February 2, 2021 Regular Meeting

The Lakota City Council held its regular meeting February 2nd, 2020, at the City Hall.  Mayor Hooey called the meeting to order at 6:03 p.m. All Council Members were present.  Stacie Sevigny, Randy Karas, David Matejcek and Engineer Barry Glienke was in attendance.  City Auditor Amie Vasichek, and City Supt. Herda were in attendance.  City Attorney Tenneson was on speaker phone and joined later in person.

Member Hess made a motion to approve the January 5th, 2021 regular council meeting minutes, seconded by Member Vasichek.  Motion carried. 

Mayor Hooey recognized Dave Matejcek. 

Mr. Matejcek stated he was in attendance to talk about the lease agreement for the city owned building he currently occupies.  Mr. Matejcek stated he was curious if the city would entertain selling the building.  Member Solberg stated he thought it would be a good idea to discuss.  Member D. Mattern stated he did not think it was a good idea to sell any city buildings.  There was discussion on instead having a long-term lease agreement.  The council stated they will review the idea and consult with Attorney Tenneson on the options.

Mayor Hooey recognized Randy Karas.

Mr. Karas stated the golf season will be here before we know it and would like to know the city’s interest in getting a different rough mower as the current one needs work.  It was suggested to Mr. Karas to research mowers for sale and bring them to the next council meeting.

Mr. Karas and Mr. Matejcek left the meeting at 6:10pm

Mayor Hooey recognized Stacie Sevigny from Red River Regional Council.

Mrs. Sevigny was in attendance to give a presentation on the county wide rehabilitation project that will be happening the next couple years.  Mrs. Sevigny stated her office has received about 39 applications so far with 12 being from Lakota.  Mrs. Sevigny stated they will continue to take applications going forward if the council would like to encourage more to apply.

Mrs. Sevigny left the meeting at 6:24pm.

Mayor Hooey recognized Engineer Glienke.

Engineer Glienke presented their Statement of Qualifications for engineering services.

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve Bolten and Menk’s Statement of Qualifications for Engineering Services, seconded by Member Hess.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.




Mayor Hooey stated the next item on the agenda is Caldwell Tanks dispute.  This item may be discussed in an executive session. The legal authority for closing this portion of the meeting is North Dakota Century Code section 44-04-19.2. The topic or purpose of this executive session is negotiation strategy regarding the Caldwell Tanks dispute.

At 6:31pm Member Hess motioned to move into executive session as allowed by NDCC 44.04-19.1 to discuss Employee Evaluations and potential negotiations, seconded by Member Fahey.  Motion carried.

Whereby, the City Council met in executive session to discuss and review employee evaluations and potential negotiations as authorized by NDCC 44-04-19.1.  Present were Mayor Hooey and Council Members Solberg, Vasichek, Hess, Fahey, and R. Mattern.  Also present were City Supt. Herda, Auditor Vasichek and Engineer Glienke; City Attorney Tenneson was on speaker phone.  The executive session was adjourned at 6:50pm

Mayor Hooey reconvened the regular city council meeting.

Member Vasichek made a motion to reject Caldwell Tank’s counteroffer on the water tower project close out based on the terms of the contract, seconded by Member Solberg.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member Vasichek stated the council would remove the paint deduction from the contract if Caldwell Tanks remedied the amount with the car owners.  Attorney Tenneson stated he will send out a letter possibly Thursday of this week to Caldwell Tanks requesting a response within 10 days. 



Mayor Hooey stated he would like to set up an ordinance to require mobile homes to be taxable property.  Mayor Hooey stated it is a benefit to the homeowner and the community.  Mayor Hooey stated the property would need to be permanently fixed to the ground to do this.  The council agreed with the suggestion and Attorney Tenneson stated he will research the proper language for the ordinance by the next meeting.

Mayor Hooey requested names for the MRES representatives. 

Member D. Mattern made a motion to appoint Brad Hooey as the city’s representative to Missouri River Energy Services and Matt Herda as the alternate, seconded by Member R. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Mayor Hooey stated with Steve Richardson’s resignation, there is a heavy equipment operator position that has been advertised.  Mayor Hooey stated four individuals have submitted applications; Jesse Schuh, Robert Hoffarth, Gerardo Ramos, and Jacobus Louw (all applications were provided to the council.)

Mayor Hooey stated he would like to offer the employee $19/hr., with a $1 wage increase once a CDL Class B Air Brake endorsement was obtained.

Member R. Mattern made a motion to offer Jesse Schuh $19/hr. starting wage with $1/hr. increase once CDL Class B Air Brake endorsement is obtained for the Heavy Equipment Operator position, seconded by Member Hess.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member Solberg stated he would like to further discuss the lease agreement for the city building with David Matejcek.  Member Solberg questioned if the building could be taken out of an incubator program and provide him with a long-term lease for 5 years.

Attorney Tenneson stated he believes the building would need to be advertised to allow an equal opportunity for the public to bid on it but stated he would like to research it.

Member Vasichek made a motion to have Attorney Tenneson look into options for a long-term lease agreement for city owned buildings, seconded by Member Hess.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Attorney Tenneson exited the meeting from speaker phone at 7:20pm.

Attorney Tenneson physically entered the meeting at 7:22pm



Supt. Herda provided his report of the crew activities to the council and is attached with the minutes.

Supt. Herda stated he looked into fixing the golf course mower and it is a little expensive, but it just depends on what direction the council would like to go with.

Supt. Herda stated the 2008 Ford city pickup’s transmission is out and needs repair.  Supt. Herda stated the estimate for a reman with himself installing is $2,600 and for Schmitty’s transmission in Grand Forks is $3,000.

Member Vasichek thanked Supt. Herda for the opportunity to be on the State Health Department call about his water operator testing last month.

Member Vasichek stated he would like to address Steve Richardson’s resignation letter and Mr. Richardson’s statement for leaving was a hostile work environment.

Supt. Herda stated he does his best to do his job and tries to stay professional, but as a supervisor he needs to hold his employees accountable on things.  Supt. Herda stated he felt Mr. Richardson was telling a “fib” to him that he called him out on.  Supt. Herda stated three members of the council sat down with himself and Mr. Richardson about a recent issue, which he would like to put behind him.  Mayor Hooey stated Mr. Richardson felt there was no resolution with the sit-down meeting and also had hard feelings that he was called a liar by Supt. Herda. 

Supt. Herda stated the issue was about Mr. Richardson having to take his CDL test but had to turn around mid-way to the Devils Lake testing site as he said he forgot his contact lens.  Mr. Richards stated once he got back to Lakota, he noticed the strobe light on the city truck did not work.  Supt. Herda stated he did not make a big deal about it the day of but felt Mr. Richardson should have called right away prior to returning to Lakota.

Angela Herda entered the meeting at 7:30pm

Angela Herda exited the meeting at 7:31pm

Member D. Mattern stated he has been notified of a power outage in the Southeast corner of Lakota that Supt. Herda will need to address immediately.

Supt. Herda stated there have been issues with Mr. Richardson in the past with Supt. Herda’s direction and work methods. 

Member Fahey stated the main part he took away from the sit-down meeting is that Supt. Herda wouldn’t accept Mr. Richardson’s reason for turning around and missing his CDL test.  Supt. Herda stated it still comes down to him being the supervisor and holding someone accountable for their actions.

Member Vasichek stated there is a difference between holding someone accountable and picking your battles and since Supt. Herda picked something petty it resulted in the city losing an employee.  Member Vasichek stated the city council is elected by the citizens of Lakota and must take an accusation of a hostile work environment seriously.

Mayor Hooey questioned the story of Supt. Herda taking Mr. Richardson’s phone and keys from him.  Supt. Herda stated on Mr. Richardson’s last day he was leaving early for the day and requested Mr. Richardson’s phone and keys.  Member Fahey stated Supt. Herda took Mr. Richardson’s phone from him before he could take personal items off the phone.  Supt. Herda stated he told Mr. Richardson he would go through his phone and put his personal items on a flash drive to be returned.  Member D. Mattern stated no employee should have personal items on a city owned phone.

Supt Herda requested to leave the meeting to address the electrical outage.  Supt. Herda left the meeting at 7:37pm.

Member Hess stated once an employee is no longer working for the city, a city cell phone should be immediately returned to the city hall not the supervisor.

Member Vasichek questioned Member D. Mattern if he personally feels Supt. Herda can handle the superintendent position.  Member D. Mattern stated yes and no.  Member D. Mattern stated Supt. Herda has a bad taste in his mouth from the previous superintendent Bob Zeug and believes he needs to prove himself.  Member D. Mattern stated he felt Supt. Herda has potential and will speak to him about his temperament.  Member Vasichek stated Supt. Herda has a track record of poor temperament and continued behavior issues when working with others.

Attorney Tenneson stated there is a current allegation of a hostile work environment and the city has a legal obligation to take corrective action to fix the issue. 

Member Solberg stated he would like to give Supt. Herda one more chance at managing staff.  Member Solberg stated Supt. Herda is a hard worker.

Mayor Hooey stated Supt. Herda has confidence, but he needs to listen to his staff and take their advice on jobs at hand.  Mayor Hooey stated Supt. Herda has failed his recent water certification testing, which is a requirement for his position. 

Member Fahey stated during his evaluation of Supt. Herda he had suggested taking a management class to improve his skills and he felt Supt. Herda did not want to hear it.

Mayor Hooey stated something needs to change.  Member R. Mattern questioned if Supt. Herda could be put back to the position of Heavy Equipment Operator.  Member Solberg stated he would rather halt any raises until Supt. Herda passes the water certification testing.

Member Vasichek made a motion to remove Supt. Herda’s supervisor responsibilities and make Mayor Hooey temporary supervisor of the city crew, seconded by Member R. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor, except for Members Solberg and D. Mattern who opposed.  Motion carried.

Member Vasichek suggested providing a chance for Supt. Herda to obtain the supervisory responsibilities back.  Member Solberg stated he agrees with that opportunity.  Attorney Tenneson stated there are Carnegie classes in Fargo, ND but they are extensive classes. 

Member Vasichek made a motion to provide Supt. Herda with a professional improvement plan to regain the supervisor responsibilities that will be set by the city council and provided to Supt. Herda by February 15th, 2021, seconded by Member Solberg.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Member D. Mattern questioned Supt. Herda’s wage after all this.  Member Vasichek stated he would leave it as is.  Member D. Mattern stated he does not want Auditor Vasichek as the supervisor as that would be a conflict.

Members Solberg, D. Mattern, Fahey and Mayor Hooey will get together and create the professional improvement plan for Supt. Herda.


No additional report provided.



Sheriff not in attendance.



Member R. Mattern thanked the council for the flowers for his son’s funeral.

Member D. Mattern stated he was contacted by a member of the cemetery board stating it is illegal for the cemetery property be special assessed for the street project.  Attorney Tenneson stated he would review the NDCC for information on this.

Member D. Mattern questioned what the council is going to do with Water Operator Burkland since he lost his CDL for one year.  Attorney Tenneson stated Mr. Burkland can obtain a worker permit.  Member D. Mattern stated he thought the workers permit was only to get the employee to the place of employment, not drive during working hours.  Attorney Tenneson stated Mr. Burkland should be able to drive during working hours if required for the position, but he will research it.  Member Hess stated it does not say in the job description that a CDL is required for his position.

Mayor Hooey stated he would like to have the community center open again for walkers.  Auditor Vasichek will speak with Robyn Ward about opening the community center Monday-Friday at 6am until 10am starting this Thursday.  Member Vasichek stated he will reach out to the Lakota School Board and notify them of the opening.



No report given.


No report given.


Auditor Vasichek’ s written report was provided and attached with minutes.

Auditor Vasichek stated the city will be participating as a weekly rapid Covid-19 testing site starting February 10th and going for four weeks.


The council reviewed the financial and utility reports provided.



Attorney Tenneson stated he has a list of items to research for this meeting.


After review of the bills and vouchers, a motion was made by Member D. Mattern to pay all the bills presented for payment and those bills paid prior to the meeting. Member Hess seconded the motion. Motion carried on roll call vote of 6-0.

Advance Auto Parts                                          $          244.88

Advanced Business Methods                             $          289.00

Aflac                                                               $         428.26

Allstate Peterbilt                                               $       1,226.52

BND                                                                $          354.29

BCBS                                                               $        4,707.37

Blue Tarp                                                         $             14.13

Bolton & Menk                                                $      36,993.45

Brent’s Service                                                 $             15.00

Cardmember                                                    $           531.81

Dacotah Paper                                                  $           159.58

Dept. of Justice                                                $           447.60

EFTPS                                                              $        1,758.82

Farmers Union Oil                                            $           895.05

Ferguson Waterworks                                       $        7,444.74

GF Utility Billing                                              $             44.00

Interstate Billing                                               $        1,232.00

Krabbenhoft Auto                                             $             86.15

Lakota American                                              $           797.00

Lakota Auto Truck & Tire                                 $           107.23

Lakota Hardware                                              $         1,088.00

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $            300.00

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $            569.28

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $         8,662.02

Lakota Sanitation Service                                 $        7,841.07

MARC                                                             $        2,090.75

MRES                                                              $      61,610.54

MMUA                                                            $           600.00

NDPERS                                                          $        2,943.01

Nelson County Sheriff                                      $        2,318.40

Neonlink                                                          $             61.80

Nodak Electric                                                 $           692.77

ND One Call                                                    $              9.60

ND Telephone                                                  $            60.85

Polar                                                                $          895.63

Powerplan                                                        $        1,028.60

Rysavy Plumbing                                             $           118.58

Schmidt, Brian                                                 $            25.00

Titan Machinery                                               $           387.81

Tri-County Water                                             $        5,515.00

United Laboratories                                          $           225.91

Verizon                                                            $           280.76

City Salaries                                                     $      10,664.17

City Salaries                                                     $      10,606.02

            TOTAL                                                            $    176,372.45

Next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 at 6pm. 

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

Meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

            APPROVED BY:                                             SUBMITTED BY:



Brad Hooey, Mayor                                          Amie Vasichek, Auditor