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Schaunaman Backers Say Inherent Goodness of All Aberdonians and Mob Rule Obviate Need for Rules Against Conflicts of Interest

In this week’s sign of Trumpist asininity infecting Aberdeen, Senator Al Novstrup makes a rambling speech about Plymouth Rock, then tells the Aberdeen City Council that we don’t need to talk about a conflict-of-interest ordinance that might cut into Mayor Travis Schaunaman’s business because “we’re all good people“:

“This was about 10 years ago, but I still remember what she said. When we landed on Plymouth Rock, wouldn’t it have been great if before we landed, we made the decision as to how we’re going to do sales tax, property tax, TIFs, etc. Because once we got off the boat one guy became a farmer, one became an attorney, and once we did that we started to protect our turf with the different taxes,” Novstrup said, noting that since everyone’s “turf” has been established, it’s almost impossible not to have bias….

“My closing marks are we don’t need this discussion, we’re all good people,” Novstrup said [Shannon Marvel, “Aberdeen City Council: First Reading of Conflict-of-Interest Ordinance Passes {paywall},” Aberdeen American News, 2019.10.01].

If we’re all good people, I take it Senator Novstrup will go back to Pierre and take back his votes against legalizing industrial hemp, because, hey! we’re all good people! We’re none of us going to try to grow some smokin’-weed amidst our hemp plants and sell it to little kids to gateway them into buying our meth. None of us, praise Jesus!

In response to a suggestion from Councilman Dennis “Mike” Olson that the crowd of anti-ordinance, pro-conflict-of-interest Schaunamaniacs at Monday’s meeting might not accurately represent the general public’s sentiment about clear and rigorous ordinances preventing elected officials from cashing in on their positions, Aberdeen lawyer David Fransen indicated that winning an election authorizes the mayor to do anything he wants:

David Fransen, an attorney in Aberdeen, then spoke to the council in response to Olson’s comments.

“The only thing I’d like to say in the discussion here about the citizens who do the voting, this mayor defeated a sitting mayor by a margin of two to one. It wasn’t even close” [Marvel, 2019.10.01].

Novstrup expressed a similar sentiment, saying any concerns about conflicts of interest should be handled by letters to the editor and elections… or in other words, mob rule, at least as long as the mob consists of a majority of Al and Travis’s people.

Not yet succumbing to Schaunamaniac pressure for the full implementation of Trumpism in city government and local civic discourse, Councilman Olson said that giving up any business interests with the government when one is elected to govern is the right thing to do, and he has done exactly that:

Councilman Dennis “Mike” Olson said if it were his decision solely, he would not want to take any taxpayer dollars because of his position as council member.

“I just feel that’s wrong,” Olson said.

“I don’t want my involvement in receiving taxpayer dollars as a council member to influence my decision. So I’m against anyone on this council receiving any taxpayer dollars for anything we’re involved in,” Olson said. “I sacrificed that when I accepted that position as council member when Laure Swanson resigned. Because she wanted her family business to prosper in the city of Aberdeen.

“It was a very honorable thing she did,” Olson continued. “I had been doing some consulting work for the city prior to my (being) appointed to the council, and I realized at that moment I could no longer be involved with any city business in the future.

“Whenever the public has to question our motive or action we take, or conduct that we’re involved in, it should give rise to all of us to do something to correct that. So I’m very in favor of this; it’s going to allow things that state law allows, so I’m going to support this and there will be many amendments, I’m sure.”

…“I’m just saying I’m not personally in favor of any member of this council receiving taxpayer dollars in any form or fashion, so it has no impact on our decision making,” Olson said [Marvel, 2019.10.01].

The City Council leaned Olson’s way, with every present member voting to approve first reading. Conservative rookie councilman Joshua Rife wasn’t there to resist, and  Mayor Schuanaman, who asked city finance officer Karl Alberts from the mic if he had fallen asleep listening to the hour-plus debate on the conflict-of-interest ordinance, apparently was just projecting and had sleepily lost track of what he was voting on. When the mayor tried desperately to retcon the debate and stall what he takes as a political attack on him personally by saying they had only voted on an amendment, not first reading of the full ordinance, clear-eyed finance officer Alberts read back the record of the motion. So corrected, Mayor Schaunaman curtly stated, “I would like to amend my vote, if it’s not to late, to a No. Still passes.”

The Aberdeen City Council will take up this ordinance for second reading (second, Travis, second) at its October 15 meeting.


  1. David Newquist 2019-10-02

    “Government is instituted for the common good: for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.” John Adams

    Good to know that some of the council members seem to understand the founders.

  2. Richard Schriever 2019-10-02

    The Aberdeen mayor gets a vote outside of as a tie breaker? First time I’ve seen that in SD city government. Mayor only gets to vote to break a tie is the standard. What does the Aberdeen ordinance say?

  3. David Newquist 2019-10-02

    Aberdeen Code

    2.03.(a) (2) Upon election of the new council after adoption of this charter, the mayor would not vote except in cases of a tie.

  4. Richard Schriever 2019-10-02

    Evidently The good Mayor has no understanding of his job on yet another level. How can he possibly honor his oath to faithfully uphold the ordinances – if he doesn’t know what they are – not even in relation to his own job’s requirements?

  5. Debbo 2019-10-02

    Nostrap is All Crap. Slimy Al. Ugh.

    Aberdeen needs fewer Schaunamans and Nostraps and more Mike Olsons and the other council members who voted for the ordinance.

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