The Hastings City Council and city staff were both complimented and condemned Monday.
“I just want come out tonight to commend all members of the council and city staff for the job that was done this year; it was a tremendous, great year,” Hastings resident Mike Snyder said.
"The Christmas parade was something unbelievable, and all the activities, I know there’s been a lot of hard work and dedication and a lot of challenges for all of you, and I definitely want to thank you for all you’ve done, and I look forward to 2018.”
Christopher Geisert, chairman of the Hastings Dog Park Committee, was not there to praise the council. He charged dog park companions were “under attack” after the city manager and council inserted themselves into a dispute between the dog park and one individual who was making untrue accusations and bent on making trouble for the organization.
The council’s involving itself in the conflict has allowed one individual to bully and run roughshod over the committee, Geisert said. Several attempts to resolve the conflict with the woman in question resulted only in screaming, cursing and verbal abuse, he said.
Geisert said he was told the committee’s request for a change in the agreement with the city would not be a problem, but once in the meeting they were, “ambushed and hung out to dry,” by the council, and left with no chance for rebuttal of its decision to change the agreement without both sides agreeing to it.
So far, no council member has contacted any committee member to talk about the matter, he said.
“Reportedly, a Hastings Council member has been on social media telling people not to donate at the dog park, volunteer at dog park events or help the with the park in any way,” Geisert said. “This is all on social media.”
He detailed several accusations against the disaffected woman, including ignoring a cease and desist order and the possibility of defamation, among other charges, against her.
Outright lies, misinformation, false accusations of mismanagement and personal attacks are preventing the smooth operation of the dog park and causing people to avoid the park, he said.
There were no questions or comments from council members. Mayor Dave Tossava said the city served the required 90-day notice of termination of the agreement with the dog park committee in October, and on recommendation of city Attorney Stephanie Fekkes, will allow the termination to become effective on Jan. 16, 2018.
Fekkes said she would not go over the reasons for the termination previously aired in October, only that the city’s action is appropriate and, “in the best interest of city.”