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City Council Ends With Threat Of Lawsuit Over Use Of Zoom

Last night’s City Council meeting started off with the approval of minutes from the previous meeting held on 09/02/2020. With Council person Rich Wassell wanting his comments to match with the Dillon Tribunes wording as they were printed as to what he said. Mayor Klakken responds with

" So your motion is to take what Mike Regan wrote, and put it in the area of number 2 is that what your motion is?"

This was seconded by Mary Jo O'Rourke, who stated she felt the paper gave a better explanation that both her and Council person Wassell stated they felt like they had been backed into a corner on approving the city budget at the last minute, and it needs to be part of the record.

Council person Kenworthy then stated he does not feel they should change the minutes of a meeting based on what a person writing an article perceived as the minutes. Council person Wassell stated he believed what was reported was accurate and needed to be included. Council settled on allowing the change of two sentences. Based on Council person O'Rourke and Wassell statements on having to make decisions that day.

Mayor Klakken stated that they have had since May to go through the city budget, they had adequate time to discuss and approve, or make changes on the city budget. He stated they had plenty of time to look at the budget approve it and it does not need to be on record. This discussion can be viewed on the first fifteen minutes of the meeting.

The meeting flowed smoothly with the swearing in of BJ Klose as permanent full time Fire Chief. Board member reports, and committee member reports.

One item that did come up was the use of heavy trucks hauling grain to the grain bins located on Railroad Ave. The trucks are unable to make the turn on Clark Street, the drivers have been using Washington St and Pacific St. These streets are not designated for the weight limit rating of these streets. This discussion starts at minute twenty seven of the meeting.

A ongoing problem with city meetings has been the use of Zoom and Council Person Wassell not wanting to attend meetings in person. He states he is vulnerable because of the COVID-19 pandemic and needs Zoom to attend the meetings from home. This subject has been of great contention in the past, as some council people believe he needs to show up in person and do the job he ran for. Council person Wassell has stated in the past they need to have Zoom meetings under ADA compliance, and if they refuse to allow them, he has hinted with underlying tones he would take the issue up with legal measures.

Last night Mayor Klakken brought up that the City is looking at making a Rule on how they are going to handle committee meetings with an executive order that. He stated

"On committees, following the Governors order with 4 or more active cases he would allow to have zoom meetings be done. Three or less active cases the council is required to come to meetings in person. I believe you can have safe distancing, there will be ten or less people, one can sit in middle with one on each end of table, as we usually have three or less committee members attending. This would meet all the qualifications, of safety that has been set up by the Governor. If we have four or more active cases we will still do Zoom."

At this point Council person Wassell says

"May I comment Mr Mayor?.. Ok if you do such an executive order, I hereby notify you that will be a violation of ADA and superseding ADA reasonable accommodations for attending those meetings via Zoom. And if you do that order I hereby notify you That I will sue the city."

Mayor Klakken responds with

"Okay... then I will notify you (pause) then I better not do anything."

At this point City Attorney Dolan steps in

"He has threatened suit against the city at this point the meeting is over, as far as I am concerned, I would advise you to adjourn the meeting."

This can be seen at the one hour twenty-seven-minute mark.

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