Entries Tagged 'Employment' ↓

Citi’s slow bleed

I warned that Citi would be having layoffs in September of 2017. They are claiming it is to prepare for their ‘expansion’. More like ‘reduction’. They seem to be doing it little by little.

So far they have had two ‘layoff’ incidents since September that add up to roughly 80 employees (these of course are ones we have heard about).

I wonder how many more ‘incidents’ we will hear about.

Wages not keeping up with housing costs

As you will see, this isn’t just happening in Sioux Falls and South Dakota, but across the nation;

Of the roughly 420,000 South Dakota jobs classified by the U.S. Department of Labor, several sectors dominate. About 63,000 jobs are in office support positions, another 47,000 in retail sales, about 42,000 in food preparation and service, 17,000 in grounds maintenance, 15,000 in personal care and service and 11,000 in health care support. South Dakota is routinely among the top states in percentage of residents who hold more than one job.

But what is that statistic? I have often wondered where to get that.

In the Sioux Falls metro market, inflation-adjusted median household income fell by 4.5 percent from 2008 to 2015; in the city of Sioux Falls, it fell by 8 percent over that time frame. Meanwhile, the number of households making $15,000 to $25,000 a year in Sioux Falls jumped by 50 percent during that period.

It’s really the middle-class income that hasn’t really changed at all.

That the housing shortage for low-income residents is worsening in Sioux Falls. The study notes that for every 100 families making 30 percent or less of the local median family income, only 39 affordable housing units are available.

I have often argued that Sioux Falls is growing too fast, growth for growth’s sake essentially. I was watching a news story last week where they were training middle school kids how to build houses. Really? While I don’t have a problem with industrial arts (I took 3 classes in school, drafting, wood working and construction) I also helped work construction with my brother and dad’s business.

Maybe we just keep building to just build. Sioux Falls really needs to slow it down a bit and concentrate on fixing up core neighborhoods and revitalization, which provides affordable housing. Sprawling out of our limits only drives up infrastructure and housing costs. Making due with what we have with the workforce to do it properly instead of this constant motion of ramrodding development.

We really don’t have a housing issue, we have a wage issue.

Director Pay Comparisons to Sioux Falls

While Sioux Falls is the smallest in population to the comparable cities in the region and has the least number of employees, 7 out of 22 directors make the most money. Sioux Falls also is the ONLY city listed that has a Chief Medical Officer (that is not counted).

Aprox Population

Omaha – 470,000

Lincoln – 260,000

Des Moines – 215,000

Sioux Falls – 180,000


Aprox Number of city employees

Omaha -2244

Lincoln -1967

Des Moines – Over 6,000 (I’m having trouble confirming this number, I wonder if this includes temp and PT and some cross over into the suburbs and county)

Sioux Falls – 1202


Director Pay (Yearly salary based on approximates from 2015-2018 rounded up to nearest 1000th)

SF-2018, Lincoln-2016-2017, OMAHA-2015-2017, Des Moines – 2015-2017


HR Director

Omaha –$153K

Des Moines – $160

Sioux Falls – $147K

Lincoln – $140K


Public Parking Super

Omaha – $91K

Lincoln – NA

Des Moines – NA

Sioux Falls – $82K


Street Director

Omaha – $93K

Lincoln – $84K

Des Moines – $101K

Sioux Falls – $125K


Light/Utility Super

Omaha – NA

Lincoln – $136K

Des Moines – NA

Sioux Falls – $94K


Health Director

Omaha – NA

Lincoln – $114K

Des Moines – NA

Sioux Falls – $159K


Chief Medical Officer

Omaha – NA

Lincoln – NA

Des Moines – NA

Sioux Falls – $215K


Chief City Attorney

Omaha – $190K

Lincoln – $136K each (2 Positions)

Des Moines – $180K (Two Positions, equal pay)

Sioux Falls – $157K


Public Works

Omaha – $170K

Lincoln – $136K

Des Moines – $156K

Sioux Falls – $186K


Police Chief

Omaha – $196K

Lincoln – $131K

Des Moines – $170K

Sioux Falls – $129K


Parks Director

Omaha – $86K

Lincoln – $123K

Des Moines – $143K

Sioux Falls – $159K


Library Director

Omaha – (multiple divided into regions)

Lincoln – $102K

Des Moines – $170K

Sioux Falls – $116K


Planning Director

Omaha – $155K

Lincoln – $91K

Des Moines – $139K

Sioux Falls – $147K


Maintenance/Custodial Director

Omaha – $104K

Lincoln – $85K

Des Moines – NA

Sioux Falls – $72K


Finance Director

Omaha – $157K

Lincoln – $136K

Des Moines – $152K

Sioux Falls – $179K


IT/Central Services

Omaha – $126K

Lincoln – $133K

Des Moines – $141K

Sioux Falls – $147K


Water Reclamation/Sewer Director

Omaha – $101K

Lincoln – $113K (Does Water Production and Sewer)

Des Moines – $141K

Sioux Falls – $124K


Water Department Super

Omaha –NA

Lincoln – SEE ABOVE (Does Water Production and Sewer)

Des Moines – NA

Sioux Falls – $115K


City Clerk

Omaha – $108K

Lincoln – $84K

Des Moines – $120K

Sioux Falls – $90K


Community Development/Urban

Omaha – $107K (combined with Housing – see below)

Lincoln – $107K

Des Moines – $135K

Sioux Falls – $126K



Omaha – (combined with above)

Lincoln – NA

Des Moines – $135

Sioux Falls – $79K


City Engineer

Omaha – NA

Lincoln – (Public works director – see above)

Des Moines – $157K

Sioux Falls – $131K


Fire Chief

Omaha – $205K

Lincoln – $131K

Des Moines – $155K

Sioux Falls – $126K (Previous was $146K)


Landfill director

Omaha – NA

Lincoln – $109K

Fargo – NA

Sioux Falls – $95K

NEW Warehouse in Flopdation Park is Hiring – Bottom of Living Wage Scale

Shocker, they are hiring a bunch of warehouse pirates and are paying at the bottom of the living wage scale.

As I said on my podcast last night, when anyone says ‘affordable housing’ it makes me cringe. I HATE THOSE TWO WORDS TOGETHER.

We don’t have an affordable housing issue in Sioux Falls, we have a wage issue. When is the city going to start asking new employers to pay living wages? The city, county and state have poured millions of tax dollars into Flopdation Park, shouldn’t those same people deserve a decent job?

Warehouse work isn’t easy, and those workers deserve a lot more than $15-$16 an hour.

Another industry in Sioux Falls bilking taxpayers for infrastructure costs and returning the favor with trailer park wages.

Are we doing this right? Drinks & Design (2/27/2018)

Detroit gave Cameraman Bruce a call to witness an event downtown on February 27, 2018 at the Design Center. Always interested in the what happens there, he said OK. So with cameras rolling we bring you the presentation hosted by Jordan Deffenbaugh, Drinks & Design, are we doing it right? His panelists were Bob Natz of Natz and Associates with Shannon Globke of Muth Electric.

From their meeting announcement:
Design is about a process. From inception to completion, certain steps need to be made to allow for a process to be successful. That goes for construction too. The processes work a certain way for certain reason, but we want to ask “Are we doing this right?” How we design? How we build? What materials we use? How we assemble those materials? And are we efficient every step of the way? We can all agree that there is room for improvement in everything. 4D EDU invites all that are interested, contractors, designers, and current and future homeowners alike, to ask the question “Are we doing this right?”

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured hard for.” Socrates

“Work smarter, not harder.” Allan F. Mogensen

Design surrounds us. The streets we walk down, the phones we tap on, the homes we live in. 4D EDU, in affiliation with 4D Design + Consulting, wants to help Sioux Falls home builders and homeowners understand “what the heck design is anyway?” Enter Drinks & Design, a new event happening the last week of every month at the Design Center in Downtown Sioux Falls. These gatherings will host a panel of design experts from a multitude of backgrounds and career fields, focusing in on home design in the Sioux Empire. And of course, there will be good food, beer & wine.

City of Sioux Falls Big Salary increases even with slow tax revenue

We are still waiting for the last month to come in on the financial reports, but it looks like we are hovering around only 1% growth in tax revenue from last year.

But it didn’t stop our CEO (Mayor Huether) from giving huge raises to some directors, ironically the same directors that were involved with controversial projects like the Downtown Parking Ramp. It seems the good soldiers who followed marching orders were well rewarded.

(Raises are Approximates rounded to nearest thousand)

Turbak, Finance Director; $6K (he got a $10K raise last year)

Leonard, City Attorney; $5K

Ketchum, Director of Community Development; $5K

ONeil, Community Development; $5K

Bofenkamp, Community Development; $5K

There were some others that got some questionable raises also. Even though crime continues to increase and the minions in the police department only got 1.5% the chief received a good raise;

Burns, Chief of Police; $4K

The Director of the Public Health, Dr. Tinguely, the highest paid city employee ($204K per year) got a $11K raise and one of her assistants, Collura got $5K.

Read all about here; 2017-Wages, 2018-Wages

South Dakota, the land of opportunity and awesome wages – NOT

So Puerto Rico got devastated by a hurricane last year, and jobs are sparse for its residents (who are American citizens). No worries, Huron to the rescue;

By some counts, nearly 2,000 Puerto Ricans were leaving every day, and in that exodus, some mainland U.S. companies were starting to see an opportunity of their own — a new answer in their ever-evolving struggle to find workers who would perform lower-rung American jobs.

And if you think things were bad in Puerto Rico, welcome to poverty wages in SD;

Luque told them about the work — that it was repetitive, physical, “not always pretty.” He told them about the wages — $10.00 per hour, jumping soon after to $12 or $13. He said the company would fly them to South Dakota and slowly deduct the flight costs out of their paychecks.

They need workers so bad they can’t even pay for the flight cost. Funny how everyone in Pierre stands around with their fingers in their butts wondering why sales tax revenue is down, it’s simple math, if people don’t have money, they don’t spend money.

City Employee defends mayor on diversity with FB comment

The comment was deleted, but not before it was left on Jolene Loetscher’s FB page in response to my comment about the mayor throwing mayoral candidates under the bus for not taking a stand on the parking ramp. I pointed out that Jolene did take a stance on the topic;

The person who left this message recently got promoted to the diversity department. I’m not sure if I have ever taken the mayor to task for diversity, I’m also not sure what he has done for diversity, maybe she is right, not sure. I will agree I have been critical of some city employees, but that criticism is usually pointed at a certain department, a director or policy. I agree that the city employees work hard and have the best interest at heart, unfortunately their fear of Hizzoner stifles them sometimes.

I do know that my conversations with individual employees (retired, supervisors, firefighters, police officers, etc.) haven’t been happy with how their boss has been running the city. In fact many of them are very angry with his performance, to put it lightly, and can’t wait until he is gone. Obviously those who report directly to Mike, like this person does, have an appearance to keep up, and I get it. I just suggest they stop drinking the mayor’s kool-aid in the new city hall cafeteria and stay off of FB in the middle of the night.

Sorry, It’s still about wages

Here we go again, another ‘woe is me’ story from a retailer/hospitality employer who cannot find good help;

“I’ve honestly never seen it this bad anywhere else,” another told me.

They were talking about their struggle to hire staff – a theme I’ve heard repeatedly the past few years but one that has become extreme in recent weeks.

My recent conversations about hiring struggles have involved retail jobs. The industry is experiencing a bit of a perfect storm, with several new stores and restaurants opening while others ramp up seasonal hiring.

I’m deliberately not sharing the names of the businesses I’m referencing because I don’t want to create the impression that their hiring struggles mean they are undesirable places to work. I actually don’t think that’s the case, based on what I know of their businesses and what they shared about their wages. I just think they’re caught at a time when pretty much anyone who wants to or is capable of holding a job has one.

One manager I talked with last week has hired for stores in seven states and said he never encountered challenges like he is here.

First of all as a person who has worked on and off in retail/hospitality for over 20 years I will agree with many of things they are saying. There is a limited workforce pool, there is also a lot of people who can’t hack it (multi-tasking). There are also other issues, like drug and alcohol problems, and low-income parents who can’t afford child care. It’s hard to weed some of that out, I understand. But one thing I have learned from working in this industry, THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE. Often times they work twice as hard as their co-workers, never are late, never miss shifts and never call in sick. The problem is a lot of these businesses are not willing to compensate the GOOD ones more than the crappy ones. You can create polices to weed out the bad ones, once you do that, PROP up the good ones, that means giving them the best shifts, better pay, bonuses, etc. Good employees in this type of the industry know when they have hit a plateau, and if you are not willing to pay them more, they’ll be gone in a flash. The GOOD ONES are not afraid of hard work, they just want to be rewarded with a living wage for their efforts.

My advice; if you employee one of the good ones, and they ask for a raise, GIVE IT TO them! The cost for replacement and lost business isn’t really worth it. Also, service industry people talk, in fact, if they are NOT working they are talking about their job with their peers. If you are a good employer that pays well, they WILL tell their friends, that mostly likely are THE GOOD ONES to. I would never recommend a person that didn’t work as hard as me, I don’t want to work with lazy bums either.

It’s not just about getting GOOD employees, it’s about retaining them once you have them. Pay them what they are worth. As we used to say in the industry, compliments don’t buy groceries.

Did the city lose a longtime building inspector?

I guess I don’t see a lot of job postings from the city for this position. I think many of the inspectors work for the city for a long period of time.