consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

CITY OF NOWTHEN: They have had their meeting yesterday. Now, per ABC Newspapers LTE section, I see names and a story line as to why a reader sent me meeting notice info.

Dec. 24 dated Letter to the Editor, from Janine Madsen, a Nowthen resident. From it, the appearance is of lame ducks mucking around:

Council Members Jeff Pilon and Harlan Meyer called a special meeting on Dec. 19th at 4:30 p.m. to discuss staff reorganization and the possible creation of the position of city administrator. Numerous attending residents and Council Member Jim Scheffler detected a strong fishy smell.

Scheffler questioned the urgency and remarked that the real reason for addressing this topic now is Pilon and Meyer feel they have a better chance of pushing this through this council than they do the new council. Residents were not allowed to comment or ask questions such as:

-Why the urgency to create a position for city administrator? [...]

-Aren’t there proper procedures to follow to explore different solutions to a perceived problem such as Pilon’s and Meyer’s belief in the need for creating a position for a city administrator? Procedures such as: [...] create a contract for the position, post a position, allow time for applicants to apply, interview applicants and offer contract to best applicant.

Pilon, outgoing Council Member Meyer, Council Member Mary Rainville and outgoing Mayor Bill Schulz chose to ignore these logical procedures and voted for Pilon and Meyer to create a contract for the city attorney to review so they can offer the job to the one person Pilon knows about for the position that didn’t even exist in Nowthen?

[italics added] If they want to go that route, where is Ramsey's former city administrator, James Norman? He could be an applicant. He is experienced in charting a course and pursuing it, as well as in stepping into a new position and being surprised.

The letter seems to suggest not only an intent to fast track the question, but to fast track the answer, as if a person already was in mind. Departing folks wanting to leave a legacy sometimes misfires. That may be what happened in Nowthen.

One of the attractive thing about Nowthen, to some, is it has not yet taken a Town Center step, or misstep, as was the history in neighboring town, Ramsey. Readers in Nowthen should be looking at whether the city administrator proposal will grow legs with new council members taking office, and if so, what procedures will be followed to assure fairness.

An interesting development in Ramsey the last time a new council was seated was a change in contracting for city attorney services. If that is a dimension in Nowthen, it would most likely happen soon in the new council term, rather than being delayed.

A caveat. This is speculative reaction to a LTE that has removed uncertainty at Crabgrass about precisely why special holiday meetings were being time-tabled in the neighboring town, about which little is known here, especially ins and outs of politics and personalities. If any reader has a different [and perhaps better or congrugent] story to tell, relative to the statements published in Ms. Madsen's ABC LTE, that is why this blog permits (and invites) on-point moderated comments.

UPDATE: The obvious comment thread of most vaule, what happened yesterday? Were Ms. Madsen's worries increased, decreased or left at about the same place, going into 2015? Was there a turnout for the meeting, and if so, was there a prevailing mood? Comments from individuals leaving their names often carry more weight than anonymous bickering, but whether to place a name or to submit an on-point comment anonymously is, as always, the comment author's decision. The corollary, if emailed "off the record" it may help an understanding here, but would not be published. A hope would be town officials mentioned in the Madsen LTE would notice this post, and submit their input. Ditto for any town officials not mentioned who may feel they've something to add.

__________FURTHER UPDATE_________
The City of Nowthen website, as best as I understand things, is online here:

The election canvassing report is posted as the opening website item; showing Jeff Pilon, mentioned in the Madsen LTE, will be the town's next mayor. Paul Reighard and Randy Bettinger appear to have won two open at large seats on the town council. How that may affect issues is unclear, but there are the two new individuals to be seated. Present council make-up is posted here.

Somewhat a curiosity, agendas and minutes for town council meetings has this page, but while agendas are necessarily prepared and hence available for meetings before they are held, there's zippo posted about any action after Dec. 9, and that seems to be somewhat deficient as to best notice practices. Ramsey posts complete agenda information prior to meetings. Am I missing some element of how pre-meeting agendas get posted on the Nowthen website?

when clicking to enlarge and read,
note that the screen capture is time-stamped
when it was taken today, this morning

Some reader familiar with notice practices in Nowthen might email or comment on what I may have missed as to posting of agendas on the Nowthen website before meetings are held. It would be helpful to the understanding of other readers.

______________FURTHER UPDATE________________
For "City Administration" as a link off the Nowthen homepage, there is this. Lean and low cost, no high-price city administrator listed.

Also, there is a search box on the website homepage, where a sensible search =

How long will it still feel "like country"?

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