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Council meeting ends abruptly following questions from reporter

After their September meeting was cancelled for lack of a quorum, the Roosevelt City Council met for their regular October meeting on Monday night, October 1.

City Clerk Alyce Siats opened the meeting by going over Old Business, which in Roosevelt Council meetings is a recap of the previous month’s meeting minutes.

Siats stated she didn’t have much for Old Business since the September meeting had been cancelled, but went on to briefly touch on a “special” meeting that was held September 19 to finalize the city’s 2019 levy, as well as a few other items.

Following Siats’ presentation, Northern Light Region reporter Doris Knutson asked for verification as to when the special meeting was held, and followed up by asking the clerk whether the special meeting was posted as required by law.

“No, the meeting was not posted,” said council member Arlyn Stewart, stating the council only learned the day before the meeting that they must finalize the levy by September 19th.

Knutson pressed the issue, stating again that the law requires all special meetings be posted three days prior or a notice must be printed in a local newspaper as well as the notification of all parties who have requested to be notified of such meetings three days prior as well. (The NLR had requested in 2017 to be notified of all special meetings.)

At that point, Siats turned in her chair towards Knutson and shouted, “My g*d***n dad died!”

“Are you swearing at me?” Knutson asked.

“I’m very sorry about that (the death of Siats’ dad),” Knutson continued, “but all meetings must be posted three days in advance…”

Stewart left his seat and moved to stand in front of Knutson, shouting, “You will stop this right now or I will adjourn the meeting!”

Knutson stood as well and said, “No, I will not stop.”

“Then I adjourn this meeting!” Stewart stated loudly.

“Meeting adjourned!”

The meeting, which was called to order at 7:01 p.m., was adjourned by 7:05.

An email from Siats was received by the NLR Tuesday morning. In the email, Siats stated, “As far as the meeting, I should have said “emergency” meeting not ‘Special” meeting!!”

According to the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) Handbook, special meetings are described as meetings that are “held at a time or place that is different from the regularly scheduled meetings.”

In addition to notifying council members at least one day before the meeting by mail, the clerk “must also post written notice of the date, time, place, and purpose of the special meeting on the city’s principal bulletin board at least three days before the meeting… If the city does not have a principal bulletin board, the notice must be posted on the door of its usual meeting room.

“In addition to posting notice, the city must also mail or deliver notice to each person who has filed a written notice of special meetings with the city. Notice to these individuals must be mailed or delivered at least three days before the meeting.”

The LMC describes an emergency meeting as a “special meeting called by the council due to circumstances that, in its judgment, require immediate council consideration. The procedure for notifying council members of an emergency meeting is the same as that for a special meeting. The public notice requirements, however are different.

“The council must make a good faith effort to provide notice of the emergency meeting to all media that have filed a written request for notice. Notice must be by telephone or by any other method used to notify council members. The notice must include the subject of the meeting. A published or posted notice is not necessary.”

3 Comments

  1. Mike Dalton on October 3, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Did the state of Minnesota change the date on which levies must be finalized? If not, then there should have been no need for an “emergency” meeting; somebody at the city didn’t do their job. Good for the reporter to stand her ground.

    • Corey Jay on October 3, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      The state statute specifying the deadlines ( https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/275.065 ) had not had any changes to it since May of 2017 and the 2017 changes don’t appear to affect the deadline dates…So shouldn’t be considered an emergency….Emergencies are like a tornado came through town and authorization is needed to start recovery, or the entirety of the town’s reserves were stolen, etc..

  2. Charlotte Christiansen on October 3, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    So glad you stood up to them next month we need a police officer to be present for our own safety

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