Speaking of Barney Fife...
Posted by Joe Whalen (+612) 8 years ago
Who's presiding over City Council meetings these days, the mayor or John Uden?

From last night's lead story in the Star"
"I'm very concerned for my office and for the city," she said.

Grenz replied he didn't believe that a job should be posted until the job description is finalized and that was done at noon Friday.

As Stanton began to reply, council member John Uden interrupted her and told her the mayor had the floor. She was never allowed to reply.


http://milescitystar.com/...php#story1
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Posted by Elizabeth Emilsson (+797) 8 years ago
Joe, Thanks for posting this. I was wondering how mayor Grenz was doing. Suspicians, confirmed. I also wish to congratulate the Miles City Star for tew vastly improved coverage of the council meeting and the school board meeting. As I read the school district report, I feel that the new Superintendent Campbell is a very able CEO for the Miles City School district.
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 8 years ago
Here we go again with the Barney Fife of Mayors...But he makes a good breakfast...
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Posted by Kacey (+3159) 8 years ago
You know Joe, sounds like sour grapes to me. If I wanted to speak at the council meeting I would follow proper procedure.
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Posted by Mary B. (+201) 8 years ago
Kacey, the way the reporting reads, this was a conversation. No? Is the reporting accurate? Because if it is, Grenz was responding to her statement. Why wouldn't she have the ability to respond back?
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Posted by Joe Whalen (+612) 8 years ago
I'd hope to follow the proper procedure as well, Kacey. The presiding officer (mayor) is charged with recognizing speakers, determining who has the floor and directing city staff, not a member of the city council (Uden).

Does that better explain my comment?
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1671) 8 years ago
I found the following, from the same article, much more interesting...

"I might also add," he [Grenz] said to the council, "she's accused me of being a bigot. I don't come to my office anymore during the daytime. I'm afraid to even show up. It's a hostile work environment thanks to what you just heard. So there's two sides of the story," he said.
For most of the past year, Grenz has not come to his office during office hours. Anyone wishing to talk to him, whether members of the public, officials or city employees, must go to his business, the 600 Cafe, to meet with him.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
Joe, how many members of City Council are required for a quorum?
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Posted by Joe Whalen (+612) 8 years ago
A majority of members (5) of the City Council constitute a quorum.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
So I wonder how many times four councilpersons meet the mayor for coffee at the 600 and talk city business. They would have a quorum present and that would be a violation of the open meetings law.
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Posted by Kelly (+2706) 8 years ago
A small point to that Richard. Because each member of the council sits on a committee (finance, human resources, etc.), the quorum threshold may be lower, depending on which members are meeting.
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 8 years ago
Wouldn't it be hard to conduct city business, if the "CEO" refuses to come into the office during business hours and insists that folks that wish to speak with him come down to his restaurant?? Is there anything in the city charter saying that the mayor has to even show up for so many days a year...I have heard it is a part time position but this is a terrible example of Miles City getting their "moneys worth" in a new mayor isn't it??
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1671) 8 years ago
I'm just wondering if the same courtesy was/is extended to others who found/find it a hostile working environment? Were/are they allowed to work from home instead?
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Posted by Bob L. (+5095) 8 years ago
HA!

At least Mr. Grenz learned something from his first run as mayor. He knows what a "hostile work environment" is.

Lord knows he created one during his embarassing first term.
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Posted by Joe Whalen (+612) 8 years ago
To Kelly's point, Richard, there are four members of council appointed to each standing committee. If three of the four committee members meet to discuss city business, a quorum is reached and both state open meeting laws and public participation laws apply.

If no agenda is published, no adequate public notice is issued, no minutes are recorded, or anyone has been denied access to these public meeting on private property then those laws have been violated and every property owner in Miles City should prepare to write the check(s) for damage claims.

Do you recall which city council members are regularly meeting at the cafe?
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Posted by Oddjob (+194) 8 years ago
This is what caught my eye in the MC Star:

"Grenz replied he didn't believe that a job should be posted until the job description is finalized and that was done at noon Friday."

Who's responsible for preparation of job descriptions for their department, Joe? With 25 years of experience in supervision and management, I will go out on a limb here and say the Department Head. That would be Becky Stanton. Is that correct?

Has Stanton been dragging her feet on one of the requirements to fill the position since August 28th, 2012, and because there isn't a candidate lined up yet, she tries to dump her failure back in the Mayors lap?

Stanton's question had been asked and answered. Looks to me like she had said quite enough when she started rehashing ancient history to create a public pissing-match. She needed to be shut down. This was nothing but an exercise in ax-grinding.

Barney Fife? Nope, Joe, I think Kacey nailed it.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 8 years ago
There is a whole lot more going on here than can be wisely discussed in a public forum. The issue is very complicated and I have no doubt will end in lawsuits.
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 8 years ago
Hard to believe more lawsuits under Mayor Grenz, LOL...and usually against or from a woman?? if that, in fact, comes to pass, who knows....
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1671) 8 years ago
Oddjob, reading your thoughts on that subject, what are your thoughts as to the Mayor not conducting city business at City Hall during office hours, but instead at his place of business? Would this same courtesy be extended to others who found the working environment hostile?
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Posted by Oddjob (+194) 8 years ago
Denise:

Frankly I don't think Mayor Grenz is really too concerned about who dislikes him and who doesn't. Should he conduct City business at City Hall? Yes he should, but maybe he has a bigger problem with too many Council members hanging around down there, than he does with them showing up in his business. Seems to me there was a problem a while back with one Council member being in City Hall all the time because he was putting the moves on someone who worked(s) down there. Another issue is, can he get any work done or will he spend all day being hammered by Harpies who just want to rag on him?

I don't know. Apparently there are issues you nor I are aware of. Perhaps Amorette would care to share?

As far as a hostile work environment at City Hall, is there a distinction between part-time elected officials and employees? I assume employees have a defined work schedule. If they have a problem they can pony-up and file the complaint or vote with their feet. Just bitching counts for nothing.

[This message has been edited by Oddjob (1/13/2013)]
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 8 years ago
Oddjob:
By ignorantly referring to the women who serve Miles City as "harpies", you have definitely proven yourself incapable of civil discourse and therefore unworthy of a reply from Denise, Amorette, or any other intelligent member of the MilesCity.com community. Have you no decency, sir?
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Posted by Oddjob (+194) 8 years ago
Mr. Craddock

What purpose did the City Clerk's rant about the past lawsuits at a public meeting serve other than to promote an agenda of negativity against the Mayor?
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Posted by Wayne White (+255) 8 years ago
Is there a job description for the mayor, and does it include where he does business.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 8 years ago
Oddjob - You ask what purpose was served by the City Clerk's [statements] at the council meeting? I don't know. I'm sure if you asked her directly with even a modicum of respect, she would provide you with an answer you. Whatever her reason was, it did not constitute a reason for you to call her a "harpy" - let alone imply that all the women at City Hall are "harpies." Would you dare be so callow and careless with your words and accusations if you couldn't hide behind an alias here? I think not. And that, sir (or madam), is truly cowardly behavior.

Now, here is a question only you can answer. What on earth was your reason for calling the City Clerk such a vulgar term? And here is a second one that I doubt you have the courage to answer: What is your name?

[This message has been edited by Steve Craddock (1/13/2013)]
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Posted by Oddjob (+194) 8 years ago
Don't hide behind "I don't know", Mr. Craddock. If your intent is to defend her actions, do it. If you don't intend to defend her, then the only difference between you and me is how we define things.

If you want to lecture me about hiding behind an alias, I'll just get in line here behind the regulars who have hid for years and when you are done with them, you can start in on me.

And yes, I am callow and careless in person, if it serves a purpose..
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 8 years ago
Don't forget to add cowardly to that list, Oddjob. Pure COWARD.
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Posted by Joe Whalen (+612) 8 years ago
Oddjob - Of course, you're welcome to your opinion as to my motivation for raising the issue of John Uden's interruption of the city clerk as though he were somehow presiding over the city council meeting. I was simply pointing out a common overreach by a member of council.

However, when it comes to speculation over the deputy city clerk matter, it would helpful if your opinion were more informed. There are job descriptions for every position with the city, following review and adoption by the city council's human resources(HR) committee. The deputy city clerk position was created well over a decade ago and has been regularly staffed until, evidently, just recently.

It would be one thing if the HR committee had decided to modify that position description in a properly noticed and recorded public meeting but it's quite another for the mayor to ask the council to back his plan without details on Aug. 14, to inform the city clerk that the position would be filled from Jan. through June on Aug. 28, for the council to fund the position in the annual budget, and then for the mayor to announce during the last council meeting on Jan. 8 that the position couldn't be filled because a new deputy city clerk job description "was just finalized on Friday"(Jan. 4), after he had just informed the city clerk by e-mail that he had no intention of backfilling the position at all on Jan. 2!

1. If the mayor had no intention of filling the position in 2013, then why did he agree that he would?

2. If the city council had no intention of funding the position in 2013, then why did it approve an annual budget that fills the position from Jan. through June?

3. If the HR committee, chaired by John Uden, had no intention of filling the deputy city clerk position in 2013, why did it then finalize a job description for vacancy posting on Jan. 4?

4. If the mayor was aware that the HR committee was scheduled to finalize a new position description for vacancy posting on Jan. 4, then why did he inform the city clerk two days earlier that the position wouldn't be filled?

5. If the city clerk was performing her fiduciary duty by informing the city council of this hot mess, why did the chair of the HR committee feel compelled to "shut her down", as you so delicately put it?

If you can make sense of any of this, I'm ready to listen.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
Do you recall which city council members are regularly meeting at the cafe?


I have personally witnessed Ahner, Udan, and Grenz all in the back room at the 600.

To be a board member in Wyoming, one is required to attend training where the open meeting laws are presented. The county attorney instructed us that anytime board members got together even for coffee or just happened to encounter one another at say the post office if there was a quorum present, it was a potentiial violation of the open meetings act. Since there was five on our board, three was a quorum. We had to be very careful. Also, responding to email as a reply all is considered a violation even for things like scheduling a meeting. You are in effect conducting business. Maybe Montana's rules are different.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 8 years ago
No, they are not.
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Posted by Oddjob (+194) 8 years ago
Joe:

Thanks for your detailed response. I have no problem with your position on Uden being out of line, but if the Mayor had the floor, did the Clerk interrupt him? It wasn't clear in the article how that came down. At any rate, I'm sure it's never happened before, so it's a big deal

I understand there is a HR process and protocol to be followed, which is expanded for Government entities by the requirement for formalization and approval in scheduled public meetings. Obviously more complicated than for private sector processes. However, your response still doesn't answer my original question as to who dropped the ball?

You stated that there was a written job description for the position but there was a statement in the Star article by the Mayor saying that the job description was only completed the Friday before the meeting. Apparently it must have been revised or updated by someone and would have needed to go through the HR Committee and public process you described. In other words, the City wasn't ready to hire anybody.

So who is the most likely person to be tasked with producing an updated or revised job description? The Mayor? The HR Committee? I think the most likely person would have been the City Clerk who would be most familiar with the job duties. For a Jan 1 start date, that process should have been completed by the Clerk (who had agreed to the plan Aug 28th), reviewed by the HR Committee and put on a meeting agenda for approval a month before. Sounds like the process was SNAFU'ed somewhere and I can't see that being the Mayor fault. I can see the Mayor having a mess dumped on him and booting it back to whoever needs to fix it.

That's his job and he shouldn't have to take a ration of crap to do it.
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Posted by Wendy Branum (+57) 8 years ago
So... in a nutshell, we have one council member that oversteps his bounds on a regular basis, one that falls asleep on a regular basis (not in the article, just from viewing), one that has his nose stuffed up the mayors backside and at least one that needs a spine.

The only "harpie" that I can recall up there left town, then was, for lack of a better word, run out of town in Wyoming... I think it was Gillette. There's a post from quite a while back if someone out there that has nothing else to do but monitor MC.COM could find.

As far as Butch goes... he still needs to realize that he can't try to run the city like he runs the 600. His tactics aren't cutting it any better than they did the last time around. He also needs to realize that Becky has done wonders in that office in the short time shes been in there. But of course, very few people would know that. The general public has no clue what her job entails. The "harpie" didn't have a clue either.

Personally I like Butch. I don't like what I hear about the way he runs the city.

I've also wondered how many of Butch's changes actually COST the city more? Do any of the council members actually put a pencil to them? Part time v full time... outsourcing ambulance billing rather than the city doing it... Just curious.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 8 years ago
It sounds like the "HR Committee" was the group responsible for finalizing the job description. Probably with input from the City Clerk.

From Whalen's post:

"3. If the HR committee, chaired by John Uden, had no intention of filling the deputy city clerk position in 2013, why did it then finalize a job description for vacancy posting on Jan. 4?"

The real question is what was Mayor Grenz' intent when he sent an email to Stanton stating he didn't intend to fill the position:

From the Miles City Star article: At this week's meeting, Stanton said the budget committee and the council had wanted the position filled quickly yet on Jan. 2 she received an e-mail from Grenz, in which he said he would not be filling the deputy clerk position.

In the e-mail Grenz pointed out that the mayor's duties in hiring employees and stated, "So for now lets not consider this point any further, we will not fill the deputy clerks position at this time."


One could speculate that Grenz and Stanton have their differences and Grenz made that comment in a move to put Stanton in her place.

Anyone who knows Butch shouldn't be a bit surprised that he takes a "my way or the highway" stance such as that.

I'd say the voters of Miles City got exactly what they voted for. "We like Butch because he's a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy who takes the bull by the horns."

Diplomatic he is not. Sadly that's probably one of the most important traits of a good mayor. Someone who can find common ground and work out differences between dissenting parties.

This sort of hostile style he's taken with the City Clerk is exactly the sort of thing that got him in trouble with past department heads and ultimately resulted in the city being sued. I hope that doesn't happen this time but it seems like the mayor would be wise to tone it down. He is, afterall, the boss. It's ludicrous for him to imply that the City Clerk is creating a hostile environment for him. Subordinates don't intimidate the boss.
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Posted by redmondroughneck (+73) 8 years ago
I want to thank the people of Miles City for electing Butch Grenz Mayor again. He makes reading the Miles City Star much more entertaining. However I am glad I am no longer a tax payer in Miles City so I don't have to continue to pay to defend the city when the mayor gets sued. The question is not if Butch will have a suit filed against the city but when. I think the time has come for Miles City to replace the mayor's position with a King and for that, Butch is perfect.
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Posted by Joe Whalen (+612) 8 years ago
The drafting of a job description for the city is typically a collaboration of a department head, the human resources officer, the mayor, the Human Resources committee and, where applicable, the local bargaining unit. The Human Resources committee, which acts as the city's board of personnel appeals, is the final authority - not the mayor, not the city council. Apply the facts outlined in my post above and you'll see the disconnect.

Following his famous memo to the city clerk of Jan. 2 and the approval of the revised job description for the deputy city clerk, the mayor appointed a new HR committee with an entirely new slate of members, except for, of course, John Uden. I've learned that this group of "old school" cronies will meet on Tuesday to decide upon, you guessed it, an amended job description for the deputy city clerk.

The discord between the mayor and John Uden against the city clerk during the last council meeting is now well-known and a matter of public record. Every staffer within the Finance and Administration Dept. is a member of an EEOC-protected class. This entire chain of events strikes me as the deliberate harassment of that entire department by the mayor and John Uden.

If the newly-appointed HR committee decides, in any way, to dishonor the agreement made with city clerk in August, or alter the job description that the city clerk acted upon in good faith while making her recent hiring decision, then she and others in the department have a clear case for retaliation against the City of Miles City.

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/...-retal.cfm

The penalty would not only take the form of direct damage awards to the injured...

http://www.wickedlocal.co...z2IIFzB4ld

Every federally-secured loan or grant awarded to the city could immediately be forfeited for violation of the EEOC terms integral to every secured contract our city has signed for which it remains indebted, as well as future infrastructure projects that would be placed on indefinite hold until such time as the city once again rights its' ship against discrimination claims. These projects figure in tens of millions.

Sayonara.
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Posted by Dona Stebbins (+819) 8 years ago
Joe, this is an insult...to Barney Fife! Barney always meant well, unlike Mayor Grenz. Barney was not a power-grabber, unlike Mayor Grenz. Barney had a sense of humor, and when his attention was called to the error of his ways, he was apologetic and tried to make amends, unlike Mayor Grenz.

And nobody ever sued Barney for his many admitted transgressions - unlike Mayor Grenz! Barney WAS a bit of a dimwit, like Mayor Grenz, but he was loveable and well-meaning, unlike Mayor Grenz.

Dang, you just gotta love small-town Montana politics!
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