Entries Tagged 'Mayor TenHaken' ↓

UPDATE: Sioux Falls Chief of Staff for TenHaken makes $161K a year

While I’m still waiting for the 2019 salary report to come out, I have some ‘early’ returns.

COS Erica Beck’s salary is $161K + $28K in benefits.

In comparison, Mayor TenHaken’s salary is $128K + $42K in benefits (Salary is controlled by ordinance and not performance or education).

Also, City Councilor’s yearly salary is $19K plus $200 month stipend for gas and phone. They are ineligible for retirement or healthcare benefits even though other cities and counties across the state allow it.

Like I said, once I get the full salary report, I will have more names to add.

I have often felt that NONE of the Mayor’s ‘support staff’ should get paid more than him. For example, when looking at the 2018 salaries, the former mayor’s secretary (who is still with the city) was getting $63K + Benefits and his communications manager was getting $75K + Benefits. Also, the Operations manager for the city council will make around $100K this year, and he has to support 8 people instead of just one.

I also find it a bit ironic when you see these corporate like pay scales in public service (government is not like private business).

Just read this story when you want to have comparable wages in the private sector in SD;

The News Watch analysis of 2017 wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics within the U.S. Department of Labor showed that:

  • Roughly 21 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 87,000 people, make under $30,000 a year; 41 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 169,400 people, make under $35,000 a year, and 71 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 292,000 people, make under $40,000 a year.
  • Out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, South Dakota is third lowest in average annual pay at $40,770, with the national average at $55,470. The state is also at or near the bottom nationally for average pay in several occupational sectors, including office and administrative support (51st), architecture/engineering (51st), education (50th), production workers (50th), life/physical/social sciences (50th), construction and extraction (50th), arts/design/sports/media (50th), computer and mathematical (49th), community and social services (48th), legal (47th), transportation and materials movement (45th), community and social services (47th) and business and financial operations (44th).
  • While doctors, medical specialists, dentists and CEOs are among the highest paid, the support staffs that work for them are among the lowest paid.

Isn’t it sad that about 71% of employed people in SD make under $40K a year and the mayor’s COS makes 4X that in the public sector. What is even more troubling is that TenHaken calls himself a fiscal conservative because he is of Dutch decent, yet pays corporate like wages on the taxpayer’s dime. I guess he is only conservative when it comes to HIS money, not ours.

I also find it a bit ironic that this story has been long overdue, and where did it come from? The local MSM? The AP? Maybe PBS? Nope. From a Non-Profit online news organization.

Mayor TenLincoln?

I had to take a double take when I saw this image on KDLT’s site for a story about 2018. Maybe’s it’s an omen . . . LOL . . . yeah right.

Belfrage continues to rant about a ‘Nothing Burger’

It’s been a week today since the last city council meeting, and Belf continues to rant about how councilor Neitzert was ‘supposedly’ treated after last week’s council meeting. Now he is complaining to the mayor. I asked about this ‘incident’ since I was not there. I usually try to leave the meetings before the end so I don’t have to talk to the elected officials. I figure if they can’t talk to me during the public forum, why should I talk to them afterwards? What I was told is that a constituent, who knows Neitzert very well and has a good relationship with him ‘jokingly’ said to him he was a ‘rubber stamper puppet’. I guess he didn’t take it as a joke until this person laughed and told him they were joking. I’m not sure if this is how it played out, but I find it really hard to believe someone would ‘visciously’ get in his face and say this to him after the meeting. But since Batman didn’t die this week, Belf had to dig up some fake controversy.

The mayor, also continues to claim Stehly was ‘misleading’ the public about the $300 a month statement. It was a sarcastic figure of speech. Get over it already. The mayor also knows very little about how we have historically funded infrastructure projects, he claims we have always used enterprise funds. Not true, that change occurred during the last administration because the mayor at that time wanted to free up the 2nd penny to spend on pleasure palaces. Some have even claimed that Bowlcut & Bucktooth did more for our roads. Not true. Our roads were rated around 70% Good to Fair (which is a good rating) when he came into office. We had the same rating when he left.

TenHaken also claimed that our city employees (mostly directors) do things with the highest integrity. I have often argued their integrity is only matched by those who lead them. When the former mayor was lying about the siding settlement with the help of Fiddle-Faddle, why didn’t any of these city directors come forward and blow the whistle? Wouldn’t this be considered having integrity? I have said all along, it is very similar to the movie ‘A Few Good Men’. The city employees and mostly directors follow the orders of their leader, whether it is right or wrong. That is why I have had very little faith in how this sewer plant was ‘planned’.

SFPD Union has some harsh words for Mayor TenHaken

While people have railed on me in the past about things I say about local public servants, not sure if I can beat a zinger like this;

“(The mayor) has failed every single character test when it comes to the rank and file,” Holbeck said. “Right now, his word is worth about five cents.”

Now that I have stopped laughing, let’s continue.

Another mayor and another snub of the PD. While I have often been critical of policies and leadership at the SFPD, I do think the officers deserve fair pay and reasonable wage increases and benefits. But it seems how to negotiate those contracts goes over the anti-union, right-wing, Republican Mayor’s head;

Holbeck said that response doesn’t sit well with union members, who prefer wages based on responsibility than equity and feel like TenHaken isn’t following through with his commitment to being supportive of law enforcement.

Wouldn’t you pay on what people do instead of thinking the responsibility of all the officers are the same?

This is what happens when you have a partisan-hack who comes from a non-union corporate structure that rewards ‘SALES’ over actual ‘WORK’. This is why I have despised sales people for a very long time. Not all ‘worker bees’ are the same, and they shouldn’t be treated that way.

During the campaign, TenHaken said he’d have an open-door policy for police officers, who have since been told to direct all communications to the mayor through the chief of police; and the mayor didn’t attend any of the negotiation hearings or a recent briefing between the City Council and the union, Holbeck said.

If Paul would have bothered to show up to a couple of meetings, he might have learned something. I guess he was too busy filming carpool karaoke with pastor Keith in his Lexus. Which many people have asked me if the officer was on the clock while filming this or was he just given a free ‘bottle of pop’?

Why is it so hard for city government leaders to complete some of the easiest tasks? If they can’t negotiate a simple union contract, I hate to see what is in store for transit riders. Grab your ankles, the bus is now in motion.

Sioux Falls Weather Peeps: HUGE FAIL!

I sometimes wonder if our grocery stores are secretly giving money under the table to our local weather peeps? I drove around tonight at 8:30 PM. Thirty-four degrees, streets completely clear and barely a half-inch of snow on my sidewalk. I saw very little traffic. If I was the hospitality industry in SF I would threaten to sue the TV stations for killing weekend business. Stop telling us that it ‘could’ be a blizzard? Your forecasting not only sucks, you are doing a disservice to the retail and hospitality industry in Sioux Falls.

UPDATE: City Hall still in denial about what the 2nd Penny is for

The 2nd penny was designed to help pay for roads and infrastructure, like sewer plants, but city hall seems to be clueless about it;

Stehly’s repeal efforts, though, face long odds of gaining success. T.J. Nelson, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Paul TenHaken, said the administration opposes the resolution because it is a less equitable way to provide sewer service to Sioux Falls residents.

That’s because right now, sewer and water customers — including businesses like big box stores and industrial type companies — pay for what they use. Nelson said if the city shifted from consumption-based pricing, the average citizen who pays sales tax could end up subsidizing water and sewer services for the heaviest water and sewer users in the city.

“Councilor Stehly’s proposal goes completely against the heart of the issue,” he said. “Her resolution would to have the opposite effect of what she thinks it will.”

Yet every time I go buy groceries or anything in this town I am subsidizing people who are attending shows at the Denty. Doesn’t that go against the ‘Heart of the Issue?’ Why should I have to pay extra for milk and eggs so people can be entertained? If we truly want to use user fees, then we need to have the users of the Denty pay for the Denty.

Stehly’s proposal is simple, use user fees to pay for operating and maintenance of the sewer system, use the 2nd penny to upgrade the infrastructure of the sewer system. It’s not rocket science, in fact it is the fiscally responsible thing to do and worked for decades in Sioux Falls until the former mayor had to get his mitts on extra money for his play things.

Also, the bigger question is why didn’t hear about this expansion until after the election, they have known about this for a very long time (Public Works).

UPDATE: I wrote about this TWO years ago, changing all the entertainment facilities in Sioux Falls over to Enterprise Funds.

UPDATE: Another Comedy routine, this time at City Hall

And the laughs keep coming. I’m afraid to ask what happened at the Minnehaha County Commission meeting this morning.

City Hall reassures us there are NO dangers in 5G, then this;

But, according to federal rules, health concerns about radiation and radio frequency emissions aren’t a valid reason for local governments to stand in the way of the expansion of 5G technology.

The Federal Communications Commission, though, says early indications are the technology poses no risk to the public, though there are no definitive studies due to 5G being in its infancy.

It’s kind of like we don’t know if the mushrooms are poisonous until the royal food tester eats one. Is this City Hall or an episode of Monty Python?

Oh, but the lack of transparency excuses are even funnier than the health affects;

And while claims that 5G technology is unsafe don’t ring true for TenHaken, his deputy chief of staff T.J. Nelson said even if they did the city couldn’t prohibit 5G expansion if it wanted.

“Part of 1996 Telecommunications Act … preempts local government from regulating wireless communications on the basis of environmental effects of radio frequency emissions,” he said.

So if that is true old wise one TJ, what does this mean;

That’s why City Hall is moving ahead with an ordinance proposal to establish licensing and fee requirements for companies like Verizon Wireless that want to install 5G towers in public right of ways that are in line with FCC guidelines.

How can City Hall move forward with ordinances if #1) they have to follow the FCC’s rules and #2) Had no public input and #3) No input from the city council and #4) No public meetings?

Oh, and BTW, only 3 city councilors reached out to me about my email. Two by phone and one by email. All three of them told me they feel like they are bound by the Feds rules, and I get that. So if that is true, how can you have local regulations on the books if the FCC overrides them?

No sure if this is some kind of a sick joke, but it’s not funny, even if the messenger has a bad combover.

UPDATE: Here are some things we can expect, 

http://www.govtech.com/network/Sacramento-Calif-Partners-with-Verizon-on-Free-Park-Wi-Fi.html

https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/city-beat/article154728374.html

http://www.govtech.com/network/Sacramento-Verizon-Push-Pause-on-Kiosk-Deal.html?utm_term=READ%20MORE&utm_campaign=Sacramento%2C%20Verizon%20Push%20Pause%20on%20Kiosk%20Deal%2C%20ProudCity%20Builds%20Recovery%20Website%20for%20Paradise%2C%20Calif.&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email

In addition to 5G, the city’s contract with Verizon calls for the company to provide free Wi-Fi in 27 of Sacramento’s parks; provide internship and career opportunity programs for area STEM students; utilize technology to improve public safety and improve traffic congestion at city intersections; and build multipurpose digital kiosks.

What’s in it for Verizon? As The Bee reported then, a memo in 2017 regarding the partnership said Verizon would get free use of 101 small cell towers for 10 years and low-cost rates for 5G cell locations when the technology goes commercial — as it will, officially, starting Monday.

http://www.govtech.com/network/Verizon-5G-Goes-Live-in-Parts-of-Sacramento-Calif.html

Open Letter to City Council & Mayor about 5G

I sent this email to Mayor Paul TenHaken and the Sioux Falls City Council tonight. Hopefully I will get an answer to my question about planning and transparency;

Dear Councilors & Mayor,

I have some concerns with how fast we are pushing the new 5G rules and regulations for Sioux Falls.

First, to the health concerns. I have done some of my own research on this and it seems the ‘jury is out’. While there doesn’t seem to be any short term harmful effects to humans because of the powerful microwaves emitted from 5G antennas, there simply hasn’t been enough long term studies done on it. Now, I’m not saying they are unsafe, but would like to see our local government be very cautious on how close they are placed to dense office, schools, parks and residential areas.

Besides the health impact to the community, there is also a visual impact of these devices. Will they be hidden enough to just blend into their environment or will they stick out like a sore thumb?

I guess my biggest concern is that it seems all these sudden rules, regulations and permitting fees and licensing have been decided behind closed doors with the help of some very powerful people in Washington. I hope this is NOT the case.

I’m wondering if any public meetings were held to get feedback from the community? I am wondering if the public will have a chance to weigh in? I’m also wondering how much my city council and even school board and county commissions got to weigh in on these new rules?

We were promised transparency by the new council, the current sitting council and mayor during the election, I’m hoping moving forward with 5G we will have full openness and transparency, I don’t want to see Sioux Falls residents turned into lab rats for powerful Washington lobbyists and industry. I think 5G is an amazing opportunity for Sioux Falls, if done right.

Please assure me that I’m not being treated like a rat.

Scott L. Ehrisman

southdacola.com

Sioux Falls, SD

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.