UPDATE 2: WTF announcement of the day, Darrin Smith to be new President of Pavilion


When I first got the text about 45 minutes ago, I busted up laughing. You know how the saying goes, and appointing Darrin as the next president of the Pavilion proves it, it’s WHO you know in this town, not WHAT you know.

In a press conference that just concluded at the Pavilion, the mayor introduced Darrin to the crowd. In some kind of strange irony, the podium was just below a phrase on the wall there for the Argus photography exhibit about freedom of the press, I had to chuckle even more.

It should be no surprise, Darrin has been an opportunist since he jumped on the scene of the city council several years ago, jumping from job to job when the going got rough, and getting out before the ship sank completely, at least his little dingy of a ship.

When he lost his mayoral bid, he quickly resigned from the city council never finishing his second term. When he saw an opportunity to work for Huether, he concocted a junket story about Kermit and hand fed it to Stormland news. Huether rewarded him with a job he knew nothing about, parking systems and community development. In one of his first meetings with the new staff he said to them, “Where do you get a cup of coffee downtown anyway, or eat?” I think they thought it was a joke. He was serious.

Once again, coming off the enormous failure of the Banks project, Smith is running for the hills again, with another promotion, to another job he doesn’t understand or is qualified for (of course, I don’t think any President of the Pavilion was qualified). I’m sure the tension between him and Mike is at an all time high. How could two salesmen fail so huge working together, they must have asked each other?

It will be fun (dreadful) to watch though. The Pavilion has been in meltdown ever since Gary Wood left. The only thing they have been successful at is siphoning money from the CIP to fix the awful reconstruction job that was done only 16 years ago and playing ‘tiddle-dee-winks’ with each other in down time. And it is costing us millions. Good thing we have increased water rates to pay for pipes, because the 2nd penny is all tied up in remodel projects at the Pavilion.

It will also be fun to watch the interaction between the Operations Manager, Jon Loos and Darrin. They will either be two peas in a pod, or come to blows, real quick. There is also probably a lot of butt hurt in current management in the building that wanted that job to, and how it must burn the position was handed over to a parking lot specialist who just happens to be the Mayor’s tennis partner. Like most things Darrin has done throughout his career, he will keep his head where he has had the most success, a place where the sun rarely shines.

I give him about 16-18 months.

Good Luck!

UPDATE: There is another reason why this move is interesting. It is no secret that Darrin’s name has been mentioned as a candidate for mayor in 2018. Kind of hard to run for the position as a city employee. This will give him an opportunity to distant himself from his current job when or if he decides to run.

UPDATE 2: It is also ironic that the Board of Trustees who picked Smith are appointed by the mayor (two members). Guess what else? Darrin was the city’s contact with the Pavilion.


#1 My Mistake Mike on 04.27.16 at 2:37 pm

At first, I thought this had to be satire. WTF??

#2 l3wis on 04.27.16 at 3:04 pm

I thought maybe they were also going to announce they were going to turn the Belbas theatre into a comedy club.

#3 just me on 04.27.16 at 5:39 pm

Appointing a person who has no background as head of an agency or entity is nothing new to state government either. There too it is often who you know, never what you know, that gets you the job, and then the underlings have to do the actual work and keep the department functioning for the good of the people.

#4 Michael Wyland on 04.27.16 at 8:41 pm

Not all trustees are appointed by the mayor; in fact, most aren’t (see page 7 of latest Form 990, accessible through link below). Also, Smith would not be a city employee – he’s be the executive director (President) of the nonprofit Washington Pavilion Management, Inc. See:


#5 JP on 04.27.16 at 11:14 pm

Darrin Smith for Mayor? Why would I vote for someone for Mayor who wouldn’t even finish his term as City Councilor?

Will Huether give the Pavilion a big influx of city cash to make it look like it’s a success now that his golden boy is there?

#6 hornguy on 04.27.16 at 11:46 pm

Once again, the Pavilion decides it would rather hire someone local than someone good. Since the departure of Gary Wood, the Pavilion’s artistic programming gets dumber and dumber, safer and safer, every year.

I know it’s easy for people in town to get worked up over the subsidy for facilities costs, but what should offend people more is how much they’re dumping into a place that’s run so poorly, and contributes about as much to civic life these days as The District.

#7 Al Anon on 04.28.16 at 8:50 am

Smith’s first priority will be to rename the building to the Mike Huether Center of the Universe and add a 5th floor for the new subprime Credit Card Salesmen’s Hall of Fame.

#8 The D@ily Spin on 04.28.16 at 8:55 am

Dim Sum has failed at every post he’s had. He belongs at the Bazillion served steamed with chicken feet. This position has become like milk. Even chilled, it doesn’t last more than two weeks and will be your worst taste experience.
Cut our losses. Sell the Bazillion. It’s a Munson mistake that will be a good home office for another credit card empire.

#9 l3wis on 04.28.16 at 9:01 am

MW, thank you for clearing that up. I started thinking about it after I posted that. Looks like the mayor appoints 2 trustees, and the other trustees are appointed by the board itself. And you are right, as I have been reminding people, Darrin will NO LONGER be a city employee since the WP has a private management company similar to SMG.

#10 My Mistake Mike on 04.28.16 at 10:15 am

3 Mayoral Appointees: Susan Hasseler (Augie), Brad Heegel (Augie), and Emily Paulson (daughter of John Paulson). Cozy.

#11 Michael Wyland on 04.28.16 at 10:50 am

Thanks for the kind words. Although Washington Pavilion Mgmt. and SMG are similar in their arrangements with the city, SMG is a for-profit and Washington Pavilion Mgmt. is a nonprofit. A more direct similarity could be drawn with the city-owned Great Plains Zoo, managed by the nonprofit Zoological Society of Sioux Falls – see http://nccsweb.urban.org/communityplatform/nccs/organization/profile/id/466015015/popup/1

#12 anominous on 04.28.16 at 12:07 pm

Hopefully he will implement the 1-printer rule for executive oversight at the pervilion to curb waist.

#13 Wish you knew on 04.07.19 at 10:32 am

Wow…jealous at all…seems to me you have some issues of your own to work through. Your comments are all speculations that you seem to know. Do you know Darrin? Mike? Probably not cause you appear to not be highly educated or part of a social class that does something with themselves. If you have all the answers come out of your hole and do something like these prominent, well educated, hard working get something done men have done. I dare you!