When will the City of Sioux Falls tell it’s citizens we are going broke?

City workers collecting their pay checks

You can’t rack up millions in record debt building structures we don’t need, turn around and give your directors atrocious corporate like raises then turn around and tell the minions, here are your crumbs;

The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, which represents hundreds of clerks, drivers, and maintenance workers, said Friday that members have rejected a contract offer from the city that would have offered 1.5 percent annual pay increases through 2018.

A spokesman for the union said the raises aren’t enough to cover the rising cost of health insurance paid by city employees. The union representing police officers in the city rejected a similar contract late last year, leaving firefighters as the only employee group with a new labor contract in place.

At the end of the day, the city council will be expected to do the heavy lifting without being let in on the negotiations, basically a shot in the dark;

Although not privy to the negotiations, the City Council will be asked in the coming weeks to approve  the new terms. If the unions declare an impasse, the Council can impose the contract without the consent of the employee groups. Asked by leadership and city attorneys to stay quiet on the topic as it could end up in litigation, councilors mostly have balked at questions surrounding the labor dispute.

“We were told not to comment,” Councilor Greg Neitzert said Thursday.

Councilor Theresa Stehly said it’s not her intention to complicate the process, but she shares the unions’ concerns about not prioritizing personnel.

The city in recent years has extended itself financially with more than $150-million worth of large-scale spending projects like the Midco Aquatic Center, the Denny Sanford Premier Center and the planned city administration building, yet can’t keep the labor force happy, she said.

“I can understand how these unions feel like things aren’t adding up when we’re extending ourselves with pools and administration building,” Stehly said. “It’s so very important in our personal lives and in city life that we take care of what we already have and support what we have before we go out and extend ourselves for these wants.”

While true, seems too little too late. People often tell me that Mayor Huether has accomplished a lot, he sure has, on the backs and debt of the citizenry. He has been anything BUT prudent with our money and now it is time to pay the piper on the bill of goods he sold us.


#1 Larry on 01.21.17 at 3:47 pm

Curious as to why SFFR took the same deal without any issues. Didn’t they only get 1.5% for two years also?

#2 Blue Collar on 01.21.17 at 4:01 pm

I saw the city salaries spreadsheet in the Argus. Doesn’t appear that many city employees are underpaid. Many people in Sioux Falls would love to have those good jobs! 1.5% is about where the inflation rate is. What isn’t fair about that?

#3 LJL on 01.21.17 at 4:01 pm

You posted the pay increases of Huether’s staff awhile back. Can we see this again?

It’s despicable how the mayors people need a new building and big increases but the working class employees are dependent on the “diminished sales tax income”.

Turbak and Huether are just utter scum.

#4 Bruno on 01.21.17 at 4:53 pm

Heard that some city employees also receive increases in pay beyond the COLA based on performance. So do they get both? That would be interesting.

#5 The D@ily Spin on 01.21.17 at 6:13 pm

Huether’s worried about minimums on bond payments. Police are worried about beans for their families.

#6 l3wis on 01.21.17 at 7:56 pm

Bruno, I think the directors do get bonuses.

#7 Bruno on 01.21.17 at 8:49 pm

Not just directors, word is most FT city employees get increases on a set schedule in addition to any COLA by contract. Bottom line is many of them are getting more than just a COLA. You don’t hear that part from the unions though. If that is true, I find it interesting.

#8 InformedGuy on 01.21.17 at 11:22 pm

To clarify the pay increase situation for city employees…
Appointed city employees (examples would include directors appointed by the Mayor, certain staff of the Mayor appointed, and certain City Council appointive staff like the lead auditor, budget and legislative analysts) get a COLA based on an executive order issued by the Mayor. The COLA for this year was 1.5% and that executive order was issued. All appointed staff get the COLA, which is basically a cost of living increase. That COLA also increases their pay range for their position so if the old maximum pay for that job title was 100,000 it becomes 101,500. Any of those employees could also get a merit based increase from the body/person they report to, Mayor or Council. For example, the Mayor could give a merit based increase to a director which is IN ADDITION to the 1.5% COLA everyone gets. That’s why some directors might have only a 1.5% increase in pay but another might have a 7 or 8% increase (that person got a merit based increase of say 5.5-6.5%). If you are at the top of your pay scale for a position, you cannot get a merit based increase, you are topped out, except that you’d get the COLA because the COLA also increases your positions pay range.
The various sets of employees in the civil service who have representation by one of the major union groups, police, fire, or AFSCME also would get a COLA, but that is dictated by the union contract agreed to. For example the union representing the firefighters agreed to a 1.5% COLA. The same would go for police and AFSCME if they were to come to an agreement on terms with the city (or something is imposed on them). Again, the COLA is basically a cost of living increase everyone gets across the board in the specific group. In addition to that, an individual might get a merit based increase, whether it be a promotion to a new position or a ‘step’ increase. A step increase can happen every so often and moves you up in salary range for your position and essentially would recognize your performance and/or seniority. So if some guy or gal in engineering is doing a good job and is due for a ‘step’ increase they might get that, and as a result their pay increase might be 7% (1.5% COLA everyone gets plus 5.5% step increase).
All of that to say, in short, that everyone gets the COLA. Some might get an additional increase based on a merit based increase, whether it be an appointed employee getting a bump from the council or mayor, or a step increase. So the major point of clarification is that it isn’t a given that every employee will ‘only’ get a 1.5% increase. They all get that COLA. Some might get more if they get bumped a step or given a merit increase.
Whether the 1.5% COLA is fair given the various factors involved is a question open to debate, as is the other moving parts and items being negotiated in any union contract renewal.

#9 Larry on 01.22.17 at 7:44 am

Wow. Maybe that is why SFFR settled their contract so quickly. If many of them are getting the step pay also, it makes the COLA look reasonable. Not many Joe Citizens have that kind of deal and many of them are battling increasing health insurance premiums too. What gives?

#10 LJL on 01.22.17 at 3:48 pm

It’s a fact i am no fan of unions or guaranteed increases for without earned merit. With that said, these groups would have to be morons to except a 1.5 COLA looking at the inevitable inflation and instability in our economy AND the huge tax burdens FOR NEEDLESS SHIT the tax payers have been agreeing to without any major outcry

#11 LJL on 01.22.17 at 4:20 pm

SF Fire excepted 1.5 because a 1.5% of their $+50,000 salary is much greater than the 1.5 % of the $11 dump truck driver. BUT both will pay the same in healthcare premiums.

#12 Warren Phear on 01.22.17 at 7:34 pm

LJL…you could see those from the mayors office, but as I recall they did some creative shuffling to make it look like the mayor is really trimming some fat from that office. Was eight last year, now only 4. All they did was shuffle 4 people from the mayors office to engineering.

#13 Father of Three on 01.23.17 at 1:43 am

So how any of the people that would jump for the salary of a firefighter would want to live that life? Wierd hours, and I do mean weird. Constant training, the ability to push your inate instinct to preserve your own life and run into a burning building to try and save another? Firefighters have a shorter life span due to the stress of the job and the hours. They usually have a shorter “worklife” to earn enough money to retire and be able to provide for their family. There is a reason why on the federal level law enforcement, fire fighters and air traffic controllers get a different formula for calculating their retirement rate and also have a mandatory retirement age. If their job description was the same as the person running the plows, mowing the grass at the parks, or even shoveling the sidewalks of city property then you would have a valid argument. But they are not, and that is why they should be compensated at a higher rate than other City employees.

#14 Saving Basements on 01.23.17 at 10:58 am

Perhaps fire took the deal because their union president shares a lot on the river with their chief?

#15 Bruno on 01.23.17 at 12:28 pm

God bless the firefighters and the job they do in our city. The fact they agreed to the 1.5% cola while the other unions haven’t is puzzling to me, but I trust them to know their business. It will be interesting to see how the rest goes.

#16 LJL on 01.23.17 at 2:14 pm

Your being overly sensitive to the facts Father 3. 1.5% of a FF pay and a truck driver is much different yet they both pay premiums. 1.5% of a directors pay of $200k greater than of FF.

These are the facts. No where in MY post did I speak poorly of the FF. If you cant read the facts without a chip on your shoulder, there’s no point reading real news.