The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Surprise Ending To La Harpe's Council Meeting.

Third City Treasurer Resigns

The biggest surprise at the Monday, December 12th La Harpe City Council meeting came at the end of the meeting, just before adjournment, when City Treasurer Jennifer Ewing rose and read her letter of resignation. The astonished looks on everyone's faces showed how unexpected the resignation was.

Questions regarding La Harpe's financial situation were ever present through the meeting. At almost every mention of spending money, questions were directed at Ewing regarding whether there was enough money in city accounts to cover the considered expenditures. She expressed concerns.

Just prior to Treasurer Ewing's resignation, Alderman Mike Bennett had asked the council to consider "an immediate detailed audit for the last 12 months, on all accounts, all financial records, and all billing, collection and payroll systems of the city."

While this led to animated discussion, no action was taken. Ewing is the third Treasurer to resign since July.

During Public Comments, three citizens spoke.

Dave Clover rose to ask why Alderman Wisslead's request to put Mayor Kienast's water bill on the agenda had not been met. He cautioned the council again about waiting too long to get a billing statement from the city attorney. He also asked why the city hasn't filed a claim against the mayor for illegal use of public property for personal gain. Clover also questioned why help had not been hired for Tim Graves for over 1 year. He was cut off after his alloted 5 minute time period.

Carl Hainline returned to question the issue of how to apply the water deposit, citing the case of his daughter who was required to pay the $150 fee after moving across town.

Many understood the deposit to be for new residents or homeowners.

Wisslead asked for transferral of deposit fees to be placed on next week's agenda.

Richard Wood expressed his gratitude that the council has taken steps to deal with the buildings at 116 and 118 E Main.

The Council then went into executive session under OMA Sec. 2 (c)(1) to discuss the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific city employees, probable/imminent litigation (OMA Sec. 2 (c)(11)) or according to the agenda "and any other topics allowed."

After the Executive session Mayor Kienast nominated Karlene Kurtz to fill the vacant 1st Ward council seat, both Bennett and Kraft asked that the appointment not be considered until the December 19th meeting. No appontment was made to the 3rd ward open position, this after longtime La Harpe resident Dan Gillett was informed on December 5th by City Attorney Diana Diestler that his appointment by Mayor Pro tem Daryl Kraft to the vacant seat at the Nov 28th council meeting did not constitute a legal appointment.

In other business, Council:

In addition to the full council that remains, mayor and staff, approximately 23 people attended the meeting.

The next meeting has been moved back a week from Monday, December 26th to Monday, December 19th.