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 Does Mayor Blair Johnson CPA have a conflict of interest?

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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Does Mayor Blair Johnson CPA have a conflict of interest?   Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:28 am

At the recent Ortonville City Council meeting on Monday 6/1/09 See here. Mayor Blair Johnson stated that Mary Gustafson was not qulaified because she was a city employee and therefore could not be on the council. no no no Mary replied that Mayor Blair also worked for the city because he did the books. Mayor Johnson stated that he did not do the city books but admitted that he did the books for Fairway View and that didn't matter.

Oh, really? It doesn't matter? According to whom? Detective

poker Who made the legal decision that there is no conflict of interest? City Attorney Craig Ash? Isn't that the same city attorney that said Jim Larson's accountant had no conflict of interest when Jim Larson was asking the city of Ortonville for a $5 million dollar bond? Jim Larsen $5 Mil

juggle I have been trying to access information from the city of Ortonville for some months now and what I am starting to find is long delays, difficult access, public information being labeled as "private data" and now conflicts of interest being labeled as not conflicts of interest.

I find it peculiar that Mary Gustafson was denied an opportunity to serve on the council because she receives money from the City and yet the Mayor can sit there and say that the money he recieves from the city is not a conflict.




See Blair Johnson Fairway

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
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Last edited by Lady Hawk on Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Is the mayor attempting to fool us?   Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:49 pm

My father practiced law for over 40 years and was a city attorney for all 40 years representing at least 15 different cities in his career. He told me when I started the practice of law understand your own limitations.

I have watched and listened to this mayor on more than one occassion attempt to claim that he is a lawyer and can define a conflict of interest. Whether one has a conflict of interest is determined is a legal issue. It is not an accounting issue. Yet this mayor quickly dispels any claim of conflict of interest.

Recently he claimed that Mary Gustafson could not sit on the council because she had a conflict of interest and then claimed he did not have a conflict when he was the accountant for Fairway View.

Mayor let's say there was a property owner on the council and that property owner increased the value of his property by a specific road project. Curb, gutter and sewer improvements but the rest of the adjoining land owners received no benefit. How can you not call this a conflict of interest?

I sincerely question whether your expertise allows you to define a conflict of interest. This appears to be a legal question not an accounting issue.
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Conflict of interest again?   Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:25 pm

At the city council meeting on Monday night 6/15/09 Mayor Blair asked for a motion to approve requesting bids on the McCloud curb and gutter project. Mind you this is the project that some 50 citizens came to and voiced their disapproval. The same project that failed the first vote and failed the second vote. Then here we are a few weeks later and again it is brought up at the city council meeting without having it posted in the city office. See Curb and Gutter.

Mayor Blair Johnson asked for a motion and councilman Steve Berkner made the motion. A citizen from the viewing public spoke up and said that Councilman Berkner has a conflict of interest. The mayor was quick to jump in and state that there was no conflict of interest. The city attorney was right on his heels validating the mayors point. How is it possible that Mayor Blair Johnson can state that councilman Berkner does not have a conflict of interest when putting in curb and gutter will raise the value of Councilman Berkners home is laughable. rofl

Considering Mayor Blair Johnsons own questionable conflicts of interest and City Attorney Craig Ash's questionable conflicts is it any wonder that they would defend Councilman Berkner when he is question about a conflict of interest. See here.
It was quite a show. stooges

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
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- Thomas Jefferson
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minngirl
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PostSubject: Re: Does Mayor Blair Johnson CPA have a conflict of interest?   Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:20 pm

How can they ask for bids if the project was voted down 2x? I don't know alot about city government but something doesn't smell right???
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PostSubject: Johnson/Berkner Conflict of Interest?   Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:19 pm

At the Ortonville City Council Meeting yesterday, Monday, July 7, 2009, City Attorney Craig Ash brought up that Mayor Blair Johnson and Councilman Stever Berkner have a potential conflict of interest. Rolling Eyes

Both men have applied for commercial loans through the EDA. The DSI has alerted city attorney Ash of this potential conflict of interest and outlined what can be done about it. Basically Johnson and Berkner have to make a public disclosure that they have applied for the grant and remove themselves from the decision-making process concerning the grant. Conflict p.1 , Conflict p.2 and the city attorney has to write an opinon stating that it does not violate state or local laws. I am sure City City Attorney Ash will have no problem writing that. If he needs any help I am sure Mr. Lang, Mayor Johnson, and Nick Anderson will be able to help him with it. They seem to have no problem with opinions on legal matters. judge

Interesting that it took an outside agency to inform the city attorney of the conflict. At the city council meeting on June 15, 2009 when Steve Berkner made a motion to vote for the bidding on the McCloud St Curb and gutter someone from the audience said that Steve Berkner couldn't do that because of a conflict of interest. Mayor Blair Johnson said there was no conflict, David Lang said there was no conflict, and the sentiments were also echoed by Nick Anderson and Steve Berkner. None of these men are trained in the law to my knowledge. Finally City Attorney Craig Ash spoke and rubber stamped their opinions and said there was no conflict. stooges

Now in the minutes of the Ortonville City Council Meeting from June 15, 2009 (which the city council approved last night) on page 3 and 4 Mr. David Lang has entered the motion by Steve Berkner and makes NO REFERENCE to the public outcry made at that meeting over Steve's conflict of interest. Mr. Steve Berkner has made no public declaration in the minutes about his conflict of interest in the McCloud Stree project nor did he excuse himself from voting in the issue. Indeed he was the one to make the MOTION. Minutes 6/15/09 p.3 , Minutes 6/15/09 p.4 Item c. on the bottom of page three and the top of page four. whistle

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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: Should the voters accept conflicts of interest   Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:41 am

Should the voters accept conflicts of interest

As I read this thread, I think of how do we improve the quality of our government. It is oftentimes hard to find people to run for city council. Ortonville was fortunate a month ago to have four candidates.

Milbank seems able to find good candidates and yet Big Stone City struggles to find candidates.

We need to approach this conflict of interest concern with a close watch. Good government depends on people in office to vacate how a decision effects them. We need to look at what is best for the community. Good leadership in public office discerns and differentiates the selfish attitude of "what is good for me, is good for the community and this is what is in the best interest of the city.

The inability to see this difference cripples government and creates distrust in government. I personally believe that we need to look to the future and the future for our children. The inabilty to look beyond the concept, 'HOW DOES THIS EFFECT ME? SYNDROME, is the end of good government.

Given the past history of the individuals it seems to me that the mayor needs to make changes and understand his role. The inability to take the high road is just like the mayor's inability to stop shoving projects down the throats of the constituents.

I think if we took a different path people would respect the process and all of government would be better.
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PostSubject: Watch your leaders. The people have power.   Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:16 am

minngirl wrote:
How can they ask for bids if the project was voted down 2x? I don't know alot about city government but something doesn't smell right???

minngirl you have made a valid point. Here is the answer as far as I can see it. When honorable people are in position of government you needn't worry about what is being done. When people who have an agenda are in power and are not being watched you have a potential problem.

Keep in mind that what really keeps people honest is when they are being "watched." Prior to this website the local government was not being watched. The radio and newspaper were turning a blind eye to what happens in the city council meetings. headset The radio would let the mayor come on the radio for free after every city council meeting and give his "spin" of what happened at the meeting. The newspaper let the mayor have his own column to write what he wanted to. paper There were no checks and balances and no accountability.

Never trust that laws will keep people from doing the wrong thing. It is the fear of the law that keeps people in check. Many laws that people think are there to protect the public from abusive leaders you will find are toothless and without substance. They are window dressing to keep the people from seeing what is going on inside.

In order to function the government has a great deal of power. i.e. the people in government have a great deal of power. They can use it or they can abuse it depending on their character. The greatest protection anyone has to abusive government is the "people." An informed people can respond.

Never stop watching your leaders navy2

I noticed at last weeks Planning and Zoning meeting ( See Here. ) that some of the members were reluctant to vote while the people were there watching. They said they would vote later. The people remained. The people asked why don't you vote now? Then two of the members decided they wanted more input from the city attorney and so they delayed the vote for another month. The people do have power.

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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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LittleDeb
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PostSubject: Stimulus Recovery Grant?   Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:15 am

Maybe the reason they still are asking for bids is because of this:
*CNT:27011&mloc=MN$011]http://www.recovery.org/For_Businesses.aspx?gloc=BIG%20STONE%20[MN]*CNT:27011&mloc=MN$011

under the heading:
[url=http://www.recovery.org/stimulusprojectdetails.aspx?pid=BID:10633598&gloc=BIG STONE [MN]*CNT:27011]Construction of 2009 Underground Utility and Street Improvements[/url]
Project Type: Bid
Project Owner: City of Ortonville
Location: Minnesota, United States, BIG STONE (MN), ORTONVILLE (MN), 56278
Category: Construction - Water Supply, Sewer, Well Drilling, Treatment, Distribution and Disposal, Construction - Roadways, Demolition, Salvage, and Excavation
Market Sector: State/Municipal
Publication Date: 06/24/2009
Contact Information: David Lang
Clerk-Administrator
Phone: 1-320-839-3428
Fax:
Address: 315 Madison Avenue, Ortonville
Description: FEDERAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY SPENDING Sealed bids will be received by the City of Ortonville, Minnesota at the City Council Chambers, 315 Madison Avenue, Ortonville, Minnesota until 1:00 p.m., Thursday, July 16, 2009, at which time they will be publicly opened and read aloud for furnishing all labor, materials, and all else necessary for the construction of 2009 Underground Utility and Street Improvements - McCloud Street and Forcemain Replacement West of Lake Shore Drive, Ortonville, Minnesota. ... FEDERAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY SPENDING Sealed bids will be received by the City of Ortonville, Minnesota at the City Council Chambers, 315 Madison Avenue, Ortonville, Minnesota until 1:00 p.m., Thursday, July 16, 2009, at which time they will be publicly opened and read aloud for furnishing all labor, materials, and all else necessary for the construction of 2009 Underground Utility and Street Improvements - McCloud Street and Forcemain Replacement West of Lake Shore Drive, Ortonville, Minnesota. Bids shall be upon basis of each payment for the following major estimated quantities: Remove Bituminous Pavement3,400 SY Common Excavation2,900 CY Aggregate Base, Class 51,100 CY Bituminous Wear Course400 Tons Bituminous Non-Wear Course400 Tons 6? PVC Watermain1,053 LF 8? PVC Sanitary Sewer719 LF 6? PVC Forcemain2,300 LF Manholes/Catch Basins16 Each Hydrants2 Each 6? Gate Valve and Box5 Each 12? - 27? Storm Sewer1,007 LF Curb and Gutter2,150 LF The proposed work specified in the contract documents must be substantially complete by October 9, 2009 and entirely completed by July 1, 2010. The Contract Documents are on file and may be examined at the following locations: Office of the City Administrator, Ortonville, Minnesota Ulteig Engineers, Inc., Detroit Lakes, Minnesota All bids shall be made on the bid packet included in the project manual. A complete digital copy of the drawings and project manual, pursuant to which labor, materials, or services must be furnished, is available at www.ulteig.com. You may download the digital plan documents for $20.00 by inputting the Quest Project No. 933156 on our websites Project Search page (located under Bidding Documents). Please contact QuestCDN.com at 952-233-1632 or info@questcdn.com for assistance in downloading and working with the digital project information. Bidders may also obtain hard copies of the plans and project manual from the issuing office of Ulteig Engineers, Inc., P.O. Box 150 Detroit Lakes, Minnesota 56502 upon payment of a non-refundable fee of $75.00. All bids shall be made on the bidding documents included in the project manual. All bids shall be in a sealed envelope with a brief description thereon of the work for which the bid is being submitted and shall contain the required bid security. Bids may be filed with the City of Ortonville during normal office hours or hand carried to the meeting prior to the scheduled bid opening as specified above. No bidder shall withdraw his bid for at least sixty (60) days after the scheduled closing time for the receipt of bids. Bidders are advised any contract or contracts awarded are expected to be funded by a loan or grant from the Public Facilities Authority and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Minnesota State Wages and Federal Wages will apply to this project. Each bid shall be accompanied by a bidders security in a sum equal to five (5) percent of the full amount of the bid in accordance with the Instructions to Bidders. The bidder may submit a Bid Bond, certified check, or cashiers check payable to the City of Ortonville. The bid security is a guarantee that the bidder, if awarded the contact, will enter into a contract for the work described in the Contract Documents. The bid security of the three (3) lowest bidders will be retained until the contract has been awarded and executed, but no longer than sixty (60) days after the opening of bids. The successful bidder will be required to furnish contract Performance and Payment Bonds, each in the full amount of the contract. The Owner reserves the right to reject any or all bids and to waive informalities. Mr. David Lang City Administrator City of Ortonville, Minnesota [url=http://www.recovery.org/stimulusprojectdetails.aspx?pid=BID:10633598&gloc=BIG STONE [MN]*CNT:27011#]Read More[/url]


Just a note: Makes me wonder if the city applied for the COPS recovery grant to keep police officers here. If they didn't why not? Is McCloud Street project more important than the safety of Ortonville residents?
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Bid to be accepted on mccloud Street.   Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:35 pm

Tonight, Monday July 20, 2009, the Ortonville City Council will be voting to accept the bid for McCloud Street.

Interested?

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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: MCCloud vote delayed.   Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:25 am

The City Council have delayed the vote until August. It seems the council needs a four fifths vote to pass it and that would requrie a vote of 6 to pass. Mr. Blair Johnson and Mr. Steve Berkner were absent. Since there were only five people there the vote would have to wait. The next time the city council meets with everyone in attendance is the second week in August.

Mr. Lang offered to have the city council meet for an emergency meeting on the second week if they wanted to to pass the vote. Is there a charge for an emergency meeting? I was told that in other cities if they met for emergency meetings there was a cost involved to that.

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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: Does Mayor Blair Johnson CPA have a conflict of interest?   Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:23 am

Lady Hawk wrote:
At the recent Ortonville City Council meeting on Monday 6/1/09 See here. Mayor Blair Johnson stated that Mary Gustafson was not qulaified because she was a city employee and therefore could not be on the council. no no no Mary replied that Mayor Blair also worked for the city because he did the books. Mayor Johnson stated that he did not do the city books but admitted that he did the books for Fairway View and that didn't matter...

I find it peculiar that Mary Gustafson was denied an opportunity to serve on the council because she receives money from the City and yet the Mayor can sit there and say that the money he recieves from the city is not a conflict.

Below is a page of the unpaid bills that was presented to the city council three days ago. You will notice on the bottom of the page you have a bill from Blair Johnson CPA. Blair Johnson denied that he did city books at the council meeting and here we have documentation that he has done the flex billing. This isn't for Fairway. This work is for the City of Ortonville. Did Mayor Blair Johnson tell the truth at the city council meeting? Suspect

Is this a conflict of interest? scratch

Is it fair to deny Mary Gustafson a place on the city council because she works for the city when Mayor Blair Johnson also works for the city? Rolling Eyes





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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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