minutes are horrible. The manners are atrocious and the the city has not responded to notice requirement.

Once again this city needs some lessons in etiquette. Perhaps Char Grossman could assist.

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PostSubject: This is funny.   Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:40 pm

Now the counter is gone. This is funny. rofl

One minute you have a counter and after I mention it on The Forums then it disappears. I am using a different computer. Maybe they don't show up on this computer. Anyone else want to take a look and see if they show up on their computer? Click here.

I keep thinking of that song "Hokey Pokey," you know.....

You put your counter in.
You take your counter out.
You put your counter in and shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey as you turn it all around.
That's what it's all about. fun

I hope I didnt' sing that to flat.

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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PostSubject: counter   Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:29 am

I did not see a counter on that page either.

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PostSubject: The Agendas   Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:16 pm

Thanks Vicki for putting the City Council agenda on the city website. Albeit a week after the meeting was held but that is a start. Next time I am sure you will get them up before the meeting. How long before we get to see the minutes of that meeting? I appreciate your patronage on The Forums. Take the time to log on and say hello. We love to chat. Very Happy

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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PostSubject: We need to hold the City Clerk responsible   Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:03 pm

We need to hold the City Clerk responsible

MN Stat. 13D.01 and MN Stat.13.03 clearly provides the minimum transparency government should have in its meetings. I have reviewed your threads Lady Hawk and I think you really need to get to the real point, which I believe that good government is transparent and allows the people to see how the decision is being made.

The opposite of transparent government is clandestine government. Why the secrecy? The secrecy of the Library step. The secrecy of keeping the agenda private so nobody can attend meetings when the decision is being made. It is bad government. Who should we hold accountable? The person that is receiving the pay check to insure government is transparent.

The City Clerk has once again failed. As a result, we have bad government. He has sloughed his responsibilities unto others but continues to be one of the highest bad employees in Ortonville.

Rumor has it that he is recommending another cut to services and police protection. When I attended a recent meeting regarding the budget it was pointed out that maybe the $35,000 given to the golf course should be returned.

The city clerk could not even tell us at the meeting if the money had been spent.

This forum for months has criticized the decisions being made in smoke filled rooms, the mayor smoking a cigar with the city clerk overseeing the kitty and other co-horts gambling with the future of this community.

Come on mayor and city clerk, if your positions are defensible let's here it. Is it true you are considering further cut backs in essential services? Know we may know the reason for no agenda's posted before the meetings and when they are posted they are so obtuse that you would have to be a lawyer to understand what is being discussed.
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PostSubject: Minutes are gone.   Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:02 pm

The city has again made changes on it's website.
Now there is no access to the city council minutes. Ortonville City Website

I tried to access the minutes to see if they were still out there and went to one the posts on this forum to see if you could link to them and it didnt' work.

Click a link on this site. When you click one of the links you get a "page not found" message.

If the city is going to rearrange the website it would be nice if they could make that announcement on the home page. As it is now we don't know if they are just rearranging things or if they are no longer making the city council minutes available for free to the public.

It is also note worthy to say that there are posts on this website that link to the city council minutes to verify the truth. Now the city has severed the links from this website. Coincidence?

A letter was given to the city earlier this week from the Big Stone Lake Area Community Forums asking that this site be placed on the cities home page with the other news media. The page said, "Ortonville info links" and listed the local radio ( I noticed it didn't give the name KDIO, they just called it "local radio") and it listed the Ortonville Independent.

You notice now it states:

KDIO website City Gov't Announcements
KDIO is the officially appointed Radio Station and provides on-air announcements along with postings on their website.
Mayor Blair Johnson also provides City Council updates on the KDIO Morning Show (8:30 AM) each Thursday following a meeting.


Ortonville Independent
is the officially appointed Newspaper. All Legal/Public Notices are printed in the weekly newspaper
.

I wonder how we would go about becoming "the officially appointed internet news website?" Would it involve money or connections?

It is highly unprofessional for the city to pull the city council meeting minutes so it severs the links on this public website and then change the local news to "officially appointed" in what some people could consider a veiled attempt to deny us the same public credit that the city gives to the Ortonville Independent.


Does it kind of give you a feeling that they don't want us here?

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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PostSubject: Re: Why are the City of Ortonville minutes and agendas for meeti   Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:13 pm

I'm not going to try and knock this site, because I think the idea is great, and it serves its purpose, but I don't think that a forum like this could be an official anything for the city.

With the old media, it was easy or relatively so, to confirm the identity of the person communicating his or her idea. With the innovation of the internet, it has become increasingly easy to assume someone's identity. I could easily claim to be someone else, and it would be rather difficult to prove otherwise.

Another point is that it is relatively easy for someone with some skill to hack into a forum like this and edit everything that is available. It would be rather difficult for someone to break in and edit any newspaper or radio. Once the integrity of a website is broken, it would take a lot for it to return.

A final point is that while like I said earlier this website serves its purpose, it is way too informal to be considered to be an official representative of Ortonville.
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PostSubject: This is not a responsive thread.   Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:30 pm

The issue was problems with the agenda and not with this site. I was a little disappointed with your response. You seem a little old fashion. You were wrong about the purpose of the newspaper as an official publication. This was done by the legislature long before the advent of the internet to inform the public of corruption in government. To be an active check and balance against bad government.

Today numerous newspapers have filed bankruptcy and many rely so heavily on government publications that they are afraid to criticize government. While this site was writing about the deficit in the judiciary and a potential loss of the courthouse, the newspaper covered little or nothing of controversy.

Acorn and the newly elected president campaigned and advertised on sites like this. It has been said by many experts that sites like this are the future of our known press.

Please respond to the threads appropriately.
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PostSubject: Re: Why are the City of Ortonville minutes and agendas for meeti   Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:38 pm

I understand the purpose of the newspaper as an official publication. I understand the system of checks and balances. I was just replying to a question I have seen a couple of different times on this site as to why this is not an official publication.

I was just saying that a discussion forum is not a feasible option. A blog, or other e-news sources would work better. The agenda could be posted on a place like that and discussed on a place like this.

I know full well about the power of the internet, considering it is a large part of my major.

I apologize for just responding inappropriately.
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PostSubject: You have raised some very interesting points.   Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:50 am

You have raised some very interesting points.

These are things that were discussed very candidly in the developing stages of this site. In fact this site received awards at least in some part because of the differences you allude to. See

This site has been more accurate than most newspapers. See sites on "Is the Mayor wasting taxpayer money?

I would point out that the Minneapolis Tribune is not the official site of St. Paul, yet it reports the news accurately. The St. Cloud Daily Times is not the official newspaper of Alexandria. Yet with accuracy prints news stories all of the time about other small communitites.

In terms of sources, most sources are unanimous and yet are accurate, Deepthroat changed the course of American history when he disclosed dishonesty in government that was created by a secret society.

Historically our American founding forefathers understood the importance of a free press because in England the press was owned and controlled by government. If one is paid to be an official site do they inherently have a conflict of interest in printing controversial news?

Here are some facts. This site now hosts over 200 hits per day and has a circulation greater than the Independent. More people are relying on this site to sort things out, rather than reading a newspaper.
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PostSubject: Re: Why are the City of Ortonville minutes and agendas for meeti   Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:17 am

mouthpiece wrote:


I would point out that the Minneapolis Tribune is not the official site of St. Paul, yet it reports the news accurately. The St. Cloud Daily Times is not the official newspaper of Alexandria. Yet with accuracy prints news stories all of the time about other small communitites.

Those are valid points, the point I've been trying to make is not that this site could not accurately print stories about the area. I know it could/has. I am just saying that maybe to compliment this forum, that there could be a separate site where just the agendas/minutes/official documents could be posted. That way it would seem to the public that there is no bias. It would not have to be a paid site, but one that has everything organized in one spot.

I don't doubt this site gets 200 hits per day, but is it 200 unique hits or 200 hits from the same few people. I don't think its fair to say that I would use this site exclusively to sort things out. I like having more than one source of information.
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PostSubject: Re: Why are the City of Ortonville minutes and agendas for meeti   Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:34 pm

gratis04, is there anything that doesn't have bias?

Even the minutes of meetings are written by people who may or may not have a bias. One has to always search for the truth. Even this site should not be the be all and end all of news for the area. I am happy you include this site as a place you search for information and understand that you use your mind to determine what you are seeking for by looking in other places also. Good for you.

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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PostSubject: The new agenda includes the providing of information to the public   Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:57 pm

I think I have discovered the real reason that this should be the official site. This is the only site that provides prior notice of the meetings and agenda which informs the public before the meeting of important decisions being made at the upcoming meeting.

For instance, a few weeks ago, the city council passed a resolution naming the radio station as the official radio station of the city, except they did not do this by resolution but by claiming this as a policy to avoid the formality of a resolution. Has the city clerk usurped the powers of the council?

The Preamble for the city states: “We the people of the City of Ortonville, Minnesota, under the constitution and laws of the state of Minnesota, in order to secure the benefits of local self-government and to provide for an honest and accountable council/city clerk-administrator government do hereby adopt this charter and confer upon the city the following powers, subject to the following restrictions, and prescribed by the following procedures and governmental structure. By this action, we secure the benefits of home rule and affirm the values of representative democracy, professional management, strong political leadership, citizen participation, and regional cooperation.”

The city clerk and his assistants do not want good government. They want government for them and those who do not agree with this group of small bowl, big fish are attacked by a warrior and the Click Club.

The Charter goes on to say: Section 2.10. Procedure. To the extent provided by law, all meetings of the council and its boards and committees shall be public and any citizen shall have access to the minutes and records of the council and its boards and committees at all reasonable times.

Section 2.11. Ordinances, resolutions, and motions.
Except as otherwise provided in this charter, all legislation shall be by ordinance. The votes of council members on any action taken shall be recorded in accordance with statute. Except as otherwise provided by law or this charter, an affirmative vote of a majority of all the members of the council shall be required for the adoption of all ordinances and resolutions.

Section 12.01Official Publication. The council shall annually at its first meeting of the year designate a legal newspaper of general circulation in the city as its official newspaper in which shall be published ordinances and other matters required by law to be so published as well as such other matters as the council may deem it in the public interest to have published in this manner.

The city clerk and his associate decided that there was a need for an official radio station but there was no ordinance published and it was voted upon in the same meeting as it was read. The result is that there is no statute or ordinance on the books. End result is the city clerk disclosed at the meeting that this was appropriate. It was procedurally flawed.

It is becoming apparent that the city clerk is less than transparent and as a result he is promoting bad government, but he is in control.

In a short period of time he has been questioned about his honesty in making a claim on mileage, he was deceptive in disclosing the real purpose of the cities web policies and now he may be usurping the power of the council.

The agenda also does not disclose the reason the city went into executive sessions. MN Stat. 13D.01 clearly provides:

Subd. 3. Subject of and grounds for closed meeting. Before closing a meeting, a public body shall state on the record the specific grounds permitting the meeting to be closed and describe the subject to be discussed.

Subd. 4. Votes to be kept in journal.
(a) The votes of the members of the state agency, board,
commission, or department; or of the governing body, committee, subcommittee, board, department, or commission on an action taken in a meeting required by this section to be open to the public must be recorded in a journal kept for that purpose.

This city clerk is violating the very principles he is supposed to uphold: to provide for an honest and accountable council/city clerk-administrator government. Preamble to the city.
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