City Administrator Joel Walinski’s Friday Memo of Sept. 11, 2009

Joel-WalinskiThe Friday Memo, written by Northfield City Administrator Joel Walinski and various department directors, managers, and supervisors, summarizes many of the staff activities for the week. The Friday memos are published and archived in PDF form at the bottom of Joel Walinski’s web page. Friday’s memo can be found on the memo page for the week. This week’s memo also includes the monthly Board & Commission update.

Some items of interest in this week’s memo include various engineering/infrastructure updates, timeline for the business park(s) master plan, work with the MPCA on remediation of the underground storage tank at the Safety Center, and lighting options for the Riverside Trail.

NOTE: There will be a City Council meeting tonight, beginning with a closed session at 6:30 to discuss litigation against  the City, and a regular meeting at 7:15p.

You can view all City meetings on the City calendar.


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    Somebody remind me: who’s suing the City this time?

    Motion to close meeting pursuant to MS
    13D.05, Subd. 3(b), as permitted by
    the attorney-client privilege. The
    council will meet with legal counsel
    to discuss litigation against the City
    of Northfield

    September 14, 2009
  2. kiffi summa said:

    Charlene Coulombe-Fiore, in Federal Court, for several alleged violations of (equal) employment law .
    You had a thread about it a while ago, Griff.

    I do not remember what Charlene’s exact title was (current being THE Economic Development Director) but neither title nor salary were as grandiose as they are now.

    September 14, 2009
  3. David DeLong said:

    You do kind of have to guess. Remember the good old days when staff spelled it out in the agenda. An example is the Special Closed Meeting on 29 October 2007 -Motion to close meetingto discuss pending litigation entitled Joseph Lee Lansing, et. al., v. City of Northfield, et. al. with attorney George Hoff as allowed by Minn. Stat. Sec. 13D.05, Subd, 3 (b). I would have thought that the form would be standardized by now, perhaps someone was trying to make a point. Was it then or now? I guess maybe it all depends on who’s the staff.

    September 14, 2009
  4. Jane McWilliams said:

    Anyone know what is required by law in announcing closed meetings – or, reporting them afterward? Kiffi?

    September 17, 2009
  5. kiffi summa said:

    Jane : well, it’s just too much to try to consolidate here, but I can begin by telling you this… At a meeting for new public officials, Maren Swanson and Mark Anfinson (he being on of the accepted authorities on Open Meeting Law) disagreed about several components of that law.

    Next: the Open Meeting law is Chapter 13D of the MN State statutes, and it requires reading through quite a few parts of that Chapter in order to answer questions about closed meetings.

    I believe ( without going back to verify) that closed meetings must be announced as other regular meetings are, unless it falls under the emergency meeting rules.
    I believe that includes a description of the subject matter to be discussed which would explain the reason for a closed session. That of course as David deLong has pointed out may vary (legally?) in practice, quite a bit.

    I believe a report is required at the next regular meeting; in these cases where a closed meeting immediately precedes a regular meeting, Id say immediately following. Of course, I imagine there is a lot of discretion in what IS reported… i.e., 1. “a closed meeting was held , pursuant to Chap 13D of MN statutes, and the council discussed the matter” or 2. “a closed meeting was held pursuant to Chap 13D of the MN statutes; pending litigation against the City, by a former employee, was discussed. A legal representative from the MN League of Cities was there to advise the council on the ramifications of this lawsuit involving discrimination/employment law which is to be presented in Federal Court.”

    So that depends how transparent ‘they’ wish to be in informing the public. As far as I remember, there was no report at the last regular council meeting which immediately followed the closed session.

    I think you have to read the statute through at least 13D.05 to get a basic sense of how it applies here.

    On a side note: 13D.01, subdivision 1, would seem to make it very clear that the current practice of the EDA, in having non-public meetings of the Executive committee, or indeed the three subcommittees the EDA has established, are all in violation of the Open Meeting Law.
    Would you agree, Jane, after reading all through Subd.1 of 13D?

    September 18, 2009
  6. kiffi summa said:

    Jane : CORRECTION : the public information meeting for new officials which I mentioned in the above post was NOT Mark Anfinson with Maren Swanson; it was Ms. Swanson and Roger Knutson, and they did have differing opinions.

    Mark Anfinson came to speak at a League of Women Voters 4th Monday program, and made the comment that only in Northfield would 35 people turn out on a Monday night for an info session on Open Meeting Law! And .. it lasted two hours!

    September 18, 2009

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