• 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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  • 23Feb

    I was informed verbally by city administrator Stevan Kvenvold in a Tuesday meeting that Bari Amadio filed an ethics complaint against me, after discussing it with the Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust Board. Stevan shared this information in an email to the city council today, which effectively makes it public. Here is that email. I have not seen the complaint so I can not speak to it. Members of the GRACT Board in addition to Bari Amadio include Randy Staver, Ardell Brede, Lisa Clarke, Brad Jones, Carla Nelson, Al Mannino, and Joe Powers.

    Mayor/Council: You should be familiar with Council member Wojcik’s request of Bari Amadio to deliver to him a copy of the Public Art Master Plan. Ms. Amadio and her board chair have declined the request, pending a presentation to the Mayor and City Council at an upcoming COW meeting. Michael made the request three or four times and at yesterday’s COW meeting, Michael asked that the Master Plan not be scheduled for a COW meeting for about 3 weeks after the plan had been submitted for public review. The Mayor and Council did not respond to Michael’s request. Ms. Amadio had requested a COW presentation date and a date of 3/27 had been suggested as a presentation data. Since there is not any consensus of the governing body on this matter, we will proceed to schedule the matter for a presentation on 3/27/17. Ms. Amadio indicated that she has filed an ethics violation against Michael regarding the correspondence that occurred between Michael and her on this matter. Steve

    One of my proudest accomplishments on the Rochester City Council was being a driving force behind the creation of an independent ethics commission (it was a big part of my campaign in 2008). It was created with the intent of impartially handling ethics complaints on behalf of both parties. I very much appreciate the job that they have done.  I will cooperate with whatever requests they make. As is the case when I find out what the complaint is about I will likely publish all related materials on my website.

    Other than that I will wait to see the complaint.

    #integrity

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  • 10Feb

    There are major changes being proposed to the city charter. These changes would seek to make the Mayor position far less meaningful and the City Administrator position far more powerful. This would take oversight of city departments away from elected officials.

    The rational being given for the changes is that the current Mayor has chosen not to take on these responsibilities. The current Mayor has delegated many of his most important roles to the City Administrator. These changes would make that delegation permanent.

    On another note, the fact that 8 years after raising the issue, we still don’t have gender neutral in the City Charter speaks to just how ineffective our current Charter Commission is. Contrary to how our charter reads; women can actually be Mayor and/or City Administrator.

    Background:

    A “Home Rule Charter” or Charter is like a city’s constitution. It sets the rules for local government. Ours can be found here:

    http://www.rochestermn.gov/government/boards-and-commissions/charter-commission/home-rule-charter

    A Charter change can only be made by a vote of the public OR a unanimous city council.

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  • 20Jan

    Here is a memo that I asked administration to distribute to community leaders including DMC. I am very concerned about the trajectory of TIF on the Heart of the City North project. As such I seek to inform my colleagues and the community.

    In the spirit of collaboration I am happy to meet with any community to discuss these findings and conclusions. I see this as part of being a fiscal steward in the community.

    Memo to community leaders

    Edit: corrected formatting error.

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  • 14Dec

    My intent was to get some answers to the questions I posed prior to posting this information. Unfortunately the city administrator forwarded a draft to the county so at this point I am simply providing my list of questions. Below is a tremendous amount of detail, but I will give you a short summary. Based on reviewing 2016 documents it appears that neither PASC nor Olmsted County are living up to their obligations pertaining to planning. It also appears likely that there was a closed meeting held in violation to Minnesota’s open meeting law. Record of this meeting was withheld from the meeting minutes.

    *******

    So this happened: Comments by the Council President

    These kind of comments distract from the serious issues we have in Planning and with the PASC. I don’t think the public yet understands how much of a mess this is and how much it hurts the community, especially neighborhoods facing development without modern guidance. Here is the latest version of the agreement (2015). A subsequent PASC meeting occurred and there were no actions taken ahead of the City & County Budget cycles.

     photo Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 11.34.53 AM_zpswloa01z3.png

    I am concerned about the effectiveness of oversight by PASC. As such I am requesting that Ken Brown, chair of PASC and Richard Devlin, County Administrator provide answers to these questions. In reviewing the minutes there appear to be a number required actions by PASC missing. Additionally there appears to have been a closed meeting, which may have violated Minnesota’s open meeting requirements. Perhaps I am simply missing some information. I am committed to ensuring that the city of Rochester planning needs be met. Currently, as clearly indicated in the Stantec report, this is not happening. This appears to largely be the result of a lack of resources for the planning department.

    Questions I have for staff:

    1. At which 2016 meeting did the PASC make a formal motion to provide general direction to the Department through the director of planning? If so what was the date of approved resolution?
    2. In 2016; did the PASC recommend an annual (2017) levy for operation of the Department to the County Board? If so what was the date of approved resolution?
    3. In 2016; did the PASC approve either the 2016 or 2017 annual budgets for the Department? If so what was the date of approved resolution?
    4. In 2016; did the PASC approve the annual work plan for either 2016 or 2017? If so what was the date of approved resolution?
    5. Do the city administrator, city attorney and other staff feel that criteria i-v (section 5 of PASC agreement) are being adequately met by the planning department? photo Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 11.35.39 AM_zpspwju4upv.png
    6. Who directed Mitzi baker to release director comments & corrections on August 25, 2016? Was PASC involved? This is highly unusual since she previously released the report without commentary. Adding to the confusion was the immediate cancelation of a joint city / county meeting that had been scheduled to discuss the report.
    7. Did Olmsted County take any actions as a result of the release of the Stantec report? Was PASC involved in those decisions?
    8. How has stakeholder responses been evaluated / recorded in regards to the Stantec Report? Will there be a public hearing on the topic?
    9. Which recommendations in Section 6.0 of the Stantec report has PASC discussed, addressed, or decided not to address. What was the date of formal actions?
    10. At the September 2016 meeting, why did Ken Brown close the public meeting? Why is there no record?
    11. Why did the PASC Minutes from September 2016 fail to include rational and formal action allowing Jim Bier to participate in the meeting as he is not a member of that body. Was Jim Bier allowed to attend / participate in the closed meeting?
    12. Which of the 9 permitted reasons were used by Ken Brown to close the September 2016 meeting.
      1. to discuss labor negotiations strategy;
      2. to discuss data that would identify victims of criminal sexual conduct, domestic abuse, or maltreatment of minors of vulnerable adults;
      3. to discuss active criminal investigative data or internal affairs data relating to alleged law enforcement misconduct;
      4. to discuss non-public educational, health, medical, welfare or mental health data;
      5. to discuss an individual’s medical records;
      6. to conduct preliminary consideration of allegations or charges against an individual subject to the public body’s authority;
      7. to determine the asking price, review nonpublic appraisal data, or develop counteroffers on the purchase or sale of real or personal property;
      8. to receive security briefings, or to discuss security and emergency response issues, deficiencies, or procedures if disclosure would harm the public’s interests;
      9. when permitted by the attorney-client privilege (Supreme Court has narrowly construed this exception to the point where there must be pending litigation, or a definite and unequivocal threat of litigation before a meeting can be closed).

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