Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

Events Center Campus Book Club meeting • 8:30 AM, Wednesday

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Convention Center

8:30 AM

UPDATE: Will the proposed funding for the State Theatre be revealed today?

UPDATE: Guess I was wrong, we are going to use the money to build a new IT department, uh, I mean a Triage Center. I’m confused.

I found this comment interesting about the $4.6 million dollar surplus the city has;

T.J. Nelson, deputy chief of staff in the mayor’s office, said details about the plan won’t be shared until they’re presented to the council, but he hinted that some of the council’s priorities highlighted in a recent survey will be addressed.

It’s on the Sioux Falls City Council informational agenda without any supporting documents;

Use of Unobligated Capital Fund Balance by Shawn Pritchett, Director of Finance

In fact NONE of the items have supporting docs, including the March finance report. Actually, I noticed the city hasn’t posted ANY financial reports (Jan-March) for 2019 yet. I even searched for them on their open data site which gave me NO search results.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly asks for advisory opinion

The meeting will be at 10:30 AM this Thursday at City Hall. Stehly is asking if it is ‘ethical’ to be accepting FREE ‘Food & Drink’ from a developer that will be potentially asking for a TIF from the very people who are being asked to attend this event.

Personally, if I was a city councilor, I would NOT attend the reception portion of the event. It not only looks unethical, it likely is unethical. This will be an interesting Ethics Board meeting to watch and what laws are applicable. In South Dakota where we have very few ethics laws for lawmakers I could easily see a ruling either way.

Councilor Neitzert finally talks about the Internal Auditor nomination

With a 5:30 special meeting vote taking place this afternoon, Neitzert finally says ‘something’ about his nomination, or is this about Stehly?

“This is a shameful and disappointing display of city leadership.”In a recent press release, City Councilor Greg Neitzert responds to this weeks Audit Manager Nominee robo-calls put out by fellow council member – Theresa Stehly.  Neitzert also refers to the calls against nominee Shana Nelson, as scorched earth tactics.

I guess Neitzert is admitting Stehly is a ‘Leader’. He often uses the ‘scorched earth’ argument anytime Stehly does something radical to get the public’s attention. Did she have much of a choice? NO one from the audit committee or from council was telling anyone about the nomination and her obvious conflict of interest.

Original press release:  “While many families were celebrating Easter, they were interrupted by an unsolicited and misleading phone call (“robocall”) from Councilor Theresa Stehly intended to provoke anger and distrust within our community.  We urge citizens to hear both sides before making any judgments.

Not everyone in our community celebrates ‘Easter’. In fact pulling a Christian Religious holiday into the argument would seem to me a reverse usage of ‘Scorched Earth’ tactic. How dare people be bothered by local politics (call went out on Saturday) when they are trying to eat their hams and chocolate Easter bunnies, the shame! The Shame! I do agree to listen to both sides, because anyone with common sense will see that Mrs. Nelson has a gigantic conflict of interest.

Shana Nelson, an outstanding city employee with financial expertise, a background in accounting, budgeting, regulatory compliance and business process improvement, and extensive knowledge of city operations, is exceptionally qualified for the position of Internal Audit Manager.  That’s why the hiring committee, made up of 3 City Councilors (Neitzert, Soehl, and Starr) and one citizen with extensive audit experience UNANIMOUSLY recommended her to the City Council for appointment.

While she has a great resume, she has NO audit experience. She is also married to a city director who runs the parking division and pushed through the parking ramp downtown (that is rumored to be in limbo). Neither of those things really matter. Her conflict lies in the fact she would be in charge of auditing departments that she worked for. And while some would argue this helps her know her way around things, it also makes it much easier for her to ‘skip over’ the bad stuff. In other words, an independent auditor needs to be ‘independent’ and by coming from the administration where she actually implemented their financial software, there will be NO independence from them. An internal auditor is not supposed to be ‘cozy’ with the departments she is auditing. I’m not saying the internal auditor needs to be a total ass-pipe, but they have to be independent and willing to expose fraud and corruption regardless of who is committing it, otherwise there is NO purpose of having an internal auditor that is just going to babysit and be a hand holder. Neitzert has admitted they would use an outside auditing firm to audit the sensitive departments that Nelson would have conflicts with. Doesn’t she have a conflict with the ENTIRE city administration?!

Far from being “ram rodded”, this process has taken months to get where we are today.  An unprecedented amount of communication and involvement of the City Council took place, with the City Council agreeing on a hiring process, and all Councilors given the opportunity to review ALL of the applicants and the opportunity to interview and meet individually with the recommended candidate.  Placing this item on the agenda of the special meeting required SIX of the eight City Councilors – a SUPER MAJORITY – to sign a document approving the request.  Normally only two signatures are required to place an item on the agenda of a regular meeting.  Without those six signatures, we would not be considering this request.

This isn’t about what the council ‘knew’. This is about allowing the citizens to also vet Mrs. Nelson. The public didn’t know about her appointment until last Friday at about 3:30 PM when she showed up on the agenda. There is also NO biographical information about Mrs. Nelson. This is about informing the public, not about executive sessions the council had about her.

These scorched earth tactics are done with no regard for others, and is motivated by a win at all costs, ends justifies the means mentality.

Nobody really wins here. As I understand it, it will take 5 votes to hire Mrs. Nelson. They have the 5 votes. The real loser here is the public, because we have a majority of the council that is willing to hire someone with a blatant conflict of interest.

This could have a chilling effect in our efforts to recruit future City employees who will have to ask themselves why they should put themselves and their families through these types of antics.  This is a shameful and disappointing display of city leadership.”

Recruit city employees? You didn’t ‘recruit’ anyone. She already works for the city. The administration is actually losing a valuable employee in the financial department (and strangely they have NOT objected – and why would they, they now have an insider on the audit side). Recruiting an actual internal auditor would have taken a national search using a recruiting firm to do so, instead of the city’s HR department. Greg is right, this will have a ‘chilling’ effect on the city, because we are essentially saying our internal auditing department is NOT important while having the fox watch the hen house.

Sorry Rick, public input is our time, not yours. Figure it out.

Week after Week we have to listen to Mr. Kiley bloviate, blubber and evaluate. So when we get a chance he has to try to cut us off because of some ‘rule’ he pulled from his ass. It’s an audit meeting, Bruce is talking about audit standards (that was covered by Oksol). Rick, STFU.

From Bruce;

Here is what I was ready to say when Mr. Kiley decided to interrupt me at the April 22, 2019 Sioux Falls City Council Audit Committee meeting.

No Disrespect for the persons here or the person this board is hiring, but…

How does transferring an entrenched city employee into the internal audit department accomplish the board’s original purpose?

I have 40+ years of internal and external audit experience. In one job, I was part of an effort to save 1,000 jobs while uncovering $500 million in schemes running in 22 different scenarios. I understand auditing.

Why is this body willing to put each individual on this board in a potential legal liability by ignoring several legitimate fiduciary questions?

Why would the chosen new hire be willing to be put in a position of having to recuse from audits involving her prior work?

Why would a person accepting an audit job accept a potential conflict of interest involving a family member?

With multiple city projects being questioned and this board should be reviewing, why is this choice being considered?

A person who trained city staff on the use of a computer program is now setup to audit her own work product?

A person who gave approvals for projects in the city’s largest department now is to audit her own work product?

By ignoring the warnings, the members of the committee and others could be opened to investigations, who wants that?

The persons in charge and accomplishing proper audits should have one trait, curiosity, insatiable curiosity.

Curiosity to ask questions no one wants asked.

You can have all kinds of data but if you are part or were part of the process you are tasked with, you lose your ability to ask the simple questions. You do not ask the simple questions possibly out of embarrassment, maybe out of your need to give all the answers. You don’t have curiosity because you may know everything before the audit begins. Hard to ask the questions when you already know the answers. Since you already have all the answers and know how to find your own data, you know which file cabinet drawers should not be opened?

Only an outsider will ASK others WHY, instead of TELLING others why. There is a difference between ASKING versus TELLING answers.

As members of this Audit Committee, ask the question, “Does this process meet any standards required in any Fortune 500 company?”

As members of this Audit Committee, ask also this question, “Does this process meet any standards required in any not for profit organization?”

The two answers will be a resounding “NO”.

Citizens know of problems in city processes. How does this choice meet any recognized standard necessary to meet legal, financial and moral codes of conduct or ethics to keep citizens in believing in this government?

You are forewarned, the questions we ask are the basis for possible RICO investigations. Is this rush to transfer a potential employee to be involved in auditing her own previous work worth the wrath of future investigations?

There are too many problems and no logical answers.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly puts out Robocall about the conflict of interest with the new proposed auditor

What I find interesting is that we seem to be in such dire straits that we have to hire her immediately at a 5:30 special meeting that is about funding for the Rose/Lotta neighborhood.

Why didn’t the chair of the audit committee, councilor Neitzert, first put out a press release last week announcing that she was his recommendation, then wait for a regular meeting in May to appoint her? She already has a job with the city, would it hurt for her to wait a couple of weeks so the public can do a little research on the candidate?

This is exactly why Neitzert is ramrodding this through, hopefully to go under the radar of the public before they can see her real qualifications. He learned well from Mayor Bowlcut & Bucktooth. Push everything through quick before the public realizes you are screwing them over.

Greg, if Mrs. Nelson was truly qualified, wouldn’t you have proudly announced your recommendation to the public in a press release before the council agenda came out on Friday? Seems you have your doubts . . .

This place would have made a great apartment complex for nuns

A few weeks ago when Avera came to the city council for permission to bulldoze a block of affordable housing to build a retirement apartment for nuns, I thought to myself ‘Why doesn’t Avera just rehab the house across the street for apartments?” Remember when Avera said the house was in to bad of shape to rehab?

I walked by today to see that was NOT the case. It seems a private builder is working on the house to convert it into a 4 or 5 plex (by looking at the electrical box). A parking lot has also been already poured.

Wouldn’t this have made a great place for retired nuns volunteering their time at the Hospital?

Sioux Falls Crime Stats broken up into regions

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, April 22-23, 2019

Audit Committee Meeting, 4 PM (4/22)

External Audit Reports; This is where an external auditing firm (the same one we have been using for years and years) looks at our financial statements from the previous year. This is NOT a thorough independent, forensic audit.

Public Assurance Alliance does a presentation on Trends and Risks. New director, David Fiddle-Faddle returns to the Chambers to enlighten us with his immense wisdom. Make sure the security cameras are turned off or scrubbed later.

Audit report of the Zoo. Still one of the tightest ships ran in the city. I still think the Director of the Zoo should run for Mayor.

Fill-In, and Previous Internal Auditor, Oksol is going to tell us how to measure performance out of an internal audit staff. First step; make sure you have a staff to measure.

They finish with giving Oksol a gold star for helping to fill in while looking for a new internal auditor manager. He must have been volunteering his time? Who knew?

City Council Informational, 4 PM (4/23)

March Financial Update

Overview of Spring Flood Recovery

Use of unobligated capital funds

City Council SPECIAL Meeting, 5:30 PM (4/23)

I noticed that the special council meeting is missing Public Input at the beginning. I’m not sure they can skirt public input at the beginning just because it is a special meeting. I think the new changes in state law say they must provide public input at all public meetings.

Item#3, Approval of Contracts,

Seems we are buying two new Harley’s for the SFPD. I find this interesting since the last couple of bikes we bought were NOT Harley’s (I think they were Triumphs).

Items #4-5, supplemental appropriations for the Rose/Lotta neighborhood homes. I think this will pass with full support of the council, besides some bickering about where the money is coming from.

Item #6, Motion, Appointing Shana Nelson as the new Internal Auditor Manager. As I suspected they are plucking Shana from the Finance Department where she works as a business analyst creating a conflict of interest between the administration and city council. Shana’s husband, Matt Nelson is the Director of the Parking Department. So how does she audit that department fairly? Further more, with some pending issues with the DT parking ramp, will we ever get a fair audit of the department?

Events Center Campus Book Club Meeting, 8:30 AM, Wed 4/24, Convention Center (we will see if it is filmed this time and if they have any chairs for the public)

Click to Enlarge

Glory House groundbreaking for transitional housing apartments (4/18/19)