Did the Sioux Falls Fire Department attain accreditation due to (former) fire division chief Patrick Warren?


Fire Division Chief, Patrick Warren accepts the Accreditation with the Center for Public Safety Excellence representatives.

As you may well know, Fire Division Chief, Patrick Warren was terminated almost two years ago for misconduct while suffering from mental illness. But after two years, his accomplishments still keep popping up. In fact, the mayor went as far as claiming a couple of the Top Wins for 2015 were due to such great leadership at the SFFD;

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue was presented with ISO Class 1 designation and accreditation with the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Patrick Warren was the accreditation manager on the department for 8 years and successfully got the department reaccredited twice – including this last time they’re counting as a win. When Pat went to the conference in Henderson, NV to accept the award, Sideras supposedly ASKED to him “Do I really need to be there?” Pat told him no, technically he wasn’t required to be there but he was the only fire chief that chose not to be there out of the dozen or so departments that were being accredited or reaccredited. So the Commissioners set up a conference call and made Sideras sit on the phone during the reaccreditation board hearing.

One of Pat’s other duties was ISO compliance. On the City’s last review, the SFFD missed getting an upgraded rating by just a couple of points. Pat knew that opening a new station would be enough to improve our rating. When Mayor Huether finally allowed construction, Pat arranged for the land purchase, made it through station design, and the week after the ground breaking Patrick was terminated. But the ball was rolling, and we were going to improve our ISO rating once the station opened.

One of the items accreditation is based on is response times and improving those response times. In 2013 and 2014, the fire department responded to 90% of its emergency calls (travel time) in 5 minutes 0 seconds and 5 minutes 3 seconds respectively. With the addition of a new station and and another crew, they should be able to at least hold steady on that number if not improve it slightly.

But in a strange twist, Chief Sideras set a goal of 5 minutes 12 seconds. In the accreditation manual it states that is the slowest time you can meet and still be accredited. But what he seems to not understand is the self-improvement process of accreditation. If the department is meeting 5m3s, and he sets a goal of 5m12s, the department will be deemed “not credible” and be required to change that goal to realistic goal. Accreditation is about setting new goals when you reach the existing ones, not setting ones you’ve already met so you can easily meet them and boast about your easy victory.

The chief did the same thing with the ISO measurement of fire loss. In 2013 there was $2.5 million in property damage/loss and in 2014 $3.1 million in property damage/loss. So what did Sideras set as a goal for 2015 and 2016?  Less than $4.4 million. That’s a pretty big increase. Once again another easy goal for another easy win.

If they’re going by ISO and accreditation, I feel like a couple of people mentioned above owe the former fire division chief a big THANK YOU on some very BIG WINS!

Other people besides Warren worked on accreditation also (Battalion Chiefs and the Data Analyst). One of the Battalion Chiefs also happened to be the only other one who knew anything about ISO and helped Warren with it, Mark Bukovich. He’s also the only one who would have known to call ISO and have them come back for the re-scoring the department after the station opened. But I guess when you’re the CHIEF/MAYOR you get to take all the credit.

Former Fire Division Chief Patrick Warren contributed to this article.

Another Candidate for Sioux Falls City Council, Northwest District


Erin Srstka is the JDAI Coordinator for Minnehaha County.

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

Mayor Huether must not get out much or read state news, it seems development is popping all over the state;

BOOM! In Yankton!

BOOM! In Rapid City!

BOOM! In Mitchell!

BOOM! In Spearfish!


The Event Center Change Order Gobbly Gook


Another fine city of Sioux Falls government document

As the Argus Leader reports today, they have attained 27 pages of change orders from the city on the Events Center (you can go over there and try to decipher the fun stuff). There are some things missing though.

No beginning costs on the change orders (for instance, the siding is only listed as warranty)

What was the original estimate on the siding? What was the final ‘changed’ price.

While Mortenson made 2.25% commission on building the place (over $2 million) There are no records of what subcontractors who were in direct business made/shared with Mortenson. In other words some of the subcontractors may have shared profits with Mortenson since they may have been in a business partnership together. Finance office, Tracy Turbak with the city mumbled about this on the SuFuStu show saying something to the effect of, “We don’t know what those numbers are.”

While it is all fine and dandy we got these documents, they are just the tip of the iceberg.

UPDATE: Is the Make-A-Wish foundation moving away from Hot Harley Nights?

Dear Scott,

On behalf of Make-A-Wish South Dakota, I would like to assure you that our relationship with J&L Harley-Davidson and Hot Harley Nights is stronger than ever. We are fortunate as an organization to have such a great community partner that collectively has raised more than $2.25 million over the last 20 years to help make wishes come true for kids facing life-threatening medical conditions across the state. Hot Harley Nights is supported by many businesses and organizations in Sioux Falls as well. The community comes together for a fun regional event, while also helping us toward our vision of granting every eligible child’s wish.

We are also excited to be partnering with Maxwell’s Food Equipment, another great community supporter who believes in our mission and wants to make a difference in the lives of kids. We like the boldness of Aaron Montecuello and others involved as they strive to raise $1 million over the next few years. He approached us wanting to partner with Make-A-Wish because he, like everyone involved with Hot Harley Nights, believes in our mission and want to give back to help others.

Both of these events are planned by outside committees and community members with good intentions in mind. We are fortunate to live in an area where businesses and individuals give back to nonprofits, such as Make-A-Wish, but also the hundreds of other local charities. You just have to look at the recent results of the Sioux Empire United Way Campaign to know that people here care deeply about helping others. Your article is puzzling as most nonprofits have several events and partnerships throughout the year and Make-A-Wish is proud to partner with both.

Please join us at either event this year – Maxwell’s Million Dollar Dream is May 14 and Hot Harley Nights is July 7-10 – and join us in helping to make more wishes come true!

Paul R. Krueger
President and CEO
Make-A-Wish South Dakota

Maxwell Food Equipment is jumping in the game of charity fundraising for Make-A-Wish;

The goal is to raise a million dollars through fundraising events over the next two to three years. Those will include huge family fun events, like the one comin gup on May 14 with food trucks and a food battle. Montecuollo said private donations are also accepted, which people can give by contacting him at Maxwell Food Equipment. He says he’ll keep raising money as long as he can and doesn’t foresee his relationship with Make-A-Wish ever ending.

A family focused event to raise money for the organization is a great idea, but one has to ask, with such a big event like Hot Harley Nights, does Make-A-Wish have the energy to endorse both?

It’s no secret that many people are NOT a fan of Hot Harley Nights, while many support raising money for a worthy cause, the beer soaked event (coined as the 2nd Sturgis by organizers) rattles house windows for three days in our town and has been criticized by many because J & L Harley Davidson uses the Make-A-Wish endorsement to raise (profit from) thousands of dollars privately in various events and sales at the dealership, while giving just a portion of the lion’s share to the organization.

Not sure if there has been a falling out between the two organizations, but I do know that J & L recently teamed up with Badlands Pawn for some other events around Sturgis and maybe J & L bailed on the charity instead of the other way around?

I guess time will tell.

Acting like a ‘retard’ apparently not against the law


Apparently, councilor Johnson eats a lot of turkey. That’s not against the law either.

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I was skeptical of what laws former Hartford councilor Doyle Johnson may have broken by making up emails that said offensive things about his special needs son and didn’t mention a specific name, or for that matter a fictitious name of who authored them;

Johnson admits he altered that letter to read in part:

“I would like to think you cannot be more *expletive* than your son, but it certainly doesn’t seem that way.”

Johnson read the letter at a city council meeting on December 1st, and added an additional six other sentences to the email, including another referring to his own special needs son.

Minnehaha County States Attorney Aaron McGowan says while Johnson’s actions show “dishonesty and poor judgment” they do not fall within criminal statutes regarding false entries into a public record and it will not yield any prosecutorial merit to forth any criminal charges.

Did he lie during a public meeting? Sure he did, but if we had to start filing charges every time an elected official lied during a public meeting, our courts would be busy. I think the term ‘Grain of Salt’ applies here, as with most politicians when they have ridiculous rants like this.

BTW, anyone who would concoct such a rant (disparaging their own son) for sympathy doesn’t need to see a court room, they need to see a head doctor.

Nominate ME to be the Next President of the Washington Pavilion


Hey, who better then me to run the joint? I worked in the Great Hall, I had a show in the Visual Arts Center (and been in joint shows). As a board member of the Civic Dance Association I supported my favorite form of performance art, contemporary dance hosting shows at the Pavilion. I helped with Arts Night, forcing the Pavilion to make many changes to the event to get artists more involved.

The board of trustees is looking for someone local, and we all know I would turn the place upside down, and I wouldn’t be afraid to hand out the pink slips. I also would truly open the doors to EVERYONE, diversify the performances, bring in new promoters and turn the Cinedome into one of the hottest weekend spots for teens and families.

So in all seriousness, or even in snark, nominate me to the board;

As the Washington Pavilion looks to its future, The Board of Trustees are soliciting the community’s suggestions regarding talented individuals in the greater Sioux Falls area who might be ready to serve in this great capacity and continue moving the Pavilion forward. Please share any names of potential candidates with Board Chair Angie Haft at the following email address boardchair@washingtonpavilion.org.

Conflicting stories over at the Pavilion about the change of guard

As we have been suspecting, the Pavilion will soon be looking for a new President (if they haven’t already found one), to replace the two co-presidents;

The Washington Pavilion said its President, Scott Petersen, has advised its Board of Trustees of his intent to step down as President in May.

What I find interesting about this ‘replacement’ is that my sources have been telling me some conflicting reports;

As the Washington Pavilion looks to its future, The Board of Trustees are soliciting the community’s suggestions regarding talented individuals in the greater Sioux Falls area who might be ready to serve in this great capacity and continue moving the Pavilion forward. Please share any names of potential candidates with Board Chair Angie Haft at the following email address boardchair@washingtonpavilion.org.

I find this tidbit interesting, because it seems they have already pegged the person, I also find it interesting because I have been told that the Pavilion would not be promoting from within, and were going to do a national search for the president (maybe they are doing both- but I wouldn’t count on it) either way, it will be someone well connected who will help raise money so the operations manager can continue to run the place like a dictator in his office behind backstage. Any future president will be a mere puppet, the board learned their lesson from Hoffman and Wood.

One more throws their hat in the ring


Tammy knows she is a woman.

“As a woman and a minority, I can have conversations that other people don’t have,” said Enalls-Fenner, who identifies bi-racial.

Really. I talk to women and minorities every day, in fact I consider them good friends, not sure what conversations I am missing out on?

Take a look at Tammy’s website, not sure what she does, but all I can say is she is probably more qualified then most who sit on the panel. :)

This part peaked my interest;

Partner with like minded Christian Conservatives to educate them about their responsbility to participate in political issues.

Oh boy.

Heavy Hitters from the Argus Leader

They showed up to the Sioux Falls city council meeting to support open meetings and agenda notification times.

Trust me Pat, I often have that expression while watching these meetings. I wonder what taco shop Cory is thinking about?