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Flag etiquette in Burnsville 2016Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News June 23, 2016 reports:

By John Gessner Jun 23, 2016

City will seek volunteers to help comply with flag code

Fred Ferris attended military school in junior high, served on his high school color guard and was an honor guard member at the dedication of the Eisenhower Presidential Museum on Veterans Day 1954.

The Burnsville resident knows his way around the U.S. Flag Code, the guiding federal document on flag etiquette. He wishes his city followed its advisory rules as much as he honors them.

For more than a decade Ferris, 76, has chafed at what he calls routine breaches of U.S. flag etiquette at city facilities — particularly entire weekends when flags are flown at half-staff instead of the during the code’s prescribed times, such as sunrise to noon on Memorial Day, a city holiday.

Officials say that without paying overtime, the city doesn’t have workers available to raise and lower flags at nine city locations at all the times specified in the code.

“It would have to be an overtime expense” costing about $40 to $45 an hour, said Terry Schultz, Burnsville’s parks, recreation and natural resources director.

But the city now plans to recruit volunteers to bolster its efforts to meet flag code guidance. A new flag policy approved Tuesday by the City Council doesn’t guarantee perfect compliance but says the city will seek volunteers to manage flags on city property with the goal of meeting “the explicit interpretation of flag etiquette whenever possible,” according to a staff report.

Ferris can get a little misty talking about the U.S. flag. He and a friend, Burnsville resident Tom Anderson, got the council’s attention on the issue and an impromptu spot on the council’s June 14 work session agenda.

“I was in the military a couple of years,” said Anderson, who served stateside in the Army from 1966 to 1968. “I think it does something to you, I think it does something good to you, meaning it creates a love for country that you don’t have before that. It did for me, anyway.”

In addition to his formal flag training, Ferris said he was influenced by his father, a stickler for flag etiquette. Overtime costs shouldn’t be a factor, Ferris said.

“Think about General Patton, when he took his tank group out of France into Belgium during a blizzard, and he said there was no way physically he could do this,” Ferris said. “He got there and he intercepted the Germans and he went through a blizzard overnight to get there.

“He didn’t worry about, ‘Well, damn, we can’t do it ’til Monday because I don’t have overtime.’ What it comes down to is, those guys put their life on the line so we could fly that flag. To me, that’s where it’s at.”

The city never intended to disrespect the flag, and it’s generally accepted that flag-flying organizations aren’t considered disrespectful if they don’t precisely comply with the code, Schultz said.

“The interest on the part of everybody, including these gentlemen, is to stay as close as we can on the very explicit directions on how to raise and lower the flag and the timing of that,” he said.

The nine city properties that fly flags are City Hall, fire stations 1 and 2 (which are staffed around the clock by firefighter-paramedics), Alimagnet and Lac Lavon parks (which fly flags on a seasonal basis), the Ames Sculpture in the Heart of the City, Bicentennial Garden at 130th Street and Nicollet Avenue, and the maintenance facility a block north of McAndrews Road.

“The policy basically says if we can get volunteers, then we will follow the letter of the explicit instructions,” Schultz said. “But short of that we’ll have staff do it as their schedule allows. In the case of the fire stations, their schedule allows them to follow it very closely.”

The code calls for flying flags at half-staff from sunrise to noon on Memorial Day, the last Monday in May. Four other days are reserved for half-staff from sunrise to sunset: Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15; Patriot Day, Sept. 11; National Firefighters Memorial Day, the first Sunday in October; and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Dec. 7.

Deaths of some high federal officials and orders of the president or the governor can also cause flags to be flown at half-staff. Burnsville flies the U.S., Minnesota and city flags; the MIA/POW flag is also flown at Bicentennial Gardens and Nicollet Commons Park.

Ferris kept track at eight city locations on Memorial Day and Peace Officers Memorial Day last month. By his count, only the two fire stations properly limited the half-staff hours on Memorial Day, and only Fire Station 2 did so on Peace Officers Memorial Day.

The new flag policy changes the city’s response to presidential and gubernatorial flag pronouncements. Now, any time the president or governor orders federal or state flags to half-staff, the city will follow, Schultz said. Before, the city lowered flags only when proclamations included passages encouraging everyone to follow them, he said.

Ferris said he’s willing to volunteer to raise and lower flags just as he did a decade or more ago — the first time he complained to city officials. He said he was given keys to gain access to flagpole ropes and told to raise and lower flags only when the city called on him.

He was called once to the Ames Sculpture and once to Bicentennial Gardens and didn’t hear from the city again, Ferris said.

“If they call me, I’ll go move a flag, and I’m sure I can go out and find enough volunteers to do it,” he said. “If I get four of us, because I would like to have two people at each site, I can do two sites. There’s people out there that would do this.”
Dan Gustafson 2016Dan Gustafson for City Council 2016 brochure. Dan Gustafson was elected to the Burnsville City Council in 2005, 2008 and again in 2016. Members of the Council serve the community at-large. The term of office is four years.
City Hall/Police Department expansion 2017Members of the Burnsville City Council, contractors and City staff pose after the City Hall/Police Department Groundbreaking on June 6.
Basket Ball hoop near the GarageOn the City Hall/Police Station campus there are two basketball hoops next to the "Garage".
Buck Thorn eating goats 2019The buckthorn-eating goats are back in Burnsville. This time, they're munching on buckthorn at Rudy Kraemer Nature Preserve on Chowen Avenue South.

If you’d like to see the goats, take the wood chip trail that starts on the west side of the main preserve parking lot. The goats are expected to be on site for at least one more week.

Please note that a section of the trail loop may be flooded so you may have to go out and back the same way. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
Buck Thorn eating goats 2019The buckthorn-eating goats are back in Burnsville. This time, they're munching on buckthorn at Rudy Kraemer Nature Preserve on Chowen Avenue South.

If you’d like to see the goats, take the wood chip trail that starts on the west side of the main preserve parking lot. The goats are expected to be on site for at least one more week.

Please note that a section of the trail loop may be flooded so you may have to go out and back the same way. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
Burnsville again recognized in GreenStep Cities program 2019The Burnsville Bulletin, Fall 2019 reports - the City of Burnsville received a certificate for continuing participation at a Step 5 in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program at the League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference.
Community Builders 2019City of Burnsville Community Builders Awards presented November 4, 2019.
Heather JohnstonBurnsville City Manager 2013 - 2018. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
City Manager Heather Johnston resigning 2018May 23, 2018 Burnsville Sun/Thisweek News reports:

Johnston has been Burnsville manager for five years

Putting family first, Burnsville City Manager Heather Johnston announced her resignation just days before the City Council was set to approve her new contract and a 3 percent raise.

For now, Johnston said she wants to spend more time with her children, 15-year-old Simon and 13-year-old Tasha.

“I’ve been told by many parents of teenagers that as soon as the 16-year-old gets their license, you’ll never see them,” said Johnston, 47, whose son is taking drivers education this summer. “I think I was feeling a little like this was my last opportunity to have time with just the two of them.”

The February death of a close friend of similar age from multiple myeloma added a “life-is-too-short wake-up call,” said Johnston, who lives in Eagan with her husband, Jason Koch.

“I was taking my work home with me and wasn’t giving my family my best self,” said Johnston, who came to Burnsville in 2011 as chief financial officer and administrative services director and was promoted to city manager in April 2013. “I feel they deserve that. So that’s what I’m going to do this summer.”

Though her May 18 announcement in a letter to city employees took many observers by surprise, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said Johnston had previously confided her family concerns.

“I understand,” the mayor said.

The council is expected to accept Johnston’s resignation on June 5. Her last day of work is June 15. The council will appoint an interim city manager and plan the search for Johnston’s replacement, Kautz said.

The council had been scheduled to vote May 22 on a new contract with a $170,970 annual salary.

“We’re going to miss her,” Council Member Dan Kealey said. “We’re going into budget season” for 2019. “She’s always gotten very high marks for financial management, even before she was a city manager.”

With two kids likely to attend college, Johnston said she’ll rejoin the workforce at some point.

“You cannot blame someone for putting family before business and career,” Kealey said. “Heather is a very talented woman, and when she decides to get back into the workforce I’m sure she’ll have absolutely no problem landing a great, great job with whoever she pursues.”

City accomplishments during Johnston’s tenure as manager include this year’s completion of a $10 million police station overhaul and upgrades to City Hall, according to Kautz.

The draft of a new comprehensive plan to guide the city through 2040 was also finished this year. And, Kautz said, Johnston has been a key player in continuing efforts with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and others to clean up the old Freeway Landfill west of Interstate 35W and reclaim some of the land for development.

“We’re not completed with that,” Kautz said.

Citing other accomplishments, Johnston said the city is replacing every water meter in town and launching new economic development initiatives. But she said she’ll miss being around for a city website redesign.

Burnsville’s long-term finances are strong, said Johnston, who in 2015 and 2016 served a year as president of the Government Finance Officers Association, which has 19,300 members in the United States and Canada. She came to Burnsville from Minneapolis, where she headed the city’s Management and Budget Division.

Burnsville CFO to be promoted to City Manager 2013The May 7, 2013 Burnsville Patch reports that after 32 applications, three hours of interviews, it took the Burnsville City Council less than 10 minutes to select Heather Johnston as its new city manager. She was Burnsville's Chief Financial Officer.
Burnsville City Hall 2019Creative camera photo of Burnsville City Hall Council chambers, 2019.
Burnsville City Hall 2019A black and white view of the Burnsville City Council view of the audience.
Expansion at City HallSummer, 2017 works begins on the expansion of the Burnsville City Hall/Police station complex.
Jen Desrude hired as Burnsville's new city engineer 2018The Fall 2018 Burnsville Bulletin introduces Jen Desrude, our new city engineer.
Upgrades for elections 2018The Burnsville Bulletin Fall 2018. With changes to technology there are advancements for the 2018 elections featured in this story.
Burnsville City Hall 2018Entry to the Burnsville Mayor and City Council office.
Burnsville City HallThe entry to the Burnsville City Hall following the 2018 remodeling.
Burnsville - you belong hereA image campaign proposed by the City of Burnsville 2019.
Impressions on Ice 40th anniversary 2017The Burnsville Ice Center's annual impressions on Ice Skating Show is April 28 and 29, 2018. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the show and will feature numbers from each show throughout the past four decades.
Charlie CrichtonIn Memory of Charlie Crichton, long serving member of the Burnsville City Council, 1992 - 2011.

A devoted public servant, Charlie loved dogs and balanced budgets in roughly equal measure.

This memorial plaque and bolder with the face and history of the late Burnsville City Council member Charlie Crichton was unveiled on June 5, 2012 in Alimagnet Dog Park.
I love Burnsville 2019From the City of Burnsville's Facebook Page, July 2019.

THANK YOU to the more than 800 people who responded to our recent “I Love Burnsville because ___________.” community survey. Between the survey, engagement at recent events and personal interviews/meetings – more than 1,400 people provided feedback about what makes Burnsville, “Burnsville.”

A quick glimpse at responses showed the most common “favorite thing about Burnsville” was the City’s many parks, green space and greater natural environment – all within close proximity to the Twin Cities and urban amenities. Do you agree? Another top response was the affordability of living here.

The City will be using this feedback to help shape the future image and messaging of Burnsville, with a goal of attracting new businesses and residents to the community. Look for more opportunities and information in the coming months.
I love Burnsville 2019From the City of Burnsville's Facebook page, June, 2019.

We heard from a lot of people at Saturday's #BackToThe80s car show and food truck rally – but we want to hear from you! Good, great, bad or ugly – we want your feedback to help determine what makes Burnsville, “Burnsville.” What is the community’s personality? Why do people choose to live or work here? What are people’s favorite things to do? What could be improved?

The survey deadline has been extended so please take the two-minute survey before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 21.

Feel free to invite neighbors and friends to provide their input as well -- the survey is open to residents and non-residents. http://bit.ly/BvilleCommunitySurvey
Party on the Plaza 2019Party on the Plaza, June 2019, photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
Burnhaven Burnsville Library 2017Random photos of the interior of the Burnsville Library 2017.
Burnhaven Burnsville Library 2017Random photos of the Burnsville library 2017.
Burnhaven Burnsville Library 2017Random photos of the Burnsville Library 2017.
Burnhaven Burnsville Library 2017Random photos of the Burnsville Library 2017.
Burnhaven Burnsville Library 2017Random photos of the interior of the library 2017.
Burnsville Maintenance FacilityLocated on McAndrews Road and County Road 11.
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