Whiskey River license denied, city hires new Parks & Rec dir.

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     With Milena Galliano, owner of Whiskey River Pub & Grub in Monticello, present during the Jan. 16 City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to deny renewal of Galliano’s liquor license. The license does expire on Jan. 31, 2017.

     City Administrator Doug Herman outlined a handful of pending criminal cases against Galliano and former owner Ryan Husmann, including the most recent in December. The pending charges stem from Jones and Dubuque counties. Herman also mentioned that one of the pending charges could result in a felony conviction.

     “A felony is an automatic revocation of the liquor license,” he said.

     The Iowa Alcohol Beverage Division (ABD) offers that the local authority, in this case the council, can consider a person’s good reputation as a factor of whether or not they should hold a liquor license.

     While some of the pending criminal charges have been ongoing within the court system, Herman indicated he does not see a likely resolution by the end of the month when the license is due to expire.

     In response to the recent incident involving Husmann and a patron at Whiskey River, Galliano offered that Husmann was not tending bar at the time, but was present as a patron.

     She said, as the owner, she has “done a lot of good” by starting a Toys For Tots drive, as well as a backpack donation program that benefits the Monticello schools.

     “There is a lot of good people don’t know about,” she said. “I want to be part of the community and promote the community.” Galliano said she is not responsible for the actions of others.

     With the denial of the liquor license, Herman said Galliano does have the option to appeal the decision to the ABD.

     “That could take a significant amount of time,” Herman indicated.

     When Council member Dave Goedken questioned the number of calls received by the police department, Chief Britt Smith said that the call volume has “significantly decreased.

     “It points back to one problem area,” added Smith, “and that continues to be a problem in my opinion.”

     Galliano said while she owns the establishment and handles all of the bookkeeping, Husmann manages and tends the bar.

     Moving on to another city matter, the council approved the hiring of Jacob Oswald as the director of Parks & Recreation.

     Oswald will start on/around March 1, with a starting salary of $48,000. He will have the same full-time benefits consistent with other city employees.

     Herman said it has been an ongoing process of creating two new jobs and redefining the job descriptions for the director and superintendent.

     A committee was put together to interview five candidates for the director job. The committee favored Oswald.

     Herman informed the council that current Parks & Rec Director Tami Bartram was offered the job of superintendent “without a change in current pay or benefits and has turned down the opportunity.” While the information presented to the council notes that Bartram will work until March 1 before resigning, Bartram does not agree with the term “resign.”

     Three candidates have been interviewed for the superintendent job, with a final decision expected before the Feb. 6 council meeting.

     “All have college degrees and some experience in the field,” Herman said.

In other city business:

     • The council approved the plans and specs and set a public hearing for the repainting and maintenance project on the city’s north water tower.

     A public hearing on the project will be held on Monday, Feb. 6 (the date within the public notice found elsewhere within this week’s Express is incorrect). The project’s early start date is May 1, with a completion date of Oct. 13, 2017, with six to 12 weeks of anticipated construction.

     • The council approved investments is Jones County Economic Development, $7,592; Jones County Tourism, $1,139; and Senior Dining, $3,900.

     • Samantha Clemen, a new city resident on E. Grand St., sent a letter to and spoke with the council regarding modifications to the city’s ban on the pit bull terrier breed. Clemen said she and her boyfriend come from towns that do not ban pit bulls, and wanted to bring one into their family for their children. She said with certain restrictions, she feels people might be more comfortable allowing them within city limits.

     “There are no bad dogs,” commented Mayor Dena Himes. “But there are bad owners.”

     Chief Smith suggested bringing in those associated with the new animal shelter for information on the subject. He said the shelter recently had a pit bull up for adoption and had a hard time finding someone to adopt the dog due to the city’s ban.

     “I’d definitely in favor of lifting the ban,” Smith offered, with some members of the council in the same boat.

     Those with comments on the subject are encouraged to contact their council members.


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