Huether’s Legacy of Leadership; Getting Things Done by spending other people’s money

You can accomplish anything when you have your parents credit card.

I often hear it from friends and enemies,

“Why do you pick on the mayor so much Scott? He has gotten a lot of things done.”

I often agree, he has accomplished a lot. And if you don’t believe me or them, just ask the mayor himself. But when you really look at what has been ‘done’ it was done using other people’s money or borrowing other people’s money. The problem with that is that it’s the taxpayer’s money, OUR money, not the little dictator’s at 9th & Main.

These ‘accomplishments’ or ‘WINS’ as the mayor likes to call them, are not really wins at all, but just expenditures that I believe could have been done in other ways to save taxpayers millions while providing those services better. They were nothing more than playthings built to attract more overpaid doctors to town.

But when it comes to Huether really expanding services to ALL of our residents, what really has he done in 7.5 years?

Sure the streets have been maintained, and I will give him credit that they are better than before. He also did a good job cleaning up after the ice storm, but that was a natural disaster that had to be cleaned up and FEMA gave us $10 million to do so.

The massive annexation Huether has implemented has only pissed off neighborhoods, cost millions in infrastructure upgrades (handouts to the corporations that asked for these annexations) and caused a riff with un-annexed islands that were created after the intentional urban sprawl while our core has become a meth crime haven.

Speaking of that, Huether has done little to combat crime. He hired an un-experienced police chief, a fire chief who lives in Canton (because, as he says, it is safer to raise his kids) fired the former fire chief for allegations of child pornography (but let him keep his pension). Screwed the Police union on raises while giving corporate like raises to directors who have followed marching orders.

He has done little to improve project trim to become either free or more affordable to taxpayers. Has cut back street cleaning and snow removal, cut bus and paratransit routes while insisting on charging more.

He has cost us AND the citizens of SD (Public Assurance Alliance) millions in legal battles that we didn’t have to fight because of the incompetent and non-transparent administration he runs.

Water rates and regulations have only gone up in numbers while sales tax revenue has tumbled, only to take this extra money and put it in a savings account.

But besides the ‘WINS’ he decided to pass up, as I said above, let’s look at the things he called accomplishments by spending our money and borrowing in our good name;

The Denty. This project started on a bad note to begin with. Instead of bonding the entire building we had other options. I think we should have used a combination of private investors, cash reserves and state revolving funds to bond remainder. The vote was also a sham. It was an advisory vote which wasn’t legally binding, ultimately the council had to approve the bonds. In reality, with that much bonding it should have been a legal bond vote which would have required a 60% threshold from voters. It was also built in the wrong place. While Downtown would have been more ideal, I think anyplace but next to the Arena would have been better. The location has only contributed to the money vacuum the Denty has become, sending millions out of town. Than there was the cost saving measure to put flat siding on a curved building that caused a SD Supreme Court case and troublesome siding that will cost us millions to replace over the years. I think we could have built an Events Center, but Huether’s plan has been a complete disaster because of several bad decisions by hizzoner.

The Railroad Redevelopment project has cost Federal Taxpayers (and local taxpayers) well over $27 million. In return we got dirty land for $62 a square foot. The trains are still switching downtown and running more frequent. This boondoggle, while expensive, has done nothing to improve downtown. I consider this one of the biggest failed negotiations of the Huether administration.

The city administration building was a gigantic middle finger to the taxpayers of Sioux Falls that was decided by one person who manipulated his executive powers and crapped on 6,400 petition signers. The irony is this $25 million building wasn’t needed. We exchanged a $100K a year lease payment for a $1 million a year mortgage that doesn’t include maintenance costs. There is nothing in city charter that requires the city to invest in office space capital. In fact, the city’s finance director Turbak said it was more equitable to lease space.

The indoor aquatic center was poorly planned and based on a campaign of lies and confusing ballot language. The location can not be expanded and built on land the Federal government has the quit claim deed on. We also robbed millions from a repayment of Federal levee bonds that should have been used to repay the bonds. We could have built a larger facility at the Sanford Sports Complex with a public/private partnership with Sanford. It would have also been located by all the other special interest sports clubs. We now have a facility we will have to subsidize up to $400k a year or more in a bad location.

Huether allowed the city to go into a parking ramp agreement with a developer that is facing Federal criminal charges and that has illegally dumped asbestos into our landfill with a penalty that was waived. But even if we picked a good developer, the deal doesn’t add up. We are paying over twice as much for fewer parking spots. This deal should have never been penned.

Choosing Paramedics Plus for our ambulance contractor was troublesome for many reasons. Not only their pending legal issues nationally, conflicts of interest with the consultant that recommended them and the ‘Phantom’ ambulances, we could have saved consumers $$ while helping to fund our Fire Department. Since the Fire Department already shows up to medical emergencies, sometimes faster than PP, I think a more prudent decision would have been implementing a public ambulance service. While the initial up front costs would be expensive, the fees charged to consumers would help pay for itself, and help to subsidize the Fire Department. As taxpayers we are already paying for the FD to respond to these emergencies, why not get reimbursed for it?

As you can see, the Mayor likes to talk about ‘dreaming big’ and ‘getting things done’ but he has done all this recklessly and by racking up our credit card. The next mayor and city council will be battling these bad fiscal decisions for years to come, and at the end of the day the taxpayers will be footing the bill.


#1 scott on 01.12.18 at 5:37 pm

this post should be used by mayoral candidates to take shots against diamond jim, because he would be a continuation of triple m.

#2 jerrbear on 01.12.18 at 5:46 pm

Just so you know, there’s nothing the mayor could about the pedophile fire chiefs pension. Once it earned even Satan can collect it. Not saying it’s right, that’s just them rules.

#3 l3wis on 01.12.18 at 6:32 pm

jerr, you are probably right. But I think they could have put a stay on it until he has his day in court, and IF he is convicted they could do something. I would think they could give him a check for what he vested and nothing else. You have to remember, he may have been misusing city property when he took that trip to Texas. If that comes out in the trial I think the city could have a case against his pension. Remember, another fire department officer was fired for something similar (misuse of property, not child pornography).

#4 The D@ily Spin on 01.12.18 at 7:22 pm

There’s a lot of rambling with your article. To summarize, everything was about Huether. He took advantage of socialist Strong Mayor Charter to further himself, favor private developers, and deny citizens their constitutional privilege. There’s so much debt that can’t be justified and paid. This man is the worst kind of traitor. Let him retire with his public cheat to some off shore asset shelter. We can fix this but the sooner he’s gone the better.

#5 LJL on 01.12.18 at 8:55 pm

You cannot claw back or stop payment on a pension plan in this state

#6 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.13.18 at 10:41 am

“Running government like a business,” huh?

#7 C on 01.13.18 at 12:48 pm

How about this: “Michael T. Huether administration building”

#8 The D@ily Spin on 01.13.18 at 2:10 pm

It’s time to start an investigation. ‘Huethergate’ will prove that Strong Mayor Charter is a form of white collar crime that misappropriates public money and is Kleptocracy resembling socialism while denying democracy in government.

#9 anonymous on 01.14.18 at 11:36 am

The next four years could be interesting with Huether no longer in office and unable to intimidate, coerce, threaten city employees at all levels.

Quite possibly, all those things he’s done under the table in the name of “getting things done” as he likes to say, will begin to bubble up to the surface…..

Leave a Comment