Entries Tagged 'Employment' ↓

2017 City Salaries; Economic Development

While there is only 6 employees in the Economic Development office, salaries add up to over $500K. Even the lowest paid employee of the department, the administrative assistant, makes over $49K a year. The department seems management heavy.

What surprises me about the department is how slim it is on office staff. I think the department has become very ‘tight’ or should I say ‘tight-lipped’ since Huether has become mayor. I guess the fewer people in the department, the less likely there are leaks.

Here is the full doc: 2017-Wages

2017 City Salaries; Health Department Dentists & Other officials

Today we will look at the Health Department.

Did you know that some of the highest paid city employees are dentists?

The city health department employees 4 dentists with combined salaries of $620K. Seems odd, doesn’t it? When we think of snow plow operators or police officers, we think of direct service to the public, or at least most of it? But you wouldn’t likely use a city employed dentist unless you had to go to community health because financial restraints. In defense though, as I understand it, the community health department does try to receive some kind of payment. Sometimes through Medicare or Medicade. I would be curious how many patients are served by our city dentists each year?

It also seems the Health Department has many high paying jobs in the department besides dentists.

The Director receives $157K and the Chief Medical Officer about $205K a year. Oddly, even with these positions, the Director has 2 managers that receive the same wage of $88K a year. There are also 13 other mid-management that receives approximately between $80-$100K a year. The clinic even has its OWN finance director (even though the city has a well staffed finance division already) that makes $97K a year.

What is odd about these wages, that are probably not out of line of with a community our size is that many of the minions don’t even receive a living wage. Approximately 15 workers receive under $17 per hour (defined by Thrive as a living wage in Sioux Falls). With the remaining staff making a decent middle income of about $47K. The Sioux Health department has some of the highest wages (in management) of any department in the city) yet Sioux Falls continues to rank average or below average on National health rankings, especially when it comes to obesity and lack of exercise.

Here is the full doc: 2017-Wages

Should city employees be required to live within jurisdiction it works for?

I’m finding some interesting arguments on the topic. This one from Washington State that says chartered cities like Sioux Falls could implement the rule, especially for APPOINTED positions (Like City Attorney, Finance director, etc);

Most cities probably do not have residency requirements for their employees, even if they can. Is it a good idea to require residency? Residency helps build a bond between employees and the community they serve. The public may expect city employees face the same restrictions, taxes, policies that they do, and that’s only possible if employees live within the same community where they work. On the other hand, requiring residency limits the size of the pool from which good employees come – probably the strongest argument against requiring residency. The smaller the city, of course, the more that becomes an issue. Ultimately, it is a policy decision, one that needs to be carefully considered.

Finally, note that, if the affected employees of a proposed residency or response time requirement are members of a union, this would be a matter that would need to be bargained.

I also find this argument from Minnesota about elected officials being required to live within the jurisdiction, then why not the employees?

Elected officials must maintain a city residency. Under the Minnesota Constitution, a candidate must live in the city for at least 30 days before a city election in order to serve as a mayor or councilmember. If a mayor or councilmember fails to maintain a city residency, state statute provides that a vacancy in office is created.

There are a ton of reasons for and against, I guess my argument would be ‘customer service’. Wouldn’t a city employee who lives in that community have more pride in the job they do? This would be an interesting debate to take up with the Charter Revision Commission and a possible ordinance change.

What happened to the denied raises budgeted to the City Unions?

Remember the argument the city unions gave to proactively pay them? They said the money had already been budgeted. In other words the approximately $150K was already sitting in the account.

As the mayor reported on B-N-B’s show this morning, a resource officer at a local school recently shrugged off the mayor and wouldn’t look at him. Gee, I wonder why?

So what happens with the money now? I asked a local reporter and several city councilors to ask the same question several weeks ago, and haven’t gotten an answer.

One of the councilors had the idea of using the extra money on some training programs within the Police Department.

Not sure where it is, but I am still waiting on an answer, because knowing this mayor and administration, it certainly didn’t go back into the reserves, it got distributed, but if not to the unions, then to who?

Sioux Falls Thrive paints a grim picture of a ‘Low Wage’ community

Well it is something we have known for quite awhile, but I guess the business community now is screaming for labor. Well guess what, you need to pay better. This is what happens when you invite people to a supposed ‘Boomtown’ that pays the wages of a town going ‘Bust’.

Candy Hanson(sp?) does a presentation for the Minnehaha County Commission (starts at 19:00-54:00)

Here is the full report. It is very comprehensive; (DOC: Affordable_Housing_Needs_Assessment_2016) I plan to start reading the report and see what I can dig up in terms of solutions for our community.

City of Sioux Falls Internal Audit on the Development Foundation; show us measured outcomes

Giving the Sioux Falls Development Foundation tax dollars each year is a debate of it’s own. My stickler with handing over this money for workforce development is that we never see what kind of results there is. I have often called the practice as ‘Welfare for Want Ads’. If you pay good wages and are a good employer, workers will seek you out. If you have to ask the government to fund your want ads because you are struggling finding workers, maybe you are not a good employer to begin with. If you can’t find ‘qualified’ workers, maybe offer a worker training program. I often hear these same business owners and the Chamber scream about the FREE market, then turn around and ask tax payers to bail their asses out. So which is it?


What about the ‘morale’ of the Sioux Falls Police Department?

Some people say I am hard on our police force, I am, they should be held to a higher standard when it comes to ethics, I think most understand that. But when it comes to pay of public employees, I am a BIG advocate in paying our police force what they deserve;

The Fraternal Order of Police and the City of Sioux Falls have been holding several bargaining sessions trying to put together a labor agreement able to satisfy both sides.

After seven meetings between the two, the City put forward what they say is their final offer for a two year agreement that includes a one-point-five percent annual wage increase.

“I don’t know if that was the best offer the city could make but it’s the offer that the City said it was the last offer it was going to make. We believe that the City certainly has the financial ability to do better by its employees, particularly its police officers,” explained Wilka.

“It has become more and more difficult to preform the job of a policeman without everyone looking over your shoulder. It’s gotten more challenging not less challenging, so if anything the raises should be greater not less than what they’ve been historically,” stated Wilka.

I agree 100% with Wilka. With all the tension with police these days between the public and them, and the FACT that violent crime in Sioux Falls is on an extreme upward spiral, this is a piss poor time to offer them a piss poor raise.

That and the irony of wanting to build a new $25 million dollar admin building to increase the ‘morale’ of city administration workers. What about the ‘morale’ of our police force?

“The city has all kinds of money for this project or another project, the latest being the 25 million dollar administration building,” Wilka tells KELO Radio News. “and then to turn around and be told that you are only going to get a raise that is less than is what is commonly done in both public and private sectors in this region, that really produces a negative reaction on the part of people.”

I want to fill Mr. Wilka in on a little secret, the building that is being proposed ISN’T being built for the public or the employees, just sayin’.

City offers ‘Bike Share’ program to employees


Forward Sioux Falls swindles city council into a $2 million/5-year contract


Unlike other non-profits in Sioux Falls, Forward Sioux Falls set a precedent last night by getting the city council (Item #56) to approve a 5 year contract (instead of year to year) for workforce development and the management of siouxfallshasjobs.org.

But not without opposition.

Erpenbach pulled her typical ‘skeptical’ routine at the beginning of the discussion, than voted for it anyway. Which was too bad, because she had a great argument about signing off on a 5-year contract that would affect future councils. She must have forgotten what she was voting on, someone should have ‘REMINDED’ her.

Not only did Stehly, Starr and Neitzert vote against the contract, Greg added that if he had an opportunity he would ‘Defund’ the jobs site. I couldn’t agree more. Tax payers shouldn’t be subsidizing a employment site when there are many successful job sites in the private sector, that, and our low unemployment rate. This is a ruse to bilk tax payers into paying for classified employment ads for private industry, while doing nothing to address our real issue in Sioux Falls, WAGES!

Want to move Sioux Falls FORWARD, use the money to bring in industry that wants to pay a living wage.

Best & Worst Full-Time employers in Sioux Falls

As I was going through this past weekend’s edition of the Argus Leader I came across their yearly publication ‘Welcome’.

With employment I found some interesting numbers. Obviously, the fewer full-time staff you have, the less benefits you have to pay out, though I will admit, Hy-Vee does offer 401K, bonuses and healthcare to part-time employees. Whether they take it or not is another story.

Smithfield was the best claiming of their 3,400 employees ALL were full-time. BRAVO!

Hy-Vee was dead, dead, dead, last of their 3,347 employees only 719 were full-time (which is probably mostly management and supervisors running an army of teenagers and retirees). No wonder Milky Way can’t find anyone to work for him.

The city doesn’t fair well either, of their 1,585 employees, only 1,256 were full-time, and I heard half of them worked in the engineering department 🙂

But my favorite was the vagueness and secrecy of Walmart. They said they had 1,500 employees in Sioux Falls and that (a majority were full time). They also stated they love the environment and that 99% of their products come from the United States 🙂