Former Pizza Maker & Parks Board Member gets nod for new IT Director for city

Not since Paul appointed that FB cusser, TJ Nelson, as his deputy COS has he made a flub in an important appointment. Today that changed;

Mayor Paul TenHaken today announced the appointment of Jason Reisdorfer to the new position of Director of Innovation and Technology.

Where to begin with Jason? When he was appointed to the Parks Board, we decided to check his voting record. While he was registered to vote, he seemed skip the important part of that registration by voting. In anything.

You may also remember Jason’s very public attacks on FB towards councilor Stehly for trying to convert the Parks Board into districts and get their meetings video recorded. I guess I am not real keen on Jason’s disdain for government transparency and fairness when he will be running our secure data for the city.

But let’s move on to his stellar resume;

In 2012, Jason sold his restaurant business to go work with his long-time friend Eric Weisser.

I guess I am puzzled what business he sold? Or was it more like a liquidation? As I understand it the business he is referring to is a very successful pizza chain in the region that is still alive and well. I think Jason had a small ownership in a branch of the business that has since closed in Harrisburg.

Together, they built Weisser Distributing into one of the fastest growing companies in South Dakota. They recently earned their fourth consecutive selection to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the United States. As the Director of Operations, Jason led Weisser Distributing’s growth from four employees and $1 million in sales to over 130 employees with warehouses in three cities and are on pace to record over $65 million sales in 2018.

So this part of his resume actually has me asking more questions than anything. If he was just an employee that helped build the business this much, why would they let him go? If he had actual ownership in the business, why isn’t he staying? Did he sell his part? Or will he still have ownership and involvement while working for the city? Is that a conflict? I don’t know.

Also, I find it curious that he wants to work for the city of Sioux Falls when this company decided to move to Tea, SD to grow and not stay in Sioux Falls. How can you have pride in working for Sioux Falls when you decided to grow your business in Tea?

There is a lot of questions the city council needs to ask before approving this appointment.



41 comments ↓

#1 JKC on 09.11.18 at 3:01 pm

At least it is not the Papa John’s Pizza guy.

#2 D@ily Spin on 09.11.18 at 4:38 pm

What’s pizza got to do with IT?

#3 FatRob on 09.11.18 at 5:02 pm

Sounds to me like a guy who keeps looking for the next challenge. Weisser went from a garage to 3 warehouses. What’s left there? Onto the next chapter. Public service. Start here in the biggest city in SD and see if it can jump to something more in the next 8 years. Bravo to him for braving the political waters in a time where nothing seems to be off limits and its all to easy to be negative.

#4 l3wis on 09.11.18 at 5:33 pm

Fatty, just asking the question. After such great success at Weisser, why leave now?

#5 FatRob on 09.11.18 at 5:50 pm

My guess is that success is pinnacle and costs of new warehouses are adding up. Leave now and go build something new and grow something else.

#6 l3wis on 09.11.18 at 7:48 pm

So when the heat in the kitchen gets to hot, just leave? What if it gets to hot in city government? Just leave and move on? Sounds like an opportunist to me.

#7 Jon on 09.11.18 at 8:21 pm

I saw this on the news. Think they mentioned the salary for this position was 167,000. That’s f-ing ridiculous.

#8 matt johnson on 09.11.18 at 8:47 pm

13wis- did you want the job and feel slighted? and nobody else has ever cussed on facebook or in a blog

#9 l3wis on 09.11.18 at 9:08 pm

Jon, $147K. I don’t have a problem with the salary, I have a problem with the candidate.

#10 l3wis on 09.11.18 at 9:09 pm

MJ, Not at all. I do cuss online, and in person for that matter. But I am also NOT applying to run secure data for the city of SF.

#11 Warren Phear on 09.11.18 at 9:20 pm

Reisdorfer? Reisdorfer? Why did this name ring a bell? Oh yeah, he was instrumental in throwing local golf manager Tom Jansa under the bus. Now we have out of state management and soon to be out of control prices.

#12 Warren Phear on 09.11.18 at 9:31 pm

Questions. What exactly is this 147k a year job supposed to do to make city hall a lean, mean, fightin’ machine? Were other department heads sent packing to make room for this position?

#13 Lemming on 09.11.18 at 9:45 pm

Pay is way too high and who is this guy? On the other hand the lady they are canning seemed to be pretty clueless. And she was a MMM groupy

#14 The Guy from Guernsey on 09.11.18 at 11:25 pm

The culture of the business from which he arrives is pretty much “the anti-Huether”. So, he’s got that going for him.
Does he have solid IT bona fides ? That would seem necessary for this type of job (although that qualification didn’t seem to be a prerequisite for highly placed IT personnel during the Munson and Huether administrations).

#15 Fluff McFluffin on 09.12.18 at 7:23 am

If the mayor has been doing such a bang up job, and he has, why do you think he’s going to suddenly shit the bed with this pick? Why rake this guy over the coals before he’s even been able to perform day 1? Give the guy a chance to work already and if he sucks, do what you do.

#16 l3wis on 09.12.18 at 9:05 am

Please people, while I have some reservations about Jason, I mostly have questions. I still find it extremely bizarre that you would leave a company after achieving so much in such a short time to work in the public sector, a not-for-profit job. It just doesn’t add up.

#17 Warren Phear on 09.12.18 at 9:21 am

Fluff. Give the guy a chance? Why? He already threw a really good man, Tom Jelsma, under the bus. Same for Toms business, which, did a really good job considering the constraints it faced. I will never again step foot on a city owned golf course, neither will others of the same opinion.

#18 U. Jelly on 09.12.18 at 9:32 am

First, let me the first to congratulate the southdacola blog on your 154th Facebook like. It’s been an amazing run.

Maybe you have a legitimate concern, Mr author. What exctly do you know about Jason? You’ve chosen to focus on the fact that he was a pizza maker, since that was headline worthy. Sadly, the fact that he sold a business that was operating when he sold it, and ceases to operate today was your best point for questioning his appointment…as stupid as that sounds. He probably had a minimum wage job in high school. You could have jabbed him with that had you not been so lazy at your job.

Your second best point, and obviously the sticking point, was that he dared to disagree with whom I assume has to be your friend, Stehly, (because no other logical explanation exists) and publicly did so on Facebook.

Your third killer point was that he wants to work for the City of Sioux Falls but moved his business to Tea. Has it ever occurred to you, Einstein, that he made that decision based on what’s best for the company? Exactly how is this relevant? Would he be the only city employee not living in Sioux Falls? Maybe this is another area he feels he can make improvements. Maybe he loves Sioux Falls and wants to stop seeing business make this decision and knows how to help.

Finally, you wondered why Weisser let him go? Do you think they have ultimate control over him? I’m sure you’re satisfied with this solid blogging gig but every once in a while you’ll find a guy that wants to challenge himself in a new way even if he’s successful where he is at. Your last line that says “I don’t know” could have been your whole blog and would have been just as effective. You don’t know the circumstances, I don’t know the circumstances, so questioning his abilities based on that might be the most pathetic attempt at….whatever it is you’re trying to do.

#19 anonymous on 09.12.18 at 9:36 am

Opening on the Parks Board……time for more diversity.

Like a working-class taxpayer….

#20 l3wis on 09.12.18 at 9:37 am

Thanks Jason for your commentary, next time I challenge you to use your real name.

It wasn’t the fact he challenged Stehly, it was the fact he challenged a GREAT & TRANSPARENT & FAIR idea. I don’t want someone working for city government who is anti-transparency.

#21 U. Jelly on 09.12.18 at 9:44 am

I’m not Jason. Run the IP, you’ll find you again made a fool of yourself.

#22 l3wis on 09.12.18 at 10:01 am

Let me guess you are using a city owned computer at the library. LOL. (sorry, inside joke).

#23 D@ily Spin on 09.12.18 at 11:05 am

You know, maybe this appointment is a political favor. Sounds like it. I recall when Huether made Darin Smith Parking Director. Huh? At least this is a new Department with a relevant mission. Subordinates can make this into something while the Director sits at home binge watching Bonanza reruns.

#24 ? on 09.12.18 at 12:35 pm

I’m thinking the guy who is recommending him isn’t quite as transparent as he would like his constituents to believe.

#25 techguy on 09.12.18 at 2:18 pm

First off how many of you actually know Jason or have even talked to him? What does him working at and running a Boss’ pizza year ago have anything to do with this? If you can’t tell Jason is a proven leader with the positions he has held from running a pizza shop to being the director of operations at Weisser. Not to mention all the other stuff in between where he has proved himself. If you have ever had a conversation with him you would know that he knows his stuff very well. I recall the fb showdown with Stehly and if you say Jason was being a bully then Thersea was being one right back. Does that mean she shouldn’t be on the city council? No. Do you really think Weisser “let him go”? If you think that your are wrongly mistaken and need to get your facts straight.

#26 l3wis on 09.12.18 at 2:25 pm

It actually been a long time since he worked at Boss or Benigans. One has been out of business a very long time and the other one is a very successful regional chain. I don’t know if he was fired from Wiesser, I was just asking the question. My educated guess is that Jason left on his own otherwise he would not have put that experience in the press release. I would just be curious why. Most operations managers who build companies that fast usually leave to bigger and better companies, especially at that age, they don’t usually move into the public sector. I’m just curious why. That’s all.

#27 l3wis on 09.12.18 at 2:26 pm

On top of that, political appointments usually only last for the term of the appointee. Just ask Sue.

#28 Nichole on 09.12.18 at 3:09 pm

How hard is it to believe someone wants to work in the public sector? I am around Jason’s age and if called would do the same. Why leave Weisser? Simple, he was called to take on a challenge that his background and qualifications has set him up to do. I can guarantee it was hard on him to tell his friend he’s leaving, not a decision most take lightly. Timing is never right, but say he’d been at Weisser 10 years, would you STILL be questioning it? Either way you just have it out for the guy.

#29 l3wis on 09.12.18 at 3:21 pm

I can understand taking on a new challenge, but the way Jason acted during the Golf Course negotiations and how he treated an elected official over recording the meetings and districting the Parks Board was very unprofessional, especially for someone who is applying for a Public Sector job. If he thinks he can continue to treat the council like that once he is on the city’s payroll he will have a rude awakening. Running a tool warehouse/wholesale business is a lot different then securing data for a city. Your customers are the public and your bosses are elected. Hope he understands that, or he will have a very, very, short stint.

#30 l3wis on 09.12.18 at 3:23 pm

If there is one thing I learned from the city electorate before the last municipal election is that they are begging for our city to be more transparent, open, fair and more customer service friendly.

#31 Nichole on 09.12.18 at 3:27 pm

I’m sure he appreciates your words of advice. I’ll take a guy that can tell me straight up if something doesn’t add up to my face anyday than someone who hides behind the scenes and acts tough. That’s the kind of leader we need in a city job. I know he’s well aware of how different his job at Weisser is and his newly appointed job will be based on his first welcoming blog, like this one.

#32 Peter "Mega" Pischke on 09.12.18 at 3:29 pm

Please Put the Pizza thing aside guys,

His involvement in the parks board should make you question enough.

Why abstain from voting as much as he did.

And why did he choose to fight against reporting what was going on at the parks board.

And Lastly: choosing someone with a known beef with any city councilor (be it Kelly or Stehly or whomever) isn’t a totally wise decision. When to get the job that person has to get the approval of the city council.

#33 l3wis on 09.12.18 at 3:35 pm

Nichole, you are right about one thing. Everything he does now will be under public inspection. Rants on Facebook won’t fly.

#34 Nichole on 09.12.18 at 3:46 pm

I hate to laugh about this, but have you seen our sitting President’s social media accounts? Government is not the same as it was even two years ago.

#35 Ljl on 09.12.18 at 4:48 pm

What about this guys background points to him being qualified to run a IT department? He is a friend of the mayor. Right or wrong, that’s what got him the job.

#36 Ljl on 09.12.18 at 4:59 pm

Good thing mr jelly didn’t get the job as he clearly doesn’t understand how IP privacy works.

#37 Fluff McFluffin on 09.12.18 at 5:54 pm

I miss Bennigans…. 🙁

#38 35agram on 09.12.18 at 11:18 pm

I’m just happy to see a city councilor voicing an opinion for once about a mayoral appointee and casting a dissenting vote. I’m tired of all the rubber stamping that has occurred.

Government is suppossed to be about checks and balances and the council is there to protect the interests of the citizens, not rubber stamp every person the Mayor is doing a political favor for.

I hope he is questioned heavily on his knowledge of I.T. and what applicable experience he has in implementing data and technology changes.

I’d like to think if politics weren’t a factor, most would agree there are many other candidates with more applicable education and work experience to manage an I.T. department.

#39 Matthew Paulson on 09.12.18 at 11:54 pm

People who don’t know Jason at all sure have a lot of opinions about him. I don’t know him super well, but he came across as intelligent and well spoken when he spoke at 1MC last year. Weisser does 50M in sales per year through Amazon and Jason was a big part of building that business. He deserves some credit for those tech chops. Building a massive ecommerce business is not easy.

#40 l3wis on 09.13.18 at 9:40 am

I wonder if the city will let him have a mini-bar in his office like at his previous job?

#41 anonymous on 09.13.18 at 6:17 pm

Someone who has not put in the time and effort to earn at least a 4 yr college degree does not deserve to be earning $147,000 (+benefits) from the taxpayers.

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