As you may already know, the SF Ethics Board has been reprimanded (only as a board, not individually) for wrongfully accusing councilor Staggers of ethics violations.

Here is a list of the actual board members;

Mike McKnight (lawyer), Howard Paulson (lawyer), Bill O’Connor, Mari Robbennolt, and Bob Swanhorst.  Please note that two members of the board are lawyers by profession. This information is available on

R. Shawn Tornow was the lawyer from the City Attorney’s Office who advised the Ethics Board when the Board was dealing with his case.

The case began when two union leaders from the Fraternal Order of Police filed a ethics complaint against him with the Board of Ethics on April 8, 2010, five days before the first mayoral election on April 13th. The Board eventually determined that there was no merit to the accusations. They were truly frivolous claims.

This should have been the end of the matter, but it wasn’t because now the Ethics Board on their own and with the assistance of Tornow came up with two of their own ethics claims against him which he first learned about at the Ethics Board meeting of May 4th.  Kermit had his lawyer with him and they were both surprised how baseless these allegations were.

The first allegation was that Kermit was soliciting city employees in a letter that he sent to city employees. The sentence that they supposedly got him on read as follows:  “As a citizen, any suggestions that you may want to communicate to me can be done in the absolute strictest confidence by contacting me at my home phone, 332.0357.”  In the letter he never asked for money or for them to even vote for him.  The purpose of the letter was to simply inform city employees about his views on city government.

The second allegation contended that by serving as a Republican committeeman while a member of the City Council was a violation of a provision against holding another publicly elected office.

In a nine page-brief to the Board of Ethics Kermit’s lawyer demolished these allegations by saying that the act of soliciting deals with asking for money which he never did and that the holding of another elected office by the Board’s interpretation would have prevented him from serving as an elder in his church because he was publicly elected to that office. Obviously, the prohibition on holding another elected office deals with holding another publicly elected government office.

Despite Kermit’s lawyer’s brief, two days before he ceased being a city council member he received a confidential letter in the mail saying that he had been privately reprimanded by the Board of Ethics because of soliciting city employees and holding another publicly elected office. Kermit was instructed to keep this letter confidential. The Board’s issuance of a private letter of reprimand was an abuse of power because the Board of Ethics does not have this power; this power belongs to the City Council.

Eventually, he was successful in demonstrating that the Board of Ethics had violated the state’s open meetings laws, and for that the Board received a letter of reprimand.  Now he is trying to get the Board of Ethics to retract their illegal letter of reprimand against him.


14 Thoughts on “Kermit Staggers as ‘Cool Hand Luke’

  1. hosenpheffer on April 22, 2011 at 6:14 am said:

    kermit is a teabagger

  2. l3wis on April 22, 2011 at 6:17 am said:

    You’ve sold your soul Hos to corporate America.

  3. Poly43 on April 22, 2011 at 6:47 am said:

    It is unusual that you have Kermit, a known tbagger attendee, sandwiched by two anti teabag blogs. I liked Kermit for Sioux Falls also. It just made me wince a little bit at the functions, like tea parties, he attended.

  4. l3wis on April 22, 2011 at 6:52 am said:

    As Jack Billion once said, “Kermit is an interesting study.”

    Once you get to know the man over coffee, you instantly like him. He is the kindest man I have ever known.

  5. Pathloss on April 22, 2011 at 10:41 am said:

    You forgot to mention that the assistant city attorney (Tornow) was fired over this, his handling of the camera case, and violating citizen constitutional rights. He abused the office for his own narcist perversions. He was elected into the legislature. However, he doesn’t get a city salary and his travel expenses to/from Pierre are his. He represents us but we’re fining him for it.
    Another point, there’s no internal affairs section at SFPD. The officers are still employed and there’s been no repurcussions.
    It’s a free country but you must travel outside city limits to enjoy it.

  6. hossenpheffer on April 22, 2011 at 10:51 am said:

    no, i’m still in line for hell, soul or not.

    but your buddy sold his when he jumped on the gordon howie bandwagon and made sure every one knew he IS NOT A DEMOCRAT

  7. Ah, Kermit was solicitating employees, it was sent to employees. I will agree that Tornow can’t be defended on any level tho’ and good riddance from the city. How he got elected is another head scratcher..oh ya, he had “R” behind his name which automatically means shoo in. Kermit may be a nice guy, just can’t support him politically.

  8. l3wis on April 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm said:

    I don’t think there was anything wrong with Kermit telling people he was a Republican, heck, Huether was doing it when it was convenient. Kermit just wanted to clear the air on the topic. I have often thought Kermit should be a registered indy.

    YDKM – Did you read the letter?

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I saw no solicitation in that letter.

  9. hosenpheffer on April 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm said:

    it wasn’t that he told people he was a Repub, but made sure they knew he IS NOT A DEMOCRAT

  10. So what?

  11. Mitch Rapp on April 23, 2011 at 7:46 am said:

    Someone please buy Dr. K some new clothes and use some basic hygiene, if he decides to run again. He smells like the nursing home.

  12. l3wis on April 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm said:

    Huh? Kermit has always been dressed appropriately when I have met him and has had good hygiene. Not sure where you pulled that from? I don’t think he would be allowed to be a professor if he didn’t have good personal hygiene.

    As for smelling like a nursing home, which he does not, I’m not sure that would hurt him politically.

  13. James Pappas on April 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm said:

    Although I don’t know muh about Kermit and his hygiene since I’m new to SD and SF, but I would say the person who runs this blog has SPECIAL FEELINGS for him that the Tea Baggers would publicly denounce.

  14. l3wis on April 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm said:

    Hos / Rocco, thanks for the concern.

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