If you have to tell us how you are being transparent, you likely are missing the a mark

I have often argued if you want to be transparent in government, OPEN up everything except what is not allowable by law like personnel issues and pending litigation and let the public tell you if they are getting too much information – which is highly unlikely.

While Mayor PTH has made some strides in transparency, most of it happened because of pressure from the public or the city council, but let’s review;

A few weeks into my tenure, I directed that all available audio from the Parks and Recreation Board meetings be posted on the city’s website. This had been opposed in the past. Beginning in 2019, we also began recording video of these meetings.

I commend the mayor on this decision, but this ball was already rolling when councilor Stehly pushed for this in the last administration.

I initiated changes to the Council’s consent agenda — the list of contracts for goods and services the city enters into that require Council notification and approval.

This was also something the council (and public) requested. And I will agree, it is much better.

I am also easy to reach by the public. I hold regular office hours for the public and meet with community stakeholders and citizens on a daily basis.

While this may be the case, having a security officer at city hall because someone stole a can of Coke out of the mayor’s reefer isn’t exactly a show of transparency. If the mayor is concerned about his security, he should talk to the State Legislature about banning firearms in public government buildings. I also think having ONE main phone number for the city with a switchboard will be helpful, something the mayor says he is working on. This is WAY overdue.

And why do the bureaucrats always have to split community stakeholders and citizens? As in “I hold regular office hours for the public and meet with community stakeholders and citizens on a daily basis.” Aren’t we are all citizens or at least all stakeholders?

This week my administration launched a Community Dashboard to provide the public and media with key performance indicators that are easy to access and simple to understand.

The data or Community Dashboard is worthless if you do not know the cryptic file naming scheme, in other words, it needs work. I have never understood why Sioux Falls doesn’t have a simple website like the City of Omaha. Notice the department tabs on the left hand side of the home page. When you click on them they give you more contact information and a search engine that assists you in what you are looking for. It seems the city’s IT department is making things more complicated by creating a portal that doesn’t really work. Break it up into departments and let people search from those tabs.

While PTH has made some strides in transparency, it has been from the pressure of the council and public, for example the Event Center Campus Book Club meetings. Those meetings would have never been open unless there was pressure from councilors Starr and Stehly.

I challenge Paul to open everything up and then deal with the criticism from too much transparency, I can pretty much guarantee he will hear NO complaints from the public, the REAL stakeholders in this government.



8 comments ↓

#1 scott on 04.12.19 at 2:59 pm

wait, pth has coke and reefer in his office?

#2 Blue collar on 04.12.19 at 4:28 pm

I agree, you should move to Omaha. You would be much happier there.

#3 Bruce on 04.13.19 at 8:10 am

Our past administration used to use Omaha regularly to compare our town against. I wonder if this administration will continue and fix the city website by their example?

#4 D@ily Spin on 04.13.19 at 8:56 am

TenHaken is better at transparency than Huether. I agree with having security at city hall. There are lots of crazy’s out there.

#5 Blasphemo on 04.13.19 at 11:15 am

How can one consider themselves to be open and transparent, when they don’t give credit where credit is due. . . or take credit for a situation not of their own creation? Where recording of the Parks Board meetings is concerned – why would PTH open himself up to criticism by failing to credit the easily verifiable genesis for the directive? He can still credit himself with implementation, but just a handful of additional words in his little tome to put this “accomplishment” in context would go a long way toward confirming a healthy conscience. This is a STUPID oversight – or dismissal.

#6 l3wis on 04.13.19 at 12:50 pm

His guest column in the Argus reminds of his selfie with guys filling pot holes. Look Mom! I took out the trash!

And why on earth would the Argus allow this? Hopefully when it appears in the dead tree version it will be on the opinion page.

#7 l3wis on 04.13.19 at 12:56 pm

“TenHaken is better at transparency than Huether.”

I agree, but that bar was pretty low 🙂

#8 D@ily Spin on 04.13.19 at 11:05 pm

I seriously doubt the city will ever be transparent. It’s not a crime to spend public money toward special interests to make yourself rich. Huether was a master. Probably the best deterrent is to identify how public funds made for private wealth. Huether should always be the Benedict Arnold in Sioux Falls history.

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