It’s Sunshine Week, or at least that’s what our local newspaper is telling us. They have been having fun setting up ‘scenarios’ when it comes to closed government in our state and city, but scenarios are not necessary, our closed government is all around us and not something to pretend about;

City of Sioux Falls

– The city council and public still have not received a contractor list of who built the Events Center. The council has been asking directors and the mayor for this list for almost two years.

– The Event Center siding consultant report has still not been released to the public or the council. In fact we have been told very little with the year deadline for a resolution looming in August. Officials with SMG and the city building department have said that the building is ‘water tight’ and the bent up siding makes the building look ‘interesting’. What will be ‘interesting’ is to see who will pay to fix the mess.

– Nobody is quite sure how many developers have been denied TIF applications (by the mayor’s office) over the past 27 months. Speaking of TIF’s one wonders if the mayor is picking winners and losers based on his personal investments with developers? Good luck finding out, the mayor doesn’t have to disclose his development investments with the public.

-The city council was asked to vote on the ambulance contract without seeing the scoring procedures or criteria and essentially created a monopoly in the city limits with little transparency in the process.

-We have NO idea what is going on with the RR relocation project, a project that will potentially cost Federal taxpayers $30 million dollars.

-While a proposed indoor aquatic center gets smaller and gets more expensive there has been no word as to why and where all the amentities promised before the election disappeared to AND we still don’t have and MOU on the Quit Claim deed from the VA, but the city attorney says he is ‘working on it’.

Minnehaha County Commission

-Besides the fact the appointment process for John Pekas’ replacement was behind closed doors, the appointee comes into question, Jean Bender, wife of major Sioux Falls developer, Michael Bender, and conflicts of interest. Especially after the joint city council and commission recently denied a CUP for a solar development farm that Mr. Bender and his group were appealing. Jean was not in attendance to the meeting, but one wonders about future zoning issues concerning her husband’s business? This isn’t like a county sheriff’s wife is running a city owned café, there is a heckuva a lot more at stake here then ice cream cones and turkey wraps.

Sioux Falls School Board

-Now that they have the future Superintendent list down to six finalists, the public still is not able to vet the finalists in a public forum. This coming from a school board that only listens to the public when a referendum is threatening them or if they are getting death threats. And even with the looming election they are skating on thin ice with state election law by promoting opposition to the late start date using teachers and administrative staff during business and school hours which is against state campaign laws.

As you can see from these ‘few’ examples, there is no reason to setup scenarios of the lack of transparency. It’s very dark in Sioux Falls, and the sun isn’t coming out anytime soon and neither is the truth.

By l3wis

9 thoughts on “The Sun may shine a lot in Sioux Falls, but dark clouds loom over our government offices”
  1. Dude – you need to start looking at Lincoln County shenanigans too. After all, 1/5 of the city “happens” in that county.

  2. In addition, Harrisburg, Tri-Valley, West Central, Tea and Lennox school districts all have stuff going on “in the city”. I see a whole new career path for you smaller governments – bigger bashing.

  3. Ruf, funny you bring this up, I suggested to a SF elected official yesterday that a regional inter-governmental council needs to be formed, non formal of course, of local governments in the region (county, townships, towns/cities, school boards, etc.) it is inevitable that we are all going to be bumping bottoms soon, we already are, but in 5 years there is going to be an incredible pissing match going on, we might as well get ahead of the curve. But what do I know, I’m just an angry blogger.

  4. You’re a little late in getting into that game DL – already formally proposed by Sioux Falls Tomorrow. You know – that group you decried as a bunch of outsider snobs??

  5. Which meetings? SFT’s goal building process was over a year ago. There was a follow-up meeting a month ago to gauge progress.

    One of the reports at that meeting was that city, county (both) and school district (at least 3) officials have started monthly informal meetings. I personally presented the idea of getting more involved in these and other meetings to three of the local elected state reps about three weeks ago.

    We (and I include you and your readers here) need to continue to influence our government officials to engage in even more metro-wide interagency communications and collaboration.

    SFTs goal in this regard is the establishment of a FORMAL organization to do this. But informal meetings are a start.

    Again, glad to have you on board.

  6. Seems the county and the school board made a few mistakes they’re correcting. The city of Sioux Falls doesn’t make mistakes. They deliberately misappropriate public funds and violate constitutional law. There’s a real problem because of the imposed city charter. The mayor has all the power. When the dominos fall, he’ll have all the blame.

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