The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by: Deb Olson, The Quill
Just before the end of the Monday, February 27, 2017 La Harpe City Council meeting prior to public comments Alderman Marcia Stiller announced she is withdrawing her name from write-in candidacy for re-election to the council
The meeting began with the announcement that City Attorney Diane Diestler needed to leave early so the regular agenda order was suspended in order for the council to deal with Old and New Business items before her departure. She left just before the mayor gave his report on the state of the city.
Mayor Ryan Kienast presented a report on the state of the city. He noted that several good things had occurred for the City of La Harpe in 2016. Here are the points he touched on in his report:
The mayor said that while officials may have differences they still managed to get things done.
After delivering his report the mayor told Mike Bennett that he could be in charge of the rest of the meeting and Kienast abruptly left at 7:55 p.m. The City Attorney had left at 7:50 p.m.
Darrell Kraft was then appointed temporary chair to finish conducting the meeting.
IEPA violations were discussed. Council members noted that at a meeting last Thursday it was decided to work with the IEPA to resolve violation issues rather than avoiding them and being penalized any further.
In Other Business:
The following agenda items were tabled:
It was also decided to withdraw further discussion of whether there should be consideration of an appointed treasurer versus an elected one.
Since a write-in candidate is running for the office of treasurer it was agreed that this should not be considered at this time.
Monalisa Graves asked the council for help responding to an email request she has received from the state requesting a detailed report about water department finances from May 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016.
She notes that she does not have access to many of the figures needed to respond to the request. Alderman Bennett responded that the council would help her get access to the needed information. The report is due April 15.
Dave Clover again provided a packet of information for consideration. He questioned the hiring of someone who lives outside the city and has fewer qualifications for the job than current employee David Little of La Harpe, plus paying them $8000 more.
He questioned decisions regarding the negotiation between the city attorney and the mayor regarding the mayor s water bill and made a FOIA request for settlement details.
Clerk Lucretia McPeak has not been able to answer the request as no settlement has been reached.
Clover questioned the City Attorney s advice on public funds, property or credit, and official misconduct, and her responses to his question as to whether the mayor can appoint someone to a seat that has been vacant for more than 60 days.
He questioned statements released to WGEM regarding the mayor s arrest on official misconduct, as well as Kienast's statements about prosecution of previous city officials for what he sees as the same conduct. He further asked about the water billing situation and ended his comment by wondering why former City Treasurer Marcia Neff was never thanked for her 17 years of service to the city. Clover noted, Mayor Kienast did not include the 10 resignations and 2 firings that occurred in 2016 in his state of the city report.
Chad Burt questioned a statement from a previous meeting that "work for the city under $20,000 does not require more than one bid". He requested clarification of this.
At the end of the meeting, Alderman Wisslead stated. People say they don t want to serve with Mayor Kienast. And yet this is exactly the time for people to step forward.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 20 at 7 p.m.