March 22, 2019 Special Meeting

The Lakota City Council held a special meeting on March 22nd, 2019, at the City Hall.  Mayor Russo called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m. All Council Members were present, Member Rainsberry attended via speaker phone.

Mayor Russo drew notice to the city’s response letter to Knife River accepting the counter offer for past liquidated damages of $85,500.  Member D. Mattern stated he agreed with the amount but did not want to have it change any other conditions going forward.

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve the liquidated damages settlement from Knife River of $85,500, seconded by Member D. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member Hess made a motion to approve the USDA Rural Business Development Grant resolution, seconded by Member Vasichek.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member Hess stated employee Matt Herda was placed on paid administrative leave at noon on March 20th. 2019.  Member Hess stated the mayor and himself received a grievance letter from employee Matt Herda in regards to supervisor Supt. Bob Zeug.  Member Hess stated on March 20th, 2019 the Mayor and himself sat down for a meeting with employee Herda to discuss the letter and then after met with each employee to hear what their opinions were of the issues.  Member Hess described employee Herda has being very confrontational throughout the meeting and at one point felt threatened by employee Herda or that the employee might strike him.  Member Hess stated that exchange was the reason employee Herda was placed on administrative leave the remainder of the work week.

Member Hess stated with the interviews he understands Supt. Zeug is not organized or well with communication to employees, however Supt. Zeug is still the supervisor to employees Herda and Burkland and there is a chain of command to follow.  Member Hess stated that with the conversation with Supt. Zeug, he stated he would be retiring on May 31, 2019.  Member Hess stated he is looking for guidance from the council on how to handle the situation going forward. 

Member Vasichek stated he felt Supt. Zeug’s time with the city is nearing as he will retire May 31st, 2019 so the city needs to just bare with it until it is over.  Member Vasichek stated employee Herda will need to follow orders from the next superintendent or some sort of corrective action would need to be taken.  Mayor Russo stated any type of probation would not work with employee Herda.

Member D. Mattern stated he understands employee Herda has a temper, but indicated Supt. Zeug does create a lot of the issues with employees.  Member Rainsberry suggested completing a performance review on employee Herda in 3 months to see where the situation is at.  Member Vasichek stated he didn’t feel that would benefit the council as a new superintendent should be hired at that point.

Member Vasichek suggested contacting employee Herda to remind him he will need to work well with his supervisor now and in the future or the next step would be termination.  Member Vasichek also stated Supt. Zeug would need to be told to work with employees and to stop antagonizing situations.

The council contacted employee Matt Herda via speaker phone at 12:35pm.

Member Hess reminded employee Herda that Supt. Zeug will continue being is supervisor and they will all need to get along.  Member Vasichek stated to employee Herda that he should continue being a productive employee for the city, but included if he could not get along with his current and future supervisors the next step would be termination.

Employee Herda thanked the council for the phone call and left the conversation at 12:37pm.

Member Vasichek made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by member D. Mattern.  

Meeting adjourned at 12:38pm

            APPROVED BY:                                             SUBMITTED BY:



Jeff Russo, Mayor                                            Amie Vasichek, Auditor