Carol Overland - Legalectric

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Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 44 min 36 sec ago

Ex-Chief Pohlman’s statement last night

12 hours 1 min ago

Former Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman statement

President Norton, Council Members, and Mayor Wilson.  Thank you for the opportunity to restore my professional reputation with this name clearing hearing.

The purpose of this hearing is to restore my professional reputation and good name, both of which were damaged by the Red Wing City Council following the Special Meeting held on February 19, 2021.

I requested to attend that closed session meeting regarding “a proposed agreement and release of all claims” as stated in the meeting notice, but was denied; therefore, I was not given an opportunity to address your false claims. During this hearing, I will address 1) Inconsistency from paid administrative leave to termination; 2) Comments made by Council Member Brown in a Star Tribune interview; and 3) Comments made by Council President Norton in the termination letter and interview to media outlets.

Prior to discussing the events of the February 19th City Council meeting, we must back up to the February 8th City Council meeting.  I first learned from Administrator Kuhlmann at 3:00 PM that the Council wished to discuss my job performance. She advised me that I could request the meeting to be opened or closed.  Administrator Kuhlmann stated that during the previous year, a city employee was in a similar situation, and by keeping the meeting closed, the Council was able to develop a personal improvement plan for the employee and move forward successfully. 

I consulted with an attorney and we determined to leave the meeting closed.   

After the City Council adjourned on February 8th I received a telephone call from the Council Administrator and the City Attorney at approximately 10:00 PM. I recorded the phone conversation. In preparation for tonight’s hearing I listen to the recording several times, during which I was told repeatedly throughout the call that I was being placed on paid administrative leave for non-disciplinary reasons, and the City wishes to go a different direction.  I trusted what they told me. 

The Red Wing City Council created a false and defamatory impression about me in connection with my termination on February 19th. I was told repeatedly by City Attorney Amy Mace, during the February 8th call, that the paid administrative leave was for non-disciplinary reasons, and that if I did not resign, “Kay was authorized to terminate my employment” again for non-disciplinary reasons as the City wished

to go a different direction.  Trusting their words, I proceeded to move forward with my professional career.

The Red Wing City Council then contradicted their initial statement and on February 19th voted to terminate me for disciplinary reasons.  They also released the termination letter to the media, prior to my receipt of the notice. The  City did not redact my home address, but did redact the section of the letter which contained instructions for requesting a Veterans Preference hearing.

In short, the Council told the world, in a document dated February 19, 2021, that I was an untrustworthy person. That statement creates a false and defamatory impression of me, limiting my options for future career opportunities, including high-security clearance positions.

This letter also contained a totally different message than the initial “non-disciplinary, going a different direction” tone of February 8th.

It is my constitutional right to work and earn a living. The comments made by the Council damaged my professional standing and association in our community and the professional world.

The Council’s attempts to interfere with and micromanage the day-to-day operations of the police department caused additional damage to my professional reputation. In a June 2020, email to Administrator Kuhlmann, I stated that the City Council was inappropriately injecting themselves into police communications with the public.

As an example, a Council member took it upon herself to provide police policies to a group even though I had stated at the June 6th event that the policies would all be posted online at the Police Department website. As a result, citizens immediately began contacting council members instead of working with me, which hampered my ability to build positive relationships with members of this group.  I believe respectful, open communication is the best way to solve community problems.

Members of the Council have implied that I purposefully left them out of community meetings between citizens and the police. This is false. In fact, I fully implemented a process to involve Council members as stipulated in the Public Meeting Policy which was passed by the council on July 13, 2020. 

Coordination was demonstrated for the July 2nd community meeting, which emails show coordinating efforts as early as June 17th.

The simple fact is – the Council was always invited to neighborhood meetings, and once the policy was implemented, a process was in place to comply with the Public Meeting Policy.  I did express my concern to Administrator Kuhlmann that in certain situation this policy delays my community engagement efforts and gives community members the impression that I am slow to respond or that I don’t care.

Now let me continue with two examples of Council interference with building positive public relations and further damage to my reputation

The first example took place in July 2020, I expressed my concerns to my supervisor regarding a July 18th social media post from a City Council member on Facebook.  My concern was that several council members were possibly undermining my community policing efforts to work with all residents. Again, damaging my professional reputation within the community.

The second example occurred on September 4th when the Council President participated in an anti-police protest outside my residence, which occurred from approximately 9:00 PM to after Midnight. Later, when I asked the Council President concerning his presence at the protest, he stated he was there to keep the peace. What he failed to recognize or understand is that his presence condoned their actions and implied support for the message on their signs, again damaging my professional reputation.  

Now let me turn to my interaction with the Council regarding the “Advisory Team.”

On September 23, 2020, Administrator Kuhlmann and three Council members met with me to discuss the selection process of the officers for the Advisory Team. I explained why some officers that the Council wanted were not available. I explained the Department’s selection process of the two officers that were selected.

After reviewing the video of June 22nd City Council meeting and the June 29th Workshop. The Council did not state that they would be involved in picking the officers. Instead, I received guidance, noting that police would be at the table (equals) and at all meetings. That did not happen.

Moreover, based on guidance and direction that I received from the Council, our strategic plan for 2021 would heavily reflect the 2015 Presidential Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the 2020 MN Attorney General’s and DPS Commissioners Report from the Police Deadly Encounter Working Group, both of which provided

direction on improving relations within communities where those relationships are strained. The Police Department and I were also strong supporters of the City’s effort and involvement regarding the Government Alliance for Racial Equity.

Now to the question of prompt response to Council concerns.

Your statement that I did not respond to citizens or to council members in a timely manner is simply false.

Every week I responded to citizens’ questions in a weekly column entitled ‘Ask the Chief’ and did so for years. Also, my records reflect that not one phone call, email, or meeting request was unanswered or denied.  I cannot control voicemails that are not set up or full of messages and in some instances, I talked to the individual in person. Just because they did not agree with my response does not indicate that I did not respond to them.

My phone and email records also reflect countless communications with Council members. In fact, my phone logs show that since March of 2020 to February 2021 I spent approximately 4 hours on the phone with Council Member Brown and 6.4 hours on the phone with Council Member Norton. 

To be clear, my mandate was to communicate with the Council through my supervisor. Accordingly, I kept my supervisor current on police operations. If she chose not to update council, I supposed she had good reason.

Now to the issue of my performance evaluation.

The 2020 DRAFT evaluation was initially covered with me by Administrator Kuhlmann in early January.  The Council stated that they wanted input on all “officers of the council” evaluations and the Chief of Police was the first evaluation to be completed with this new input procedure from Council. 

Council President Norton justified my termination based on comments in this DRAFT evaluation. 

During my discussion with Administrator Kuhlmann, she stated that for 2020 she rated me an overall 4 out of possible 5.  Looking at the draft report that City Hall released (which the release is questionable, as it is a personnel document, and never finalized let me repeat never finalized) Administrator Kuhlmann had adjusted her rating to an average 3.7 out of possible 5 and the six City Council Members that submitted their comments to Administrator Kuhlmann had an average rating of 3.3 out of 5, just above average overall performance. 

2019 and prior year evaluations complimented me as an employee and made no reference to support Council Member Brown’s statement to the media that “this has been an issue for five years”.

Throughout the historically stressful year of 2020, I stayed true to the highest standards of professional conduct in service to ALL members of our community.

That brings me to the issue of trust.

I resent and deny your false allegations of untrustworthiness. 

To be clear, I was entrusted with the lives of 40 US soldiers’ and 200 Iraqi soldiers during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I brought every US soldier home.  I lead a Department that was authorized for 35 employees, and was entrusted with a budget of $5.1 million dollars, and every penny is accounted for. I am an honest and trustworthy person. 

I am a Christian, and I believe everyone is created in God’s image as stated in Genesis 1:27.  I treat everyone with kindness and respect and believe that laws and constitutional rights equally apply to ALL members of our community.

On June 6th I stood in central park to demonstrate unity among our police and community members and addressed questions for over 30 minutes.  Council Member Brown even stated in a social media post that “a moment blew my mind…when Chief of Police Roger Pohlman read a statement from (a local activist)”. 

Also, I have emails that reflect my belief in the potential value and efforts of working with the Advisory Team in reviewing Department Policy and improving our relationships, which was the original direction provided by Council in June 2020.  Through my implicit bias and equity training, I fully understand how important it is for all members of the community to be treated equally and fairly, and that is exactly what I attempted to do. I welcomed and support working on police reform. The Law Enforcement Profession can and needs to do better.

To close, the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides that no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The City of Red Wing failed to give me a meaningful opportunity to address the Council’s concerns. I was denied due process; therefore, the name clearing hearing is the best way to address your defamatory statements publicly. 

I have much more data but do not wish to cause “data fatigue” this evening. 

Thank you for the opportunity to address the inconsistency with my release of employment, and comments made against me by council members. Your public statements damaged my professional record which was stellar.

I also want to thank the residents of Red Wing for the opportunity to serve them. I kept my oath of office and you were always my top priority.  It was my honor.

Categories: Citizens

Soon… Freeborn Wind appeal

Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:37pm
Categories: Citizens

And even more transmission?

Sat, 04/10/2021 - 7:36pm

We’ve seen increased promotion of even more transmission, with claims it’s NEEDED, sorely needed, to reach renewable goals. What utter crap…

We’ve also seen “Grid North Partners” spreading their misinformation, working on making a “CapX 2050” happen.

Do we really need to do this AGAIN?!?!?!

Apparently, they think we do… sigh…

This appeared recently, an article linked to this blurb, and it’s disturbing:

March-2021_ACORE-HOW TRANSMISSION PLANNING & COST ALLOCATION PROCESSES ARE INHIBITING WIND & SOLAR DEVELOPMENT IN SPP, MISO, & PJMDownload

Right… read it and get ready for another decade long fight. I figure I’ve got that long and more, so let’s get to it! Are you ready?

Transition… transmission… transition… transmission…

Categories: Citizens

Name-clearing hearing?!?!

Wed, 04/07/2021 - 1:11pm

Just when you think it can’t get any weirder… I know, never say, never even THINK that it can’t get weirder…

I’m going to suggest this be pay-per-view, and that they allow public comment (DONE!). We’d have hours and hours of entertainment.

Categories: Citizens

Charter Commission meeting

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 10:11am

VIDEO OF CHARTER COMMISSION MEETING

Agenda with links to attachments

A background Legalectric post:

“Recall” on Charter Commission agenda?!?

So I sent this missive to all, being oh-so-transparent with the ask and intent:

I then sent background info to support the request for recusal of Kent Laugen, Ernie Stone, and Shelley Pohlman, which was added to the agenda #11 documents. These primary documents are the Recall petition with Stone, Laugen (and Rehder) named; the Campaign Financial Report and Amended Report with contributions from Stone and Pohlman; a “Recall City Hall” flyer posted on Pohlman’s Red Wing Minnesota News page; and Post Bulletin article with quotes from Recall principals Ernie Stone and Kent Laugen:

Attachment – Email from C. Overland

I was told, “we will not be adding your requested item to the agenda as your concerns could be brought up under item 11.” You can see how that went.

No problem, if that’s what it takes to get it off the agenda, well, that’s what it takes.

Ultimately, yes, it was tabled. Good. However, the conflict issue was not addressed, and it should be if there are items relating to “recall” on the agenda. Note also that the changes to Charter 5.17 were not “technical changes” to align with the statute, but were substantive changes eliminating the run-off provision, something which needs to be discussed.

And did I mention that Ernie Stone said he’d talked to the City Attorney about me and my questioning of Shelley Pohlman at the last meeting? Wish I were a fly on that wall! Guess he doesn’t think I should challenge her false statements, documented, on refugee resettlement, and her claims of “conflict of interest” of County Commissioner Flanders. Oh well. Those false statements and pot-stirring continue with the recall effort.

Three new Charter Commission members were approved. In the section in the beginning where Peggy Rehder had applied, and was approved, there’s material background that was ignored. Rehder was voted in despite the 2018 formal complaint against her when she was on the City Council, the investigation, which resulted in the Council’s resolution that she participate in mediation with Marshall Hallock, and a firm directive that her out-of-bounds behavior not occur again. She resigned prior to mediation even being scheduled. What has changed to address these behavioral issues? That was not answered.

Watch the 4/23/2018 City Council video of Council deliberation and decision.

Something this serious should be addressed. It wasn’t. Instead, discussion was blocked, putting blinders on to a demonstrated problem.

In discussion of the other two applicants, Shelley Pohlman (a/k/a/ Rena Marsh) demanded to know if the names were their legal names! Shelley then wanted to know of Bjornstad was a member of League of Women Voters or AAUW! (I am not now nor have I ever been a member of…) Bjornstad noted that she was too young, maybe in a few years (SNORT!), but that she was a 5th grade civics teacher for a few years. Kent Laugen was wanting to know if they would be loyal to the Charter Commission, not the City Council, which was weird, questioning their integrity and ethics. Shelley questioned Greg Bolt about his “conflict of interest” because he is a pastor and the Council President is a parishioner, and his role in her election (he marched in a parade with a sign and something else inconsequential). Three people voted against Bolt!

Also, there was discussion of a comment made at the last meeting by Alan Muller, who thought there should be a requirement that committees of the Council be subject to the same charter provisions as the Council, and they asked about that, he was there at the meeting, raised his hand electronically, was ignored, I noted he was there, but they did not acknowledge him to address their questions to him directly. That was weird.

The rest of the meeting was a typical Charter Commission meeting…

Oh, and there is also supposed to be a public comment period at the beginning of each meeting which was not there this time, and I’ve requested that this be in the boilerplate agenda.

Categories: Citizens

“Recall” on Charter Commission agenda?!?

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 10:06am

There’s a Charter Commission meeting next week – TUNE IN on Channel 6:

Red Wing Charter CommissionMar 31, 2021 – 06:00 PMAgenda

And look what’s on the agenda (click for larger version):

Here’s what’s at issue:

BFD? Well, not really, because there are at least three people on the Charter Commission who are championing the “Recall City Hall” effort.

So I sent this missive out as notice and request that I want to add an agenda item to the “Approve Agenda” section:

To which Shelley Pohlman, Queen of Conflict of Interest in this recall matter, replied, 7 minutes later:

“This an open meeting violation.”

It’s pretty basic — can’t have people involved in an active (though likely doomed) recall effort voting on changes to the Charter regarding recall!!

Active recall… yeah, it’s a stretch, because there’s a high bar for a recall petition, and after that, a high bar in the number of signatures required:

There’s roughly 2,500 registered voters per ward, twice that where two wards are combined, and roughly 10,000 registered voters for the “at large” Council seat…

Let’s do the math… if they want to recall all but Beise.. SNORT! How many registered voters in that councilor’s ward(s) are needed?

  • Hove – Wards 1 & 2 = 5,249, 20% = 1,049
  • Klitzke – Ward 2 = 2,575, 20% = 515
  • Norton – Ward 3 = 2,617, 20% – 523
  • Buss – Ward 4 = 2,424, 20% = 484
  • Brown – Wards 3 & 4, 20% = 5,041
  • Stinson – At Large – All Wards 9,905, 20% = 1,981

I can’t see them gathering 500, 1,000 or 2,000 voters’ signatures, but there it is, they can do it, it’s clearly allowed in the City Charter, and they’re at least being press hounds, though no evidence of a Petition yet, so get your popcorn and have a seat…

They’ve formed a “Committee to Recall City Hall” and here’s their first report:

Campaign-Financial-Report-Committee-to-Recall-City-Hall-PDFDownload

Note the large anonymous donations?

Anonymous donations – NOT OK!! The rules clearly state that:

It’s stated pretty clearly… “This itemization must include name, address, employer or occupation if self-employed, amount and date for these contributions.”

Nope, folks active in a recall effort shouldn’t be participating in discussion or voting on Charter Commission recall provision language change.

And then there’s the recall effort itself — folks not wanting to accept that they lost by an “overwhelming majority” vote of 6-1 to fire Roger Pohlman. Just no, what a waste of time, effort, and money. Lots of distractivism, pot-, and outright lies. Lies? Yes, look at this and note the misstated order of things:

Here’s a link to the Pohlman support “petition.”

Above, from Shelley Pohlman’s “Red Wing Minnesota News” page, she states, “In response, citizens presented the counsel with a petition with more than 250 names…” “In response” isn’t true. The properties in the WORD version presented to the City show that the “Petition” was begun on February 17, and last saved and given to the City on February 19, BEFORE he was fired, yet the Petition was demanding Pohlman be “reinstated immediately.” The petition was not delivered to the City “in response” as stated above. Why the misrepresentation? Ummmm… yes, really, BEFORE he was fired. What information were they acting on when they put this “Petition” together and solicited names? Who was soliciting “signers” for this “Petition” before he was fired? What information were those ~250 people who “signed” given? Were they told that Pohlman was applying to be Chief in Lakefield, MN?

Potential for Pohlman to be fired? He knew there were issues, issues that had been raised before. Here are two documents from his 2020 evaluation, retrieved with a Data Practices Act Request to City:

2020 Officer Eval-Chief_PublicDownload 2020 Police Chief Eval DRAFT_PublicDownload

And the termination letter:

Letter-to-Roger-Pohlman-February-19-2021-RedactedDownload

Looks to me like ~250 people were played. Pohlman knew this was coming. Someone(s) struck up the band, got the bandwagon rolling, folks jumped on, and they didn’t have the full story. Over and over, as above, they’re continuing to parrot lines that Pohlman wasn’t given time to speak? The potential of firing was not new to Pohlman, and he was represented by counsel, wasn’t he?

Saying that “taxpaying Red Wing citizens were shut out of the meeting” is bizarre. What does that mean, shut out? Employee matters are confidential, is that CONFIDENTIAL closed session what they wanted “open” contrary to state law? Is it that they didn’t attend the open zoom meeting where the Council acted? I’ve heard that some wanted an “OPEN UP” meeting, and IN PERSON meeting, at City Hall where the doors were open and people could attend in person, and that this was denied. Is this what they’re referring to? Let’s get this clarified!

Ya say ya wanna do a recall, and I say, “NO NO NO!” There’s no legal basis for a recall. This is a PR push, and a sham. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Categories: Citizens

Ft. DuPont campground?

Wed, 03/24/2021 - 8:20pm

The other day, while hanging out over pizza, REAL pizza, at the DNREC park where we used to run the doggies…

MOV00166 – At Delaware City Park

MOV00165 – At Delaware City Park

MOV00164 – At Delaware City Park

MOV00163 – At Delaware City Park

MOV00162 – At Delaware City Park – check Ken running!

MOV00161 – At Delaware City Park – Look at them go!

And now they want to wreck this park with an RV parking lot.

I realized yesterday that I’d not posted about this dreadful idea:

Here’s the powerpoint with the “preliminary plan” from August, 2019. There’s no final plan in the Delaware City Council’s Agenda or Minutes.

Blue Water’s Proposed 422-Site Del. Proj. Receives OK

Delaware City Council okays controversial RV campground near Fort DuPont State Park

Given the water table, I cannot imagine what they intend to do with the sewage from that many sites.

Despite that approval, I don’t see any sign of construction starting. There were dump trucks up and down the road, but they went to the C&D canal and then headed east!

Categories: Citizens