Does the City of Sioux Falls spend too much on consultants?

Yes. Yes, and Yes.

I’ve been bitching about this since Munson was mayor. I have often felt with all the 6-figure a year professionals the city already has working for them, it is ludicrous that we have to hire so many consultants. It all comes down to accountability and responsibility. It’s like none of the city directors/managers want to be accountable for the decisions they make, so they hire a consultant.

While NO one has an exact accounting of what the city spends on consultants (the finance department has conveniently separated those costs within each department, and like the infamous NO MOW list, there doesn’t seem to be a spreadsheet anywhere that gives an exact amount) some estimate it is around $10-12 million a year.

But here is where you really should start scratching your head;

“$850,000 over a two year period seems like it’s just over the top,” Councilwoman Theresa Stehly said.

The wastewater consulting company logged 5,000 hours. Let’s put that into perspective. Five-Thousand hours over 2 years equals the work of 1.3 FTE’s. If you assume the average pay and benefits of a city manager is $65,000 a year, that $850K equals the pay of 13 Full time city managers in one year. Like I said, why not depend on the expertise of the city employee professionals we already have working for us, instead of a consultant that charges us a ridiculous amount?

Because it is easier to not be accountable when things go wrong.


#1 The D@ily Spin on 04.03.18 at 10:34 am

Consultants seem a way to steer funds into private enterprise which in turn gives back consideration in indirect political or monetary form. What the public gets is reports not released to the public. Was there a report or is it just an invoice?

#2 Theresa stehly on 04.03.18 at 11:05 am

Thanks for posting about this Scott and thanks to Angela Kennecke at KELO for bringing this issue into the light. I have had concerns for many years about the lack of oversite on the enterprise funds from the water and sewer departments. Millions of dollars accrued from our water and sewer rate increases are spent on farmland purchases and consultant fees and those of us on the Council,and the public are not aware of the transactions or the expenditures.

Of course we want to maintain our infrastructure and provide quality drinking water. But I have been asking for a performance audit from an outside,independent firm to evaluate the situation. I need my colleagues to step up and support this. I have made it clear to Director Cotter that I won’t support any rate increases until we have an independent audit. We are the Guardians for the citizens…if the Council doesn’t question this and ask for accountability, who will? All consultant fees and contracts need to be scrutinized.

This is another example of the need for transparency and accountability in City government. All of the mayoral candidates have indicated to me personally or publicly that this needs to be improved. Let’s address this quickly after the election for the sake of our citizens.

#3 Right ON!! on 04.03.18 at 12:48 pm

AMEN!!! When the city spent an outrageous amount, something like $68,000, to have someone drive our streets and determine their condition, I about fainted. Who in the city uses their brain matter anymore! All they do is spend and point the finger in another direction!

That consultant was simply used as a cya effort by the city!

#4 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.03.18 at 4:01 pm

When are they going to hire a consultant to find out ways to tweak our building ordinances with stricter oversight and enforcement so as to prevent an other building collapse?…….Oh, that’s right, I forgot. It’s all about the golfers, isn’t it?

#5 The D@ily Spin on 04.03.18 at 9:17 pm

Lots of varied subject matter on this issue. What’s needed is a mayor who recognizes when a professional opinion is warranted. Having had a consulting business, I learned everyone is right and the solution is a compromise of subjective opinions.