Entries Tagged 'Mayor TenHaken' ↓

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.

Maybe TenHaken needs to take his own advice when it comes to employees and social media

I’m guessing the city’s wellness coordinator may have an issue with this.

Remember what TenHaken said in 2012 about employees sharing political views on social media;

Ten Haken said he is no stranger to a good political debate on his Facebook and Twitter, but airing out your political feelings online can be a social media ‘don’t’ because it can come back to haunt you.  Rants and fights online can not only wreck personal relationships, but even put your job in jeopardy.

“It’s just safe to kind of walk the middle of the road and if you’re going to post about politics.  There’s nothing wrong with engaging in politics, but just not in such a polarizing way,” Ten Haken said.

Paul went on to comment in the thread;

Paul Ten Haken on 09.24.12 at 6:50 am

The takeaway from the story is that employers (self included) don’t necessarily appreciate overly controversial bantor and talk that can create a rift in a company’s culture. Politics, religion, sports, etc. are certainly not taboo, but extreme left and right views can make an employer question the “fit” someone will be in a work environment that the employer has painstakingly built.

And who can forget his Deputy COS’s comments just months (7/11/17) before being hired to work for the administration;

It seems Paul needs to step back and take his own advice before hiring certain individuals to work for the city.

Former Pizza Maker & Parks Board Member gets nod for new IT Director for city

Not since Paul appointed that FB cusser, TJ Nelson, as his deputy COS has he made a flub in an important appointment. Today that changed;

Mayor Paul TenHaken today announced the appointment of Jason Reisdorfer to the new position of Director of Innovation and Technology.

Where to begin with Jason? When he was appointed to the Parks Board, we decided to check his voting record. While he was registered to vote, he seemed skip the important part of that registration by voting. In anything.

You may also remember Jason’s very public attacks on FB towards councilor Stehly for trying to convert the Parks Board into districts and get their meetings video recorded. I guess I am not real keen on Jason’s disdain for government transparency and fairness when he will be running our secure data for the city.

But let’s move on to his stellar resume;

In 2012, Jason sold his restaurant business to go work with his long-time friend Eric Weisser.

I guess I am puzzled what business he sold? Or was it more like a liquidation? As I understand it the business he is referring to is a very successful pizza chain in the region that is still alive and well. I think Jason had a small ownership in a branch of the business that has since closed in Harrisburg.

Together, they built Weisser Distributing into one of the fastest growing companies in South Dakota. They recently earned their fourth consecutive selection to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the United States. As the Director of Operations, Jason led Weisser Distributing’s growth from four employees and $1 million in sales to over 130 employees with warehouses in three cities and are on pace to record over $65 million sales in 2018.

So this part of his resume actually has me asking more questions than anything. If he was just an employee that helped build the business this much, why would they let him go? If he had actual ownership in the business, why isn’t he staying? Did he sell his part? Or will he still have ownership and involvement while working for the city? Is that a conflict? I don’t know.

Also, I find it curious that he wants to work for the city of Sioux Falls when this company decided to move to Tea, SD to grow and not stay in Sioux Falls. How can you have pride in working for Sioux Falls when you decided to grow your business in Tea?

There is a lot of questions the city council needs to ask before approving this appointment.

Mayor TenHaken announces new department

Yesterday Paul unveiled his ‘Department of Innovation and Technology‘;

The City of Sioux Falls Mayoral Office has established a new department focused on innovation, technology and data.

“I’m excited for our new dedicated resources to help advance our city’s priorities by being an innovative and forward-thinking community,” says Mayor Paul TenHaken. “By embracing innovation, technology and data to help make key decisions, Sioux Falls will be well prepared for the next several decades.”

The Department of Innovation and Technology will include the divisions of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Information Technology, and Communications (formerly named Multimedia Support). These divisions will be under the leadership of a new Director, who will soon be appointed with the advice and consent of the City Council.

The new Director and their team will continue the great work these divisions already do, with a focus on how the City can do things better, more efficiently, more effectively, more sustainably, and with greater community impact. The Director will also work with other departments to foster innovation throughout city government.

“Initiatives like 5G connectivity for our city, autonomous vehicles, adaptive traffic flow technologies, mobile notification systems, and many other items will continue to move Sioux Falls ahead,” said Mayor TenHaken. “This restructure will ensure we stay on the leading edge of smart city government.”

It will be interesting to see who the new director will be. I like the idea. The past administration pretty much put the IT department in a holding pattern and tasked them more with ‘keeping secrets’ than opening government up and making it more customer friendly. If Paul pulls this off successfully, it could be the greatest ‘WIN’ in his first term.

Mayor TenHaken planning a big party for city employees?

Well, not really a party, but a discussion? I guess he has invited city employees to one of two meetings to have a ‘Rah Rah’ session with them. Not only has he asked city employees to attend, he has promised a ‘gift’ for attendance and has asked city councilors to NOT attend.

I am still waiting for more details, but I find it troubling that the public (at this point) is not asked to attend.

If the mayor has a citywide directive, he can easily put that forward in a employee citywide memo. He can even go a step further and actually take a week to visit each department and shake hands and personally ask city employees their opinions about city business.

Please Paul, tell me it isn’t true.

UPDATE: Did Mayor TenHaken ‘Reorganize’ another department?

UPDATE: The Mayor’s office confirmed today that the director of Central Services was let go last week due to a reorganization of her department. I guess she sent out an email over the weekend to city councilors telling them she was confused as to why she was let go. I’ll give you one reason, Sue; Huether Appointment.

The story from city hall is that Paul ‘reorganized’ another department yesterday. In other words, he ‘organized’ a departure of another director, and I heard he has a replacement already.

I have a pretty good guess who it is and what department, but I’m sure there will be an announcement this week, so I won’t rain on Erica’s, uh, I mean, Paul’s parade.

Let’s just say if it is true, DaCola approves.

. . . And no, it wasn’t Kelby 🙂

Mayor TenHaken, an obvious world of difference

I will first say, there are still things that concern me about Mayor Paul. I’m still trying to figure out his relationship with his staff. I still think he should have given Legacy the boot on the Village project and I still think he needs to give some directors the boot.

That all aside, I have been impressed with his different leadership style. He doesn’t seem to like the spotlight. I like that. I think in government modesty and a humble approach to your job is always best. You are there to serve.

In the video above, I am really excited he took an idea I threw at him early on in his administration at public input about working with the county(s) and school district.

As for public input, I’m glad he wrangled this in and didn’t let it get changed drastically. In fact, public input couldn’t be better (mostly due to the new state law) that allows public input at all public meetings and 1st readings.

But for the most part I have to give Paul props for running the meetings with respect, openness and allowing the city council to debate the issues without being cutoff.

Trust me, I know everyone thinks I am a Negative Nancy trying to find problems with his administration, and also trust me, I am constantly watching. But I will say this, Paul has been doing a pretty good job so far and that isn’t just me talking. I hear it a lot from citizens, and that really is the proof in the pudding.