Entries Tagged 'T.J. Nelson' ↓

So who is lying about the openness of the Events Center Campus Book Club?

The ‘Painless’ Meeting in Public

We watched as this all played out. The meetings were going to remain closed, the TenHaken administration was digging in their heels. Then councilors Starr and Stehly bring a resolution forward opening the meetings. All of sudden the Task Force was claiming they decided they were going to open them up all on their own according to some secret vote, in a secret meeting and informed the Mayor in a secret email (to this day no one has seen);

An email from the event center group’s co-chairs Dan Statema and Jeff Eckhoff to Mayor Paul TenHaken said that the group had voted at their first meeting on Feb. 27 to allow the public and media to attend the rest of the meetings.

“We see no harm in having interested parties gain the same education we are as we progress through this process,” the email read.

Now fast forward today to the first open meeting. Deputy COS TJ Typeover tells those TV folks this;

“Pat Starr and I brought forth a resolution when we found out these meetings were going to be closed to the public and the resolution requested that they open the meeting and as a result of that the meetings have been opened,” says Stehly.

“After the first meeting they talked in between that meeting and this meeting and decided to open these up to the public,” says Nelson.

So which is it TJ? Did they vote on it? Did they decide later? My guess is both stories are TOTAL BS. You and the Mayor decided to open these meetings up after pressure from Starr and Stehly. Just admit it. Because just lying about it makes you look even more foolish, and certainly NOT transparent.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls Secret Study Groups and a ‘War Room’

As transparency continues to go in the toilet bowl in our city (getting worse than the last administration) we found out last night that our (uncertified and overpaid) City Clerk did not have access to city contracts that the city council has to vote on in the consent agenda. Further more, the council doesn’t have access either and are expected to ask in advance of the contracts by NOON on Monday before the meeting on Tuesday. Apparently instead of these being filed in the clerks office (where they belong) they are filed in various other departments. Besides NOT being readily available to the Clerk and City Council, the citizens should be able to go into SIRE and read these contracts online. Reminds me of the disappearing act of the Executive Orders.

But it gets even better, today Mr. Epp decided to interview Deputy COS, TJ TypeOver about transparency and specifically the secret study group. While TJ tried his damnest to argue the administration has been transparent, there was a few snags in his testimony. 1) was how this secret group will have the opportunity to bid on RFPs that may be produced from the recommendations of the study group (well isn’t that F’ing convenient);

Nelson did not say members of the study group would be barred from bidding on any Requests for Proposals that might come out of the study. However, he said anything that comes out as an RFP will be “very clear and very prescribed.” He said it would not be an “open-ended stew.”

“This group is not an advisory board in the capacity of those (official) groups,” Nelson said. “So the study group is really no different than the mayor bringing in a consultant to create a report, beacuse this group is making recommendations for the Mayor’s office.”

He keeps peddling this two-sided story that on one end they are un-important volunteers then on the other end he calls them paid consultants. So which is it? But this statement should have us all worried (not in the text of KELO’s story, audio translated);

“There are times when you just have to shut the door and get stuff done.”

He also went on to say;

“We won’t get all the facts only the ones they feel we need to see.”

I had to rewind and make sure I wasn’t hearing former Mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut. When it comes to government, these things must be open. We are not running some race to see who can redevelop this area the fastest. Most everyone who has attempted in the past has failed. The only thing that ever manages to stay viable is private entities that are propped up by taxpayers, like the recent hotel and restaurant that was built there. And also remember, even with all the success of the Denty, we still have to subsidize the place around $10 million a year for the mortgage payment out of the 2nd Penny CIP fund (intended for roads). Ramrodding any secret plans down the throats of the citizens or city council will only result in failure. Have we learned nothing about the history of this cursed area of town?

TRANSIT MEETINGS IN THE ‘WAR ROOM’

I have often argued when you open these discussions up for public inspection, some of the best ideas and suggestions from the public can be molded and refined by the specially selected ‘study group’. I don’t have an issue with study groups or task forces, but they must be open and they must involve people with NO conflicts of interest.

So there is another group meeting on the unfinished 3rd floor of the new administration building (Transit Study group), in which the group is calling the ‘War Room’. I guess solving our transit problem in Sioux Falls is like fighting a war. Who knew?

A SouthDacola foot soldier had a recent tour of the ‘War Room’ by the recently anointed by God, Innovation Director, Jason Reisdorfer. To Jason’s credit he did tell them that he was willing to show the war room to anyone that wanted to see it (City Councilors, public, etc.). I guess it is curtains suspended by poles with hundreds of sticky notes of ideas tacked to them.

Jason said that this study group is limited to 12 directors/management that work for the city. The group is also engaged in the Harvard/Bloomberg leadership training program, and learning how to solve problems as a group is part of the training and solving the transit issues.

On the more negative side of things, it appears that the study group will not be looking at older studies or ideas from the past. They also will not be bringing in experts at this time in the field of transit (it may happen in the future).

Some other things this person observed was that they felt Jason was unaware that the city OWNS Sioux Area Transit (SAM) and it’s busses, facilities, etc. and that the outside contractor only manages the the system and it’s employees. I would think this would be an important thing to know if you were leading this group.

They also observed an idea in the ‘War Room’ that businesses may be requesting bus passes for their employees at a discounted or FREE rate to help get their low wage employees to work. There is a whole host of reasons why this is a bad idea. It only encourages businesses to continue to pay poverty wages while getting subsidized by taxpayers. If these businesses want to PAY for the passes and GIVE them to their employees, so be it, but we shouldn’t be subsidizing a private industry so they have bigger profit margins by tapping into a low wage workforce by giving them free bus rides to work.

I asked a city councilor today if they knew about the ‘War Room’ and they said they were unaware, but I was told by another person today that the Argus did this story about it.

I’m not sure why the contracts are being withheld from the public, or what the EC Campus study group will be discussing or what the transit/leadership group is up to, but it’s time we let a little sunshine in on Sioux Falls city government, or I’m afraid it’s going to get very dark for our citizens.

UPDATE: On Facebook today Mayor TenHaken clarified that 15 city employees are going thru a leadership program administered thru the USD Beacom School of Business. The program is called ‘ONWARD’. Not sure if this is tied to the Transit group.

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.

 

 

TenHaken’s Deputy COS is running for a Republican Committeeman

Deputy COS T.J. Nelson is running in Precinct 309 and City Councilor Greg Neitzert is running in Precinct 317 for Committee people in the Republican Party.

While the waters have already been tested by Erickson and Staggers for councilors as committee people (the ethics commission said it was OK because they are volunteer positions) that question has never been asked about appointed city employees who work for a non-partisan mayor.

While I don’t take issue with T.J. being a proud Republican party member, I wonder if he is testing the waters on this?

If I sat on the Ethics Commission I would probably OK it, but the optics of it don’t look good when your boss has promised to be a non-partisan mayor in the campaign. I’m wondering if T.J. asked an opinion of the Ethics Commission or the city attorney?

What do you think?

It seems T.J.’s name is coming up a lot as a partisan, I think this will hurt Paul in the long run.

Mayor TenHaken’s Deputy COS not a fan of liberals

What has PTH said in the past about your employees posting questionable things on FB?

This is why political appointees are not a good idea. It’s probably a good idea to separate your campaign and transition team from your leadership team. I saw this with Darrin Smith when he was appointed to Director of Community Development and Parking after he cooked up a false ‘junket’ story about Dr. Staggers during the mayoral campaign. I also feel this is where Jolene failed by using a Democratic political operative to run her campaign instead of an independent consultant.

As for the comments about liberals, I would agree, he knows little about them. BHO was not a liberal, I would actually consider him a moderate to right leaning progressive, but definately not a liberal. I tell people one of the several reasons I left the Democratic party is because there are no liberals in it anymore, haven’t been for decades. But being a ‘liberal’ isn’t some dirty thing. We believe in helping each other, the social net, universal healthcare and education, embracing the arts, culture and diversity and we also believe in the right to free speech and peaceful protest. True liberals also detest war and try to solve problems diplomatically, we also accept all creeds, a major reason why we promote peace over war.

Good luck T.J., posting this will make it a very rough road for you and your boss.

I verified the comment, posted on July 11, 2017