WOW, can Oronoco Twp dig any deeper???

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on July 9, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

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Upon learning of some of the untoward, and perhaps unintentional and unknowing, but yet prohibited behavior of Oronoco Township, we filed this (and ANYONE can file an ex parte complaint, ANYONE) — do read the exhibit of what was said and encouraged at that meeting:

Laymen for Christ Ex Parte Complaint against Oronoco Twp

What I’d say, were I to learn of a client doing something like this, would be:

“Oh, I didn’t know about this, I certainly didn’t advise them to do this, and my Planning Commission member had no idea, nor did the Planning Commission or Town Board, we just had no clue, so please, Public Utilities Commission, let us know what if anything was sent directly to the Commissioners and let’s have a look at it, let’s have it taken out of the record, not to be considered by Commission, we’re SO SORRY this happened… we’re new at this PUC stuff”

Oh well… instead, what do we get?  WHEW, dig this:

Oronoco Township Response to Ex Parte Complaint

In this Response, Oronoco claims Laymen for Christ can’t file an ex parte Complaint because it’s not a party.

ANY PERSON MAY FILE A COMPLAINT.  Minn. Stat. 216A.047, Subd. 4(a).

In its Response, Oronoco states that we’re wrong in claiming the “attempt” is the violation.  But the rule specifically states that “attempted” contact is verboten, and the docket is pending, subject to ex parte rules, until the Commission decides on Motions for Reconsideration:

7845.7200 PROHIBITED EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONS.
Subpart 1. Communications with commissioners.

An ex parte communication, either direct or indirect, must not be made or attempted to be made between a commissioner and a party or a participant concerning:

A. a material issue during a pending contested case proceeding, from the date the matter is referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings until the commission issues its final order and the time to petition for reconsideration expires, or until the commission issues a final order responding to the petition for reconsideration, whichever is later;

How much clearer can the verboten nature of “attempt” be?  How much clearer can “until the commission issues a final order responding to the petition for reconsideration” be?  What part of Minn. R. 7845.7200 isn’t clear?

In the Complaint, we’re reasonable, and state, “It is unknown whether ex parte contact was solicited through other means or if direct ex parte contact was made by Oronoco Township, its agents or representatives” and request disclosure, specifically:

1. Disclosure and filing in eDockets of any and all ex parte staff and/or Commissioner reports, memos, or emails regarding Oronoco Township direct and/or indirect ex parte contact in this docket, to be filed in eDockets with “Ex Parte Contact”
identification in the area for document name;

2. Declaratory Order that Oronoco Township, the Oronoco Township Planning Advisory Commission, and OPAC member Javon Bea have violated the statutory and regulatory ex parte provisions; and

3. Order that communications to the Public Utilities Commission by the Oronoco Township Planning Advisory Commission, its individual members, and Oronoco Township residents regarding Reconsideration be stricken from the record, retaining for consideration by the Commission only those legitimate Oronoco Township filings by and through its counsel.

4. Such other sanctions deemed appropriate.

Are we asking for blood?  I don’t think so…

And rather than just admit and mea culpa, they instead press for sanctions under Minn. Stat. 549.211…

Woodland has attempted to create a nonexistent violation of the ex parte communication statute to harass and cause needless expense to Oronoco.  Alleging a nonexistent violation, which requires Oronoco to respond, is clearly done for an improper purpose.

Uh-huh… right… OK, fine, shall we bring in Rule 11?

Give me a break…

Filed this moments ago:

Laymen for Christ Reply to Oronoco Township’s Response to Ex Parte Complaint

I think it’s time to award another of these guys:

horsesassaward



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace