• 03Aug

    Here is a draft of the contract that we are going to attach to all contributions to organizations outside of the city of Rochester. Those with contributions under $100k will use a more basic form. Bottom line is that this will reduce conflict, increase transparency, and better ensure accountability.

    Draft contract.

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  • 12Jun

    Today I will propose a change to how the City of Rochester oversees $7 million dollars in support for outside agencies. I am frustrated with the status quo and am pursuing corrective action.

    The memo that I prepared for the council can be found here.

    Recent events have shown a persistent weakness in our oversight of public funds. This proposal would create professional oversight and decrease the influence of political connections in the allocation of public funds. I view this as a needed step to restore public faith in our management public funds going to partner organizations. While not every organizations has had issues, every taxpayer dollar deserves meaningful public oversight.

    Here is the approximate amount of taxpayer funds being issued to outside organizations in 2017.

     photo 2017 City Outside Contributions_zps10d0huev.jpg

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  • 24May

    Here is the latest information on how I and the city plan to review proposals for the reuse of the armory. I would give a tip of the hat to Nick Campion who started us out on the right foot. He made some good suggestions and I switched how I plan to review these the proposals. In addition Annalissa Johnson & Mark Bilderback (thus a majority of the council) also agreed.

     photo Position on Rochester Armory Proposals_zps5n0olvok.jpg

    The city council will review the 5 proposals at a committee of the whole meeting on June 5th. Due to the heightened interest in the community we will be moving the meeting to a larger venue. For now the 5 proposals are private, but as I receive permission I intend to share those 5 proposals here. I will add links as I get public data.

    Contrary to the case with other decisions, in this case the Council may make their decision by whatever criteria they so choose. We are also free to talk about our thoughts and opinions at any time. In short, we are not in a “Quasi-Judicial” role.

    I would say 3-4 of the proposals were very good. Previously I supported the ACI proposal and again they made a strong proposal.

    I am also interested in your input, please send me questions you think we should ask at the COW meeting. I am going to publish a list here so no one gets to surprised. I have a strong preference in maintaining public ownership of both the Armory and the parking lots. I could see eventually selling the lots, but only after planning is firmed up in the area.

    Some questions I may ask:

    1. Under your proposal would the Armory remain publicly owned? (this is disclosed)
    2. Does your proposal require the inclusion of the parking lots?
    3. If the parking lots are a currently required; would you still pursue the project if those lots remain publicly owned?
    4. If your proposal calls for private ownership of the Armory, would you consider proceeding with a long term lease instead?
    5. If a long term lease would work, what length and terms would you consider?
    6. What do you see as the typical usage and demographics in a given week?
    7. How will your project benefit minority / low income / immigrant communities?
    8. Your question here

     

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  • 22Mar

    The 4 members of the Rochester Ethical Practices Board (3 participating) were unable to find that I committed any violations of Rochester’s Code of Ethics. They have now referred this to an independent investigator to further check if any violations occur. There appeared to be some difficulty understanding the 18 page submission. While this will cost more taxpayer dollars, some members of the board indicated that they were struggling to understand the complaint, so this is a prudent course of action. I look forward to the final dismissal of this complaint.

    I am proud of the work I am doing to bring transparency and oversight to the use of tax dollars and look forward to continuing to do so for years to come.

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  • 22Mar

    So I wrote this on Facebook and it got kind of long, but it is worth repeating here.

    *******

    In a decade of service this is hands down one of the poorest policies I have ever seen. Some social media policy is good, we can’t have a police officer posting racist memes as we saw in the past. We should have a policy for how the Energy Commission or RPU feeds are used. BUT, the way this is worded a volunteer on the Civic Music board could face consequences for questioning the city on Facebook. While staff might claim that would not happen; there is no clear set of standards and no clear process for who would arbitrate these disputes. They can’t even define who owns a social media feed, let alone have any way of knowing who is actually posting.

    bad as the policy is, it was made more so by the fact that no one ever requested a policy regulating volunteers’ free speech and the public was given no opportunity to comment. When I asked the city attorney who crafted the policy, he stated only he and the HR director, neither use social media. When I asked if other cities’ policies were referenced the answer was no. I believe that this policy is 100% about controlling the free speech of volunteers. Recently the council president attempted to reprimand a volunteer and basically got laughed at since he has absolutely no power to do this. It was further disregarded as the action was taken behind the back of the rest of the council (fact: no councilmember has power on there own). This policy is a back door way that elected officials could stifle criticism of even themselves.

    The policy is so vague and all encompassing that even this post could result me losing a seat on the city council over it. Probably not going to happen, but 100% permissible under this policy.

    #endrant

    KAAL Video.

    Nice job by Paul Sims calling out the poor policy here.

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  • 20Mar

    I ran for office and was elected by the people of Rochester on a platform of “#integrity” in city governance. Chief among by belief in leadership with integrity is a focus on stewardship of taxpayer dollars and transparency in government.

    The City of Rochester funded the Public Art Master Plan with taxpayer dollars after a rushed discussion where the city, collaborative artists, and taxpayers were provided assurances that the process would be executed with transparency and collaboration in mind.

    The community later went through a period of almost a year where no updates were provided and no engagement with arts or civic leaders outside of the GRACT took place. As a steward of public dollars and trust; I embarked on a venture to obtain and distribute the latest draft of the Public Arts Master Plan.

    I have now successfully acquired this document and it has been ruled public data by the City Attorney and the State of Minnesota Commissioner of Administration Information and Policy Analysis Division. A complete copy of this document can be found here. I encourage all interested parties to review this document and provide feedback prior to city council discussion on the matter.

    I strongly believe that documents produced with public funding by groups that are supported with public tax dollars or in kind donations should always be public data. I will continue to shine light on organizations or individuals who seek to take taxpayer subsidies.

     

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  • 06Mar

    This was sent out as the “final” revised Stantec report. The Stantec report articulates the significant issues in the Olmsted County Planning Department (note these are funding, staffing issues; not problems with existing staff). It has been half a year with no action.

    The initial report was bleak, spot on, and a call to action. Here is where you can find that initial report.

    Initial Report (edit: hopefully fixed the link)

    I have not reviewed what was changed, but would be very interested in a member of the public summarizing the changes for me.

    Well, well, well, it would appear significant changes were made and no one seems to know who made these changes. It certainly was not done by any public body in any public meeting. Thank you to the person OR people that provided this analysis:

    Comparison.

     

     

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  • 01Mar

    Additional materials on the Greater Rochester Arts & Cultural Trust (Bari’s) ethics complaint. I still haven’t read all of the first one so I am just posting this for transparency purposes.

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  • 28Feb

    We don’t know because staff is not doing as directed.

    My intention is to stop all activity and funding aimed at building new stadiums in Rochester. This types of exchanges are why in 2017, I will seek to have public oversight of the RCVB, their budget, and expenditures. The amount of money they are spending without oversight is well into the millions.

    Even though the city council explicitly directed staff to gather information on how much money the RCVB has spend on stadium consultants. Here is a series of notes.

    At a recent Council meeting a request was made to seek information from the RCVB on expenditures and staff hours that they might be undertaking relating to any “arena” proposals.  I previously contacted Brad Jones of the RCVB and  received the attached response and information.  It is provided for your information pursuant to the request made at the February 6 Council meeting for information from the RCVB.

    Thanks

    Gary

    FYI, this was not a “request” it was an official action of the Rochester City Council.

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for the email and information – great to hear on the bond election allowing the collection of naming rights and sponsorship revenue in the future.

    In terms of the update to City Council – we are in process of the work to provide a recommendation for a possible new entertainment, sports and multi-purpose arena. In our planning timeline, we are poised to bring the recommendation to the Mayo Civic Center Commission sometime in May or June depending on the progress of work. We are working with two separate consultants, an investment group, and three possible long-term arena tenants. If you would rather have the recommendation come direct to the City Council please advise.

    In terms of staff time – I am the only staff member at the RCVB currently working on the arena project. I am coordinating all of the partners, consultants and work. We are doing this to insure that our normal work flow and responsibilities are not affected. On average, I attribute around 15 hours a week (or about 30% of my ongoing time from my own schedule for this work). If you have any further questions please let me know.

    Thanks,

    BRAD JONES// Executive Director

    Rochester MN Convention and Visitors Bureau

    This response did not provide the data we need. Here is my response today.

    We directed staff by way of a motion, I would like to see the dollars spent on Hammas and other. There is no need for a second motion. Staff has their direction. Proceed with the direction you were given. Please no more delays.

     

     

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  • 24Feb

    Even though the ethics complaint is private information until reviewed next month, in the interest of transparency I will publish the document in full as soon as I can get it electronically. I will do this regardless of what it says. Not sure I will get to learn what the complaint is about until Monday. I am also insisting that I receive the first version as well as the revised version as I am interested in what changed.

    Edit: OK to answer a smart ass question I just received, if the complaint contains nude photos of me I will still publish it and that is on you…

    Yesterday I published the note from the city administrator (in its entirety Jay…). The Post Bulletin also posted addition letters from earlier in that communication thread. That is about all there is… So if you see something there that is unethical let me know.

    I am also trying to gather every single communication I can find since 2014 between myself and Bari Amadio. I also intend to publish every one of those correspondences. I will also publish additional notes on the topic involving city staff and the board chair.

    FYI, here is my 2017 ethics disclosure form. I think you will find exceptionally, even painfully thorough.

    I will be adding one board that I am in the process of joining, the Southeastern Minnesota Association of Regional Trails (SMART).

    Yes, the transmittal letters are waiting for the Chair’s signature.  She will be in on Monday to sign.  I hope to make into the office this afternoon.  If you want, I can make a copy of all documents, place them in an envelope, and place the envelope in your box in the City Clerk’s Office.  Just let me know.

    Terry

    ________________________________
    From: Michael Wojcik [votewojcik@gmail.com]
    Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 8:56 AM
    To: Adkins, Terry
    Subject: complaint

    I guess this was filed on the 21st, please send me all documentation as I believe I can get copy per the ordinance.


    Regards,

    Michael Wojcik
    Rochester City Council – Ward 2

    www.votewojcik.org/blog<http://www.votewojcik.org/blog>

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