Entries Tagged 'Janet Brekke' ↓

Sioux Falls Councilor Erpenbach has ‘Freak Out’ over campaign mailer

Michelle sent this email to people on the letter, the media and some city managers. Michelle seems to think it was pointed at her, yet I find no mention of her in the letter. Guilty conscience perhaps?

There were also rumors going around that Brekke’s competitor’s supporters were planning on filing charges against Brekke for sign compliance issues, until of course we showed almost all the candidates were out of compliance.

Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2018 7:09 PM
To: Pat Gustaf; Bill Peterson; Steve Kirby; Jim Wiederrich; Tom Dempster
Cc: Karen Leonard; Joe Sneve; Don Jorgensen
Subject: Campaign letter allegations

Good evening.

As I near the end of my eight years of service as the elected representative from the Central District on the Sioux Falls City Council, I’m incredibly proud of the positive changes I have been part of. I’m even proud of our new event center, which I fought hard to have built in a different location than where it is performing so successfully for our community. I think Sioux Falls is a better place now than it was eight years ago.

I’m also happy to be stepping aside to allow for new leadership to help continue the momentum of growth and prosperity in our community. But I’m terribly disappointed by the rhetoric I’m seeing in this year’s municipal campaign.

Several personal friends received the letter attached to this message. They noted it appears to have been sent by the same direct mail firm that candidate Janet Brekke has used for her other mailings, making it a mass mailing that went to a significant number of people.

As a signer of this letter and a person I hold in high esteem, I have one major question. Does this letter represent allegations you are willing to stand by and support publicly?

I’m doing this by email so that you can respond to me in writing with the reasons you have allowed your name to be associated with unfounded rumors. In particular, this letter charges city government — and by extension me — with doctoring/tampering of public documents. This letter is full of allegations, but the tampering with public documents charge should be easy to prove and is most hurtful to me as an individual whom I thought you trusted.

Please respond back to me by email with the proof you have that convinced you to drag me through the political mud at the end of eight years of public service. I am copying a couple of friends in the local media as well as the city attorney, just as a precaution. Your allegations are harsh and personally embarrassing for me.

Thank you for your time.

Michelle Erpenbach

Brekke/Paulson race wasn’t ‘CLOSE’ and wasn’t ‘BIZZARE’

Oh Pitty-Patt, besides demeaning a candidate who actually decided to run for office the first time against a popular incumbent (Weiland actually got more votes than Loetscher) he decided he would spread more of his classic bull manure;

The closest of the major races had Janet Brekke, who ran a bizarre campaign at times, defeating John Paulson, whose campaign didn’t really seem to punch through the clutter.

Beating Paulson 56-44% is hardly ‘close’. Janet ran a strong campaign showing the lack of transparency in the current administration, her attorney and strategic planning skills and her ideas on fighting crime and cleaning up our core neighborhoods. Paulson ran the EXACT campaign he ran against Stehly, an election he lost. He also had his minions out grasping at straws with threats of sign compliance (John’s signs were out of compliance also) and sending petty emails complaining about who should be supporting who.

Janet won this race because she ran a better campaign and is a better candidate. Hands Down.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Theresa Stehly endorses Janet Brekke

This is not uncommon for sitting elected officials to endorse other candidates. When Cynthia Mickelson was running for School Board, Erickson publicly endorsed her.

Either way, any elected official can endorse a candidate. It is well within their 1st Amendment rights and freedom of speech.

Brekke responds to the sign compliance issue

Government & Confidentiality Agreements; Oil & Water

A local elected official sent me this article that talks about the pit falls of government employees and confidentiality agreements;

It was recently revealed that many of Donald Trump’s top advisers were asked to sign nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), forcing them to keep quiet about what happens in the White House — even after his presidency ends. Ruth Marcus, deputy editorial editor of The Washington Post labeled these agreements a presidential first and “not just oppressive, but constitutionally repugnant.” Government ethics experts say they are legally questionable.

But don’t think this just goes on in the WH;

This behind-closed-doors approach to resolving conflict in government troubles many.

“If public money is spent, it should be public information,” says Montana state Sen. Fred Thomas, one of the legislators who asked the auditor to look into confidential settlements.

And not just confidential settlements in local government;

In 2016, the issue shook the Alabama governor’s mansion, where Robert Bentley — who resigned in 2017 after news of his alleged affair with a campaign aide — had 87 members of his staff sign nondisclosure agreements two years prior.

How about municipal government?

Some states and cities already limit secret agreements.

San Francisco, for instance, prohibits the city from entering into confidential settlements. And in Iowa, a 2014 executive order, signed by then-Gov. Terry Branstad, bans agencies from adding confidentiality requirements to employee settlements and requires personnel settlements to be reviewed by the attorney general’s office. Branstad’s order followed news that six employees, who had filed grievances about their dismissals, had been paid more than a quarter of a million dollars in confidential settlements.

And what to the legal scholars think?

Legal scholars express doubt about whether confidential settlements and broad nondisclosure agreements in the public sector are enforceable.

“Legally, it’s very problematic to do these in the public sector. It runs afoul of public-sector employment law or sunshine laws,” says Alexander Colvin, a professor of conflict resolution at Cornell University and an expert in labor law.

The issue is particularly problematic for potential whistleblowers.

At the federal level, a whistleblower’s ability to report wrongdoing is strongly protected, but state laws tend to be weaker, vary dramatically and may not be known to employees, says Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, an organization dedicated to protecting whistleblowers.

He worries that any kind of agreement that curtails public employees’ free speech could deter them from flagging problems.

“There are administrative and legal remedies that would allow employees to break nondisclosure agreements or speak out or blow the whistle despite a confidential settlement,” he says. “But the mere existence of the agreement is highly chilling.”

And our local media said really nothing when Council Candidate Janet Brekke came out on Monday about the confidentiality agreement with city employees. Go figure. They have more important things to do like chase down white trash skanks who steal pizza place buffet cards.

Running for what?

UPDATE: Brekke – Government Secrecy Press Conference

UPDATE: I guess my initial takeaway is that this shouldn’t surprise anyone. I think people are getting so used to the games with transparency it just seems par for the course.

I think the biggest thing here is the confidentiality EO. As Janet pointed out words like ‘sensitive’ don’t really mean anything, and can be interpreted however. For example, if a maintenance employee told the Argus that the city spent $2 million dollars last year on toilet paper, and the mayor found out who told them, they technically could tell this employee that it was ‘sensitive’ information and terminate them. Basically a scare tactic to keep city employees from saying anything. While these kind of ‘rules’ exist in the corporate world, they have NO place in city government. Records should be open (besides litigation and personnel). City employees should not have to fear losing their job over it.

There is also a question of violating Federal whistle blower laws. Since the city receives Federal funds, those laws apply to city employees. City employees should have the right, Federally to report any misuse of Federal money or fraud. Federal Law almost always trumps state and local laws and ordinances.

As for the city clerk, I will say what I said when they hired Mr. Greco. They should not have hired him. The clerks office has two certified city clerks, one of them applied for the job after Lorie quit, she should have gotten it, instead, the HR department, controlled by the mayor not city council, picked someone with no certification, Greco wasn’t even registered to vote. We could go back and forth all we want about the lack of certification, the truth is, it should have never been an issue. Some would say that we would have lost one of the assistant clerks. Oh well, I think one main clerk and an assistant is enough. I would even go further and say we also should terminate the budget analyst since nobody knows what he really does, besides openly mocking councilors during public meetings like he did last Tuesday. Any duties he has could be easily handled by the Operations Manager. After they fired Debra it seems the office has gone to Hell in a handbasket, we had to hire 3 people to replace her, and they have less duties, and they take orders from the mayor.

It is also important to note that the city clerk is the responsibility of the city council, not the administration. He could have been sent to certification school on day one if they wanted to send him. I will be curious to hear what his excuse is, I’m sure it is some obscure rule pulled from the rear of Bill TheToole, the HR Director.

Another day of secrecy, what’s new?

You can the replay here;

Transcript and Index of Press Conference; Brekke-PC-transcript, Brekke-PC-Index

Below is a copy of the Executive Order by Mayor Huether on employee confidentiality. Signed in February of 2016;

These documents show the stripping the city clerk of the duties of official city record keeping; Clerk-Record-Keeping

These documents show samples of executive orders by the mayor; Example-Exec-Orders

These documents show an index of where executive orders are now stored; Exec-Order-Index

Brekke Press Conference -Livestream

Just a reminder that Cameraman Bruce will be attempting to Livestream the 10 AM press conference on Monday (4/2/2018). It will be posted on South DaCola if you cannot make the event in person at the Downtown Library.

Sioux Falls City Council Candidate Brekke to have press conference on Monday about government secrecy

“I have never seen anything like this in City Government” former Sioux Falls City Attorney Janet Brekke said Friday. “I am very concerned about the culture of secrecy which currently prevails in City government.”

While on the campaign trail Brekke has heard numerous complaints by citizens regarding the inability to get public information out of City Hall, as well as allegations of doctoring or tampering with documents.

“As a former City Attorney, I am aware of procedures that were put in place when this government was implemented that were designed to hold government officials accountable for their actions and to leave a paper tail of official actions” said Janet Brekke. “I have researched these procedures and will share my findings publicly on Monday, April 2, 2018 at the Downtown Public Library at 10:00 a.m.

In preparation for running for City Council Janet Brekke interviewed each of the current City Council members and City Directors. To prepare, she returned to consistently attending City Council meetings October, 2017. Brekke was City Attorney under five Sioux Falls mayors, beginning with Rick Knobe.

Brekke adds “In addition I have observed City Council members complaining of having incomplete information before being required to make major decisions. This must be corrected.”

Brekke will answer questions presented by the attendees and will be available following the press conference for interviews.

 

Janet Brekke on Sioux Empire Podcast