Entries Tagged 'Mayor TenHaken' ↓

UPDATE: KSFY edits Councilor Stehly’s ‘OPINION’ after Mayor TenHaken sends out chastising email to the media and Theresa

UPDATE: Just when you thought this couldn’t get any better, KSFY decided to put Stehly’s comments back in the story with this disclaimer;

Mayor Paul TenHaken has called into question Stehly’s comment about sewer bills rising to $300 a month. He calls it an absurd assertion. KSFY News initially removed the comment after the story aired over concerns that it was confusing, but we have since put the comment back in. Stehly says she stands by her comment.

Prairie Values TV Journalism at it’s best. Maybe KSFY should just stick to doing stories about charity dog races, halloween decorations and food trucks and let the newspaper and blogs cover the ‘real’ news.

It is one thing to edit a story based on having a name misspelled, or numbers and places that or incorrect. That is responsible journalism. But to edit an ‘Opinion’ of an elected official after another elected official in same government entity sends out an email, well, is horrible journalism. I often chuckle at Trump when he says ‘Fake News’ but in this case, one has to wonder.

The other night on KSFY they did a story on the wastewater treatment plant, Councilor Stehly said she has a ‘concern’ that water bills could exceed $300 dollars a month. While I kind of cringed when she said that, it is what it is, an OPINION. (she really isn’t that far off the mark, while our bills will increase $2 a month, for a small business owner they could easily see bills increasing to $300. In fact, over the past decade our water/sewer bills have increased 93%).

Well this ‘Opinion’ did not sit well with Selfie Paul, he sent out this email to city staff and the media (I was conveniently NOT included);

Councilor Stehly:

Thank you for the opportunity this week to once again provide you with information on the Water Reclamation System. Upcoming investments in the collection and treatment systems is a foundational investment crucial to both current and future residents who expect a reliable wastewater collection and treatment system.

The administration has invested hundreds of hours on this project due to the importance of this infrastructure for our city as well as the large price tag attached to it. We have also spent time briefing the City Council, media and public on the importance of this project.

Unfortunately, this week you broke a sacred trust elected leaders have with their constituents. As elected officials we have an obligation to present factual information to the public. That is what I have done in my role as mayor and that is what I expect of city employees. Yesterday, on KSFY and on Tuesday at City Council Informational you stated wastewater customers will experience a $300 per month rate increase as a result of this project. Spreading such misinformation when factual projections have been presented to you is a disservice to your constituents and I’m disappointed you knowingly spread this false information.

Talk about misinformation! It was simply an opinion of ONE city councilor. In the original KSFY story (the edited version is here) Stehly’s ‘Opinion’ was in there, after this email was sent it was edited out of the video (almost) and the text.

Ironically though they didn’t edit the close captioning, it still remains there;

I’m NOT blaming the reporter for this, I’m sure the higher ups made this decision to edit the story, which makes it even more egregious. There’s a fine line between FACTS and OPINIONS, maybe someone should explain this to the producers of KSFY or more importantly the Mayor.

Mayor TenHaken’s office has armed guard now?

Apparently there has been some threats made towards the mayor and city employees so now the mayor’s office has an armed guard and you have to be buzzed in.

The rumor I heard was that someone walked into the mayor’s office and took a can of Coke out of his refrigerator.

Who knows?!

What is ironic about this is that our State Legislature in all of their wisdom think it is okay to carry concealed weapons into public buildings like City Hall and Carnegie, and now someone steals a pop from Paul and we need a sentinel.

Oh the irony.

City of Sioux Falls avoids Civil Rights Lawsuit

A frequent commenter at City Council meetings, Sierra Brussard, a transgender woman who talks about crime in our city (prostitution, drugs and gangs) and puts herself out there to track these bad folks down has complained for over a year(?) that the city, has blocked her number.

She finally got wise over the past month and realized that it is a civil rights violation for the city and police department to block her phone number. At Tuesday’s city council meeting she warned the council and mayor that if her phone was NOT unblocked by 9 AM this Friday she would be filing a civil rights lawsuit against them with the help of the ACLU.

Well, the lawyers with the city must have finally got wise and her phone was unblocked yesterday.

While some in the PD find Sierra to be an annoyance, she is actually trying to help the SFPD bust criminals, especially drug dealers and pimps. She has not been very complimentary of the SFPD, and that probably hasn’t helped the situation, but the best way to fix any issue in government is by uncomfortable and sometimes controversial dissent.

I believe Sierra told me she has testified in dozens of trials against these bad dudes. I have often been proud of the work she does trying to get these people off of our streets, it’s a thankless effort for sure. She is very courageous. The city should be helping her in anyway possible to track these yahoos down. Unblocking her phone was the first good move by the city.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken getting closer to the Dawn of the TIFs

So he makes this announcement today;

“Taking care of citizens is job number one for the City,” said Mayor Paul TenHaken. “Our economic and workforce growth is dependent upon a healthy construction and housing industry, and this reorganization will help industry thrive as well as our citizens who are the housing consumers in Sioux Falls.”

In other words get ready for TIFiliscious 2.0. They are trying to slowly smooth us into this. But as I have said about city government many times, it is extremely predictable.

I asked a city councilor when this press release came out at 4:50 PM today if they knew about the reorganization. You know the answer.

UPDATE: I also find this video below of Dusty Johnson talking about ‘welfare’ while the company he works for took a ‘corporate welfare’ in TIFs. So it is OK for YOUR parents to take welfare, and it is okay for YOUR company to take welfare, but gosh darn it, you are going to crack down on all the other people? It reminds of Leslee Unruh who had an abortion but doesn’t want anyone else to have that right.

Republicans; Do as I say, NOT as I do.

UPDATE: Is the TenHaken Administration getting ready to get ‘TIFaliscious’?

Well, that wasn’t to tough, they got Brian Allen at KSFY to roll over and talk about how great TIFs are. Funny, the important part missing from Allen’s story, the actual economic impact;

A KSFY review of active Tax Increment Financing projects in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota shows there is a dramatic drop-off in TIF usage.

You know why? Because several studies have been done showing they have very little economic impact. I also find if comical that Allen only interviewed PRO TIF folks and NO one who is against them. I also like how some in the interview talk about how South Dakota does them ‘different’. Good stuff. Yet there has been NO extensive study done in South Dakota showing the actual economic impact of them. Why? Because the results would be grim.

What other people don’t realize is that when we give wealthy developers TIFs we all pay more in property taxes to supplement them to fund things like our counties, cities and public education.

I think the TenHaken administration is gearing up to start handing them out, literally like candy. His COS, Beck, wrote the Sanford Sports Complex TIF while working for the city (the largest in state history) and she also wrote the most recent one while working for Lloyd Companies for the Cascade project that is mostly marketplace apartments.

Tonight the city is hiring a finance director who worked for the Costello Companies (a major developer in SF) who is also an expert in TIFs.

It is pretty clear to me they are getting us prepped and they are probably chiding our local media behind the scenes to talk about the ‘positivity’ of TIFs.

Let’s face it, they are simply a tax rebate for private developers who could easily pay the taxes with or without the TIF. We don’t have a growth problem in Sioux Falls. In fact we are developing so much and building so fast we can’t hire people fast enough. The city council even gave SE Tech $100K for more job training programs. This tells me we don’t need to be subsidizing growth and development in Sioux Falls, it actually tells me we need to find ways to slow this growth and concentrate on SMART-STEADY growth not FAST URBAN SPRAWL.

The TIF model in itself isn’t a bad idea, but I think it should be applied to cleaning up neighborhoods. Giving tax rebates to single family homeowners and small apartment owners to clean up the neighborhoods would be a better approach, and it would be a visible economic impact. When individuals have to spend less on taxes and divert that money to improving their properties and lives that means they spend more money on other things that help with sales tax revenue that truly impacts our community. Businesses who use TIFs to expand their businesses don’t pay sales taxes, they just collect them. Give the rebates to individuals who will actually use them to improve lives and contribute to sales tax revenue.

Let’s face it, TIFs right now are truly ‘Corporate Welfare’ and not much else.

UPDATE: Did anyone catch Dusty Johnson in the interview? Mr. Fiscal Conservative ANTI-WELFARE wants to raise the Social Security age gladly preaching the ‘WINS’ about TIFs? We know exactly what Dusty would do in Congress, handout to big business while stepping on the little guy. If I was the Bjorkman campaign I would be clipping this little piece of corporate welfare pie for a future TV commercial.

Could more heads be rolling next week?

As mayor TenHaken has said in the past, he is continually reviewing his departments and department heads. He eliminated the Community Development Department and Central Services and re-organized them.

The rumor mill is telling me he is looking at another department to re-organize and they are under close review. Apparently under the past administration they took on some new processes directed by that mayor and they may NOT be working as planned. Unfortunately, with this re-organization more than a handful could be leaving.

We will have to wait and see.

Is TJ Nelson Paul’s go to BS Artist?

There are a lot of FACTUAL arguments for and against using a public ambulance service. So let’s try to stick to those. Councilor Starr did;

And because in 2019 the city will begin a practice of allowing paramedics on the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue to perform advanced life support at emergency scenes, Starr said now is that time.

“All fire fighters are EMTs, and we have a large number of paramedics that we pay to train,” he said earlier this month. “I’d like to see them take on that role because I see ambulance service as a utility, and it shouldn’t be a for-profit business.”

But that didn’t stop Mayor TenHaken’s Deputy COS, TJ Nelson, from spinning the issue;

“This is really a philosophical discussion,” said T.J. Nelson, deputy chief of staff in the mayor’s office. “But it’s unrealistic to think the city could prop up a city-run ambulance in two years and that’s not something we’d even propose.”

Philosophical? Has Nelson been reading Plato? It is an easy discussion to have based on research that is already out there. This isn’t a conservative vs. liberal philosophies. This is an ambulance service. I do agree you would NOT be able to start one in two years, but a 4-5 year time frame would not be unreasonable.

But this statement is just flat out false;

But Nelson predicts that study would show an astronomical financial burden on Sioux Falls and its taxpayers should future city leaders want to do away with the for-profit model historically used here.

“That would be a huge lift, dozens of new FTEs and millions of dollars in capital just to lift that up. And we’re getting it all now for no cost,” he said referring to the staffing increases a change would require, the construction elements that would come with equipping fire halls with additional space to house ambulances and the liability that comes with providing ambulance service.

NO cost? Was that some kind of sick joke? Right now the SFFD is responding to emergency calls, in fact over 90% of fire calls are medical emergencies or similar events. They are ususally the first ones there before the ambulance. Our reimbursement for responding to these calls and essentially subsidizing Paramedics Plus is ZERO! With a Public Ambulance service we could contract a 3rd party to collect payments and work with insurance companies and medicare for a commission, we would receive the remainder. In other words we would be able to collect payments for service. Right now PP pays the city NOTHING for responding to these events. While initially the capital costs would be high, once the system is in place we would actually be taking in revenue from it. Just because it is PUBLIC doesn’t mean we cannot receive payments for the service.

As for having a consultant looking at options, Cameraman Bruce adds;

The use of J Fitch and Associates as our future ambulance consultant should be held in scorn. This is the operation caught in the middle of the federal probe of questionable practices. Paramedics Plus, it’s personnel and J. Fitch are partners in many operations and “clubs”. Any help from them would continue the wrongs we are experiencing.

It is time to explore a Public Ambulance service, but let’s do it in a HONEST and Transparent way.

 

 

UPDATE: Mayor Unveils One Sioux Falls Framework

Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Today, Mayor Paul TenHaken unveiled the One Sioux Falls framework to the employees of the City of Sioux Falls.

One Sioux Falls is the framework that the administration and City employees will use to guide their work to provide excellent quality of life in Sioux Falls.

Each of the four focus areas fall under the umbrella of innovation and investments in foundational growth for our growing community.

Safety and Health: Provide a safe community in which the health and well-being of our citizens is above the national average.

Accessible Housing: Foster the availability of housing options at all income levels, throughout the city.

Workforce: Continue to develop a community with a quality of life that will attract and retain the best employee base in the United States.

Engaging People: Engage, collaborate and partner with the community to solve our challenges and seize our opportunities.

“Sioux Falls is a growing city with growing needs, and that requires a clear vision and shared set of goals for success. The One Sioux Falls framework will guide my administration’s efforts to move Sioux Falls forward so we can be better today and be prepared far into the future,” said Mayor Paul TenHaken.

 

 

Jason Reisdorfer will likely be appointed as the new Tech & Innovation Director

Let’s face it, we still have a lot of questions. Why would anyone leave a successful business they helped build in the private sector to work in city government? I don’t know the answer to that question.

We also don’t know how Jason’s salary was compiled when he lacks a college degree and is solely based on the last person’s pay.

We do know that Mayor TenHaken is extremely happy about his pick since he has been having difficulty getting people from the private sector to work for him. My guess is because of how the last mayor ran the place like a dictatorship. Nobody wants to work for a dictator.

Even if all 8 councilors voted against his appointment, I still believe Paul has the power to override the consent. I do believe Jason will be appointed on a (7-1) vote. Even councilors I talked to who may have their reservations about Jason understand that the Mayor has the executive power to appoint anyone to his team, and they certainly won’t stand in the way of his duties. It’s really his responsibility.

But a bigger question still remains that I think I will try to answer. How can a mayor appoint someone to this highly technical post without the professional experience?

Well this didn’t start with TenHaken or even Bucktooth & Bowlcut, or Dave or Gary, this kind of culture of political appointments has been around for a long time. Only in the last administration we saw it to be more obvious. Corporate marketing types like to surround themselves with other corporate marketing types in some strange attempt to ‘change’ government to run more like a business. While some aspects of that may have worked under the last dude, it certainly didn’t look good for the taxpayers debt load, increased taxes and fees, transparency in government and public trust.

I was hoping Paul would have seen that, but apparently not.

Corporate gurus in government often replace their best talent with people like them. We saw this with Debra Owen. Not only a talented City Clerk, legislative researcher, but one heck of a lawyer. She wore 3 hats well and did it for a lot less pay. It took 3 people to replace her (with a lot less experience and no law degrees) with a combined salary of around $230K.

As I have told several councilors over the past few days that Jason will get easily frustrated with the speed in which government moves. He will also find out that hiring and firing civil service employees isn’t an easy task. He may also get discouraged by having to make important decisions in the open with other directors, city councilors and the public instead of behind closed doors in a corporate board room and a Crown Royal in his hand.

If anything we can take from Councilor Stehly’s Facebook kerfuffle is that Jason is easily tempered. Can he calm these reactions once he starts working for the citizens? Not sure.

While I hope he does good things, and I think he probably has some good ideas, otherwise Paul wouldn’t be so Gung Ho in hiring him, I think he will become easily frustrated and probably not make it very long in city government. But I wish him well in the short time he will be working for us.

Is Mayor TenHaken setting a precedent by appointing a city director without a college degree (or any degree)?

I have often told people, in Sioux Falls the best way to climb the corporate ladder is to kiss a lot of ass and meet a lot of people. It is WHO you know, not WHAT you know.

Just look at the appointment of Darrin Smith in the previous administration. He was appointed to run the parking department than community development without any planning experience, and now he runs an arts center. At least he had a college degree.

Notice that after Mayor TenHaken terminated the Central Services Director he said he was changing the name and purpose of the position. Could he also be changing the job description and requirements? Most city (if not all) directors and management have to have a college degree or a degree in their chosen profession. In fact, the HR director has said in public meetings that is how pay scales are determined. Many government jobs work this way. Agree or disagree, it is just the way it has been done.

So how is it that a ‘NEW’ position is being created, at the top of the pay scale ($147K Salary) for a person without a degree?

How do you think the other city directors feel about this?

While I don’t have a problem with people succeeding in the private sector without a college degree, in the public sector, a director should at least have a degree. Public Works director, Mark Cotter has an engineering degree, for example. The person running Falls Community Health has a medical degree. The recently appointed city attorney has a law degree and is a judge advocate for our armed services.

You get the picture.

Wouldn’t you want the person running our IT services for the city to have a computer science degree (even an associates)? Or something similar.

Maybe Jason has a degree, but all I have seen so far is that he attended Augie for 3 years and studied mathematics.

When it comes to the person that is securing the data for the city, the school of hard knocks just doesn’t cut it.

Mayor TenHaken tried to downplay Jason’s IT experience in a KELO interview;

“It’s less important to me that someone knows the difference between Server A and Server B but understands their impact.”

If you are managing a department, shouldn’t you have some knowledge what your underlings are doing? That’s a scary thought in itself.

I also take issue with the title. It sounds like something a corporation or marketing agency would create to generate more profit. When are we going to realize the city is not in the business of profits and losses. It is in the business of fiscal restraint and a high level of customer service to the tax payers.

We have had enough ‘salespeople’ in city hall. I want to be ‘served’ not ‘sold’ something.