Cooper’s retirement is no surprise, and neither will be his replacement

There has been plenty of public and private conversation about Mike’s retirement;

After a 32-year career with the city of Sioux Falls, Director of Planning and Development Services Mike Cooper Monday announced plans to retire from municipal government next spring.

Before the TenHaken was even elected, there were plenty of people saying Mike would retire in 2019. You can’t blame him, he put in his time. I also don’t think he was forced out. I think this was a planned process that Mike had full control of.

His retirement isn’t the grand mystery surrounding the announcement, this is;

The city will conduct a national talent search to fill the Cooper’s position as director of Planning and Development Services. The director is appointed by the mayor with advice and consent of the City Council.

Why waste the taxpayer’s money? I have said all along that former city planner and now COS, Beck, was going to replace Cooper. Maybe I am wrong, maybe she likes signing Paul’s executive documents and baby sitting TJ NelsOver, but I’m guessing someone who has spent a lifetime in planning and development and went to the same school Cooper did (Metli-Lloyds Planning Academy) is gearing up to take the job. The planning/community development re-org, the rah-rah sessions about TIFs and various other policy decisions Beck has been behind make it pretty clear who is ‘seeking’ that position.

Of course, the administration will put on a big show, but seriously, just spare us the smoke and mirrors, appoint Beck in April when Cooper leaves, and save us the drama.

SFPD Union has some harsh words for Mayor TenHaken

While people have railed on me in the past about things I say about local public servants, not sure if I can beat a zinger like this;

“(The mayor) has failed every single character test when it comes to the rank and file,” Holbeck said. “Right now, his word is worth about five cents.”

Now that I have stopped laughing, let’s continue.

Another mayor and another snub of the PD. While I have often been critical of policies and leadership at the SFPD, I do think the officers deserve fair pay and reasonable wage increases and benefits. But it seems how to negotiate those contracts goes over the anti-union, right-wing, Republican Mayor’s head;

Holbeck said that response doesn’t sit well with union members, who prefer wages based on responsibility than equity and feel like TenHaken isn’t following through with his commitment to being supportive of law enforcement.

Wouldn’t you pay on what people do instead of thinking the responsibility of all the officers are the same?

This is what happens when you have a partisan-hack who comes from a non-union corporate structure that rewards ‘SALES’ over actual ‘WORK’. This is why I have despised sales people for a very long time. Not all ‘worker bees’ are the same, and they shouldn’t be treated that way.

During the campaign, TenHaken said he’d have an open-door policy for police officers, who have since been told to direct all communications to the mayor through the chief of police; and the mayor didn’t attend any of the negotiation hearings or a recent briefing between the City Council and the union, Holbeck said.

If Paul would have bothered to show up to a couple of meetings, he might have learned something. I guess he was too busy filming carpool karaoke with pastor Keith in his Lexus. Which many people have asked me if the officer was on the clock while filming this or was he just given a free ‘bottle of pop’?

Why is it so hard for city government leaders to complete some of the easiest tasks? If they can’t negotiate a simple union contract, I hate to see what is in store for transit riders. Grab your ankles, the bus is now in motion.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly asks Noem to reimburse city for private fundraiser

Theresa called me at lunch today and asked me if she should ask for this. I told her ‘YES’ but I also her told her to check if legally we can ask for it. She checked with the city attorney who said it was legal to ask for it, then she asked the campaign before posting the above image on FB.

I think they should reimburse since this was NOT a public event. Why should the taxpayers of Sioux Falls foot the bill for a private, partisan, fundraiser’s security detail? It is complete BS!

Other cities have agreed;

While other cities, such as Fargo, have requested reimbursement for costs associated with Trump’s visits for private fundraisers, neither the city of Sioux Falls nor the state have formally requested refunds.

It will be interesting to hear the response from Noem’s team. Heck, maybe she might even write that check. But I am not holding my breath. The GOP in SD has a long history of taxpayers funding their extracurricular partisan activities (ALEC memberships for example).

I think it took a lot of courage for a life long Republican to ask for this from the Noem campaign. Now let’s see how fast the GOP Hate machine beats up Stehly over this.

Get out the popcorn!

UPDATE: More like 15 months w/o internal auditing

UPDATE: Just for clarification, what I posted here are the WORDS of the COMMITTEE members, they are NOT mine. Just watch the video. Also, in NO WAY do I hold the city internal audit employees accountable for what ‘hasn’t been being done’. They have had to deal with a lack of a leadership, and that’s on the committee, as they stated in the video.

I stand corrected about what I said at Public Input the other night at city council. I guess a city councilor said I misspoke the other night by saying we went 9 months w/o internal auditing, and they were right. After watching the audit meeting (Dec 3, 2018 meeting, BELOW, FF: 1:20:00) it will be more like 15 months before we have a fully functional audit department.

Committee member Dean Buckneberg asks, “When was the last time we had a fully staffed audit department?” Neitzert replies, “June (2018).” Dean replies, “It will be another 9 months before we are fully staffed.”

So it seems it is even longer than I originally thought.


Can Public transit in Sioux Falls be fixed? I think so!

While the city is busy recruiting all kinds of people to fix the transit problem (besides just expensive consultants and bureaucrats), which I commend them on, they need to be careful in that process. I’m a firm believer in the fact that too many cooks spoil the stew.

First I think they need to realize a few things that are important to the discussion;

• It will cost money, and will still have to be subsidized. We subsidize many things in our community such as the Pavilion, the EC, the parks system, the Zoo, for example, and like the transit system, many people in the community who fund these entities don’t use them. But we do get something back from subsidizing the transit system; a workforce that is actually contributing to our economy instead depending on the government for living.

• Needs to be expanded city wide and hours of operation. One of the biggest complaints I hear from users is that it doesn’t run 7 days a week and the hours of operation are not long enough. With a 24/7 workforce in a modern city we need a public transit system that reflects that.

• The grid system should be explored. Many have said that it won’t work, but unless we try it, we will never now. The transit problems won’t be fixed overnight, it will take trial and error over a long period of time. Let’s try the grid system. It may also solve shortening ride times (which are also an issue).

• Explore ‘Park and Rides’. This is something they do in larger cities. It may not be something Sioux Falls would embrace, but if the ride is a short and mostly a direct commute, it may appeal to more people.

• Should we continue to contract with a transit management company or should the city take it over? Not sure, but it should be looked at.

• The rate structure should be changed. There should be options based on income, age, family size, etc. I know that some of that stuff is being done right now, but it needs to be more diverse. I also think that when people are starting to use the transit system for the first time, or exploring using it, they should get a 30 day free pass to try it out.

I’m not sure what will come out of the new task force, but I think if they concentrate on solving the simple problems and stop focusing on the raw cost, it is a solvable problem.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Tuesday Dec 11, 2018

Informational Meeting, at 4 p.m.

Presentations and updates on the Multi-Cultural Center and Golf Course.

There is also a ‘curious’ executive session;

Discussing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee. The term “employee” does not include any independent contractor (SDCL 1-25-2(1))

This is interesting, because this could include a city councilor OR city employee. IMO, after watching the council’s performance on Tuesday night, they all should be brought up on ethics charges for treating each other like sh*t.

City Council Meeting, at 7 p.m.

UPDATE: Here is the contract that was signed in March by the former finance director for the leadership consultingLEADERSHIP-CONTRACT

I guess my bigger question is if this was a holdover from the last administration, why doesn’t the TenHaken administration just cancel it?

Item#7, Approval of Contracts;

The city is going to pay this DUDE $8,000 to train city peeps how to be ‘leaders’ and planners.

Agreement for Professional Services for Effective Leadership Training Session and Strategic Planning and Coaching Sessions which are determined and scheduled by the City

Shouldn’t the citizenry already be electing leaders? And shouldn’t those leaders be responsible to hire leaders?

Item#14, 2nd Reading, Ordinance to approve the Ambulance Contract


Sioux Falls City Council Meet & Greet, Saturday

City Councilors Brekke, Stehly and Starr will have a meet and greet at the 26th & Marion Rd HyVee tomorrow, Dec 8 from 9:30 to 11:30 AM. You can bring your concerns and have a chat about city business.

Argus ED Board Chastises SF School District on transparency

While I applaud the Argus for writing this, I have a feeling it won’t change much;

It’s hard to imagine a public entity that necessitates transparency more than a school district, which operates under a compact of trust with families that send their children to school each day.

(The Argus requested to see the bids for the Construction Manager at Risk and the SFSD refused to give them to them citing state law ‘competive proposal process’. I find it ironic that they said that the state ‘doesn’t require’ them to give the information, but they could . . .)

It often surprises me that the SFSD wants our help and all ears when they need to pass bonds or more for teacher pay, but say very little when spending our money. ALL taxpayers (with or without children) should be deeply involved with public education, not just for fiscal reasons, but for the future of our children.


We are preparing a response to the SFSD about the half-ass information they gave us on the election. I will publish once we finish it.

Is Niedringhaus planning to be the next Sheriff in Minnehaha County?

First the facts.

Sheriff Milstead recently got re-elected (he wasn’t on the ballot because he did not have a challenger). He has a 4-year term.

Milstead said he wouldn’t retire until the jail is finished, which would be in two years.

Milstead CAN retire in mid-term.

If he does retire, the MCC can ‘appoint’ a replacement (fake incumbent) to serve the remaining two years.

Milstead’s wife has decided to NOT pursue the food contract with Falls Park restaurant this Spring. The city is currently looking for bids.

Niedringhaus has to be working in ‘law enforcement’ in order to be appointed Sheriff (this is what I have been told). It is another reason why he has been moonlighting serving warrants while serving as the full-time Metro Director (to keep his certification). His new job;

Niedringhaus will be leaving at the end of the year.  He’s accepted a new position with the Department of Public Safety; working in an area of law enforcement and intelligence.

So is he looking to be the next sheriff? Don’t know. But it certainly looks like he is trying to make those stars align.

News Growl follows up on Deb Peters

Oh the web the SD GOP likes to weave;

What is more, the closing date for applications was November 9th – just three days after Peters won her election.

For her account of events to make sense Peters must therefore have three highly eventful days between November 6th-9th: Over a 72 hour period she must have discovered a well-publicized job she was unaware of, made a sudden decision to not take the seat she had just won an election for, and then rushed an application for a position she lacked some of the qualifications for as listed in the ad (such as a degree in marketing, communications, or similar field).

Meanwhile, the people of District 9 are preparing for two years of representation in the State House by a politician they did not elect. Or as Scott L. Ehrisman wrote in his South Dacola blog: “Once again a fake incumbent will be appointed by a Republican elect governor.”

Seems like a busy 3 days, even for a savvy Gipper like Peters.