Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Haven’t We Learned Yet? (Construction Manager at Risk is a secretive process)

Construction Manager at Risk as practiced in Sioux Falls SD is a failure and no one in city government is willing to admit it. This video has Cameraman Bruce speaking during the Public Input portion of the Sioux Falls City Council Informational meeting on January 8, 2018. He followed presentations by city administrators extolling their versions of why it makes their jobs easier.  Nowhere in their presentations was proof offered we get a better building, other than a few “amenities”. But at what cost, what did we lose?

In 2016, a group of 6400 Sioux Falls citizens were part of the Stop the Funding effort to slow down the process of building the Romantix Annex City Center Administration building. It was an ill-conceived and poorly planned building designed to use up a portion of the city’s bonding authority before the last mayor left office. His rush was to have a borrow big money and then have a big going away party, not good government.

Now we are left with a building with many design flaws few want to admit. Why else would the original supporters of this building try to quietly spend over $400,000 to “fix” some of the flaws?

This is not a gotcha moment. The current administration did the right thing to not hide these problems. They did not create them. The other guy did it and he should always be the blame for his mistakes. His mistakes ended in May 2018.

We ask, why can’t these change orders, fixing mistakes be put in the public arena so we can be part of the solution and not always have to think the worst?

Tuesday’s Sioux Falls City Council Tidbits

It’s already been a busy day.


This just isn’t a Sioux Falls issue, it is happening across the nation. But as Councilor Starr pointed out during the informational meeting, instead of subsidizing food and housing for people, maybe we should start paying living wages in this town. Gee, what a concept. Employers would prefer to wage collude and pay low wages and have non-profits, the government, churches and school district bail these people out. It’s total BULLSH*T and it’s time our local government pulls their heads from their asses and realize that we need to attract businesses with integrity that want to build the middle class again in Sioux Falls.


I’m not going to rail on the city, because I know they are considering expanding this program to individual homeowners and smaller apartment property owners. Great idea! The council is going to have conversations about this, and I know it was one of the tenants that Brekke ran on. I have been saying for years that property tax reductions for individuals who live in lower middle class neighborhoods to do essential renovations to their homes (windows, siding, roofing, etc.) would go a lot farther than giving tax breaks to people who build glass and concrete million dollar condos downtown. But what do I know? I’m just a middle-class Marxist.


Tonight at the regular city council meeting, Public Works Director, Cotter was upfront about what happened. As I heard the other day, the thermal cooling system did not work. Pretty much bad engineering. And because it needs to be fixed NOW, the city has to pay for it, but there is legal discussion about who will ultimately pay for it. It is further proof that Construction Manager at Risk does not work. Basically because the public, and really the council, is left in the dark about problems. Tonight was the first time anybody heard there was a problem. Why? Because the CMAR is supposed to handle these things (behind closed doors). It looks like if we are not successful in the legal process we will be holding the bag. Not acceptable.

As many people brought up tonight, we should have never built the building. We did not need it. Thanks Bowlcut.

5G GOT APPROVED, because we had no choice

It was amazing and disgusting to watch. The city council pretty much had to allow the contract ($175 a year, per pole, per year) because the Feds said so, or they will sue. Imagine that, DC represents big business and special interests. Who knew?


The mayor announced a study group today to figure out what to do with the EC campus. Great idea. As I said yesterday, this should have been done before we built the Denty out there. Either way, I will probably NOT be asked to be on the group, so here is my two cents. Fix up the Arena, DO NOT TEAR IT DOWN. It is a fortress. Bulldoze the Canaries Stadium. If they want to continue playing in SF we have spent millions on Harmadon Park. Great place to watch a game. The taxpayers of SF don’t need to continue to subsidize Pro-Am teams in this town.


In some ways, this turned out to be a good thing, since it will still be a place where ADA individuals can live. It’s just too bad these people had to go thru this. That being said, I think the City Council should have approved the re-zone of surplus property. I don’t think that alley is that valuable, it’s just a bunch of developers snipping at each other, so now we are back to the beginning.


Even if it rains.

Well, kind of.

I guess the Levitt will ‘Plan’ on having 50 concerts a year, but how it works, as I understand it, if there is a rain out and the concert cannot be held due to weather, it still ‘counts’. Interesting, if it is true.

There still has been little conversation about allowing bringing your own beer to events. The argument to selling only on site is a security issue. I get it. So why not have a secure area for people who bring their own beverages? This isn’t rocket science folks. Provide a secure area so people can bring their own.

Maybe we should have done this BEFORE we built the Denty in that location?

Looks like we are trying to make something work after the fact. Should have been built Downtown.

No blame here on the TenHaken administration, they are just trying to polish a turd that the former Ram Rod Mayor plopped out.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • Jan 8, 2019 • Massive Change Orders

Informational Meeting, 4 PM

There will be 4 presentations/reports during the informational, that look very intriguing, unfortunately I have no supporting documents yet, so I have no idea what they will be about;

• Siouxland Heritage Museum board

• Property tax reduction programs

• Construction manager at risk (the timing of this is interesting considering the change orders in the consent agenda during the regular meeting that are very mysterious)

• Sioux Falls Thrive Update

City Council Regular Meeting, 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts/Agreements

The city is subsidizing transportation for a private Non-Profit and the School District at the tune of $226K;

Once again the city coffers are footing the bill for entities that should be able to pay for these on their own. Isn’t if funny how the SFSD has oodles of money for admin pay and brick and mortar buy can’t scrape money together for actual EDUCATION.

The Arts Council comes for it’s annual subsidy;

While most of the time I wouldn’t think nothing of this, usually in the past an Arts Council representative would do a presentation about what their programming is. To tell you the truth, ever since the last director left, several months ago, I have NO IDEA what they have been doing. Maybe it would be a good time for an update at the meeting. A city councilor needs to pull this agenda item and get some man splain’in.


Item #7, Change Orders

While change orders are not uncommon with multi-million dollar city buildings, almost a half a million on a $25 million dollar building is mysterious;

After I saw this on Friday, I started asking contractor friends if they knew anything. The ‘rumor’ going around is that the thermal system they were going to use for HVAC (which requires drilling into the ground) didn’t work because of water and quartzite issues.

This of course would be an engineering mistake, so why wouldn’t the construction manager at risk (CMAR) catch this? And if they did, why are the taxpayers on the hook for fixing it? If a contractor miscalculates or makes a mistake in engineering, isn’t that their fault?

If all of this is ‘true’, the city needs to put on their big boy pants and tell the CMAR to ‘EAT IT’ or at least get a judge to tell them to.

Hopefully the council will pull this item so we can get some more man splain’in.

Item #10, 2nd Reading, Ordinance to give a Heckuva Deal on a lease agreement to a major Communications company. Oh, and we don’t have a choice in the matter, because it’s the ‘FEDS’. Another contract the ‘powerless’ city council is voting on that they have NO input or control of. Silly.

Item #12, 1st Reading, Ordinance to repeal drone regulations in our city parks. While this makes sense, since the FAA regulates our air space, just another example of the FEDS telling us what to do. Thanks John Thune.

Sioux Falls City Council’s NEW SIRE numbering system a mess

Cameraman Bruce has noticed some issues with the new SIRE numbering system, mostly that they are re-using older meeting numbers, which can cause major DATA issues. He has brought this up with the city clerk and several city councilors;

Sioux Falls is once again setting up to repeat the past by recycling SIRE meeting numbers. Why is it happening?

Since the December 2018 SIRE meeting system conversion, the meeting numbers have been recycled from the past. To the average user, this does not seem to be a problem, but for a historian or data manager, it is a disaster ready to happen.

All meetings should be set to unique identity numbers built on the key numbering field used in the past.

The recently recorded and posted meetings should be renumbered starting with at least #2797 to prevent future issues.

I’ve spent 40 years cleaning up the disasters caused by this kind of sloppiness. Is this the kind of disaster preparedness we can continue to expect from our city government?

It is hard to imagine a good data manager not raising a red flag to this disaster in the making. Is there a logical reason for recycling a unique key identifier field or just sloppiness? Is the plan to recycle all the previous numbers used? Is there any plan?

As with so many things done in Sioux Falls city government, there is no planning until there is a disaster. When we have the disaster, its always an act of the almighty causing it, not the lack of planning for contingencies. It’s as if we see our government setting up for the next disasters by the lack of planning. Why waste future money and time by letting this lack of planning carry on any longer? Fix the numbering system now while it can be.

Click to Enlarge;

Inside Town Hall • Jan 2019

Sioux Falls City Council Informational (1/2/2019)

During public input (at the end) I remind the city council how stupid it was to create an internal audit committee and department after ONE person violated city charter (Mayor Munson, Phillips to the Falls cost overrun) and NO one pressed charges against him. I don’t know, wouldn’t it be setting an example by charging him with violating city charter and forcing him to resign instead of creating a department that never fixed the problem at hand? Corruption in the Mayor’s office.

I also touched on having a city ordinance that requires Directors and Managers of the city to live within the city, due to emergency situations. I expressed my dismay that SF was good enough to work for, and collect a paycheck from, but not good enough to live in.

And lastly I discussed how the 5G lease agreements could help pay for Metro 911. I think that went straight over their heads.

Do we really need a City Attorney’s office?

I have questioned for a long time why we have so many attorneys working for the city if we are consistently hiring outside counsel.

Last night at the city council meeting, Bond Counsel representative Doug Hajek explained to the city council that the city had to hire an outside firm because they specialize in bonding. While I understand this, what I don’t understand is why do we even have city attorneys?

Maybe we should just have a couple of paralegals and a purchasing agent (who will hire the outside counsel).

I do however think, the city council needs their own attorney to advise them on legislation. I have suggested in past, as we had with City Clerk, Debra Owen, we have a city clerk with a law license so we could kill two birds with one stone?

Another reason I take issue with outside counsel, is because the city has a habit of putting most major law firms in town on retainer, which makes it extremely difficult for an average citizen to hire an attorney when they have problems concerning the city. A lot of the attorneys that are willing to take your case are retiring, and it will be virtually impossible for you to find a local attorney.

I think the city attorney’s office should have attorneys that are qualified to handle bonds, complicated development contracts, RFPs etc. Like I said above, if our attorney’s office can’t handle, which seems to me, as normal ‘city legal stuff’, maybe we should just eliminate the positions. Anybody can hire an attorney, that doesn’t take a law degree.

Stehly Report • Jan 2019

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Jan 2-3, 2019

City Council Informational, 4 PM • Wed/2

Updates on Audit Reports.

There is also a draft of changes to the functions in ordinance to the Audit Committee. I encourage you to read the red notes. There are some significant changes that I’m not sure are GOOD or BAD.

City Council Regular Meeting, 7 PM • Wed/2

Item #7, Approval of Contracts

While it is common practice to hire outside counsel for bonds, I find it a little strange that the city attorney’s office could NOT handle this. Why? The city is taking a loan from the state. Unlike other bonds, this doesn’t involve private investors on the open market. To put it in perspective, it’s like borrowing a five spot from your uncle. A government agency in the state borrowing money from the state. Why would we even want PRIVATE outside counsel involved? Weird.

Item #43, 1st Reading, License agreement for 5G network. Come and talk NOW because we will only get two SMALL opportunities to do so while the Feds and Big Communications run rough shot over us and the city rolls over like a dog for John Thune in all his majesty.

I feel like I’m downloading that cat video so much faster already.

One of the locations of the new cell technology will be by the Events Center. How much ‘business’ is being conducted while people are watching a concert? Funny how we always hear the argument for ‘Economic Development’ yet we both know this is about loading up selfies faster to Instagram. And we know what our mayor thinks about selfies.

Planning Commission Meeting, 6 PM • Thur/3

Consent Agenda, Item ‘C’ has the wrong designation on documents, which is further confusing because item ‘D’ for Sanford is missing documents on a site plan. I see the NEW version of SIRE is not working very well.

Regular Agenda Item ‘B’. Moving forward with the St. Francis House expansion in an established neighborhood.