TenHaken’s COS Erica Beck promises more transparency w/RFPs

I’m guessing, and hoping that Beck realizes that when the RFP process is more open and transparent, the public is more likely to go along with it, or at least understand it. Transparency probably also saves the city a lot in legal fees and counseling.

Beck also wants to have a more consistent proposal, or RFP, process for developers, along with more transparency.

While I am glad to hear about more transparency, I’m still a little nervous about gearing up for more developer welfare;

“Our community is at a critical stage in terms of growth. We have to address that growth and understand how we’re going to encourage growth in the future and what kind of growth we need,” Beck said.

While I will agree we are a ‘critical stage’ I look at it as revitalizing the core and pulling the reigns back a bit on more urban sprawl. Growth for ‘growth’s sake’ isn’t always a great idea. I guess I have been of the opinion the city should focus on the core more and if developers want to continue to push our boundaries they can pay a premium price for the infrastructure.


#1 "Very Stable Genius" on 05.24.18 at 6:43 pm

Now, transparency means you can look through something to witness something else, right? And the assumption is that as long as others are watching because of this, then nothing funny or illegal will happen. But if what is happening is rigged, or the terms used in its process are ambiguous, then just how transparent is everything?

Because as long as we are not honest with the term ‘blight,’ for instance, then does the transparency of the TIF program itself really matter? The issue of transparency appears to me to be a luxury and or academic at best, when the fundamentals of the actual process, like the evaluation of whether some plot is blighted, are administered in such a way as to be arbitrary and capricious.

So, before we get all hung up on one worded sound bites, which are used to define an issue of concern, I think it is important that we do not allow the sound bite or term to own the moment, when it is actually the process in an open, or transparent, definitional sense and not a functional sense, which truly depicts the ultimate form of any transparent moment or process…


#2 Rachel on 05.24.18 at 11:04 pm

Anyone can throw out the word transparency..have to walk the talk. We will see how it goes and I hope that if it heads south, the admin is held accountable

#3 MK on 05.25.18 at 6:06 pm

Both VSG and Rachel, are correct. It will take more than the council and public being granted access to the information.

The city needs to change the way it handles RFPs.

Now the department gives the specifications they write to the city purchasing manager and their involvement is over.

Then the purchasing manager becomes the point of contact for the vendor.

Talk to some vendors, you’ll find the purchasing manager tells the vendors he wrote the specifications and will try to answer their questions instead of letting the department subject matter experts do it.

It not like the vendors don’t talk to the department people. They find the purchasing manager quite funny when he tries to sound like he’s an expert on every piece of equipment the city owns in every department.

Some have said they have to call the department after talking to him so they can get an answer that is useful and makes sense.

Let the departments be the point of contact for technical questions and purchasing be the POC for purchasing questions.

Make it required any time either one of them has contact with a vendor they have to let the other know.

There’s supposed to be checks and balances.

Right now theirs 1 person in purchasing making all the decisions and keeping all the information to himself.

That’s not good government.

#4 anonymous on 05.26.18 at 9:25 am

VSG,Years ago, when Darrin Smith was

#5 anonymous on 05.26.18 at 9:35 am



Years ago, when Darrin Smith was in charge of Community Development there was a meeting held in the overflow room at Carnegie regarding TIFs.

The local developers turned out in droves (the room was packed) to hear Smith explain that SD State law had been changed to eliminate ‘blight’ as a consideration in the TIF process.

The same comment (in different forms) could be heard from developers throughout the room:

“I came to hear about how I can get “free money”!

*If, anyone is interested, there should be archived notes for this meeting taken by one of the assistant City

#6 "Very Stable Genius" on 05.26.18 at 8:27 pm


I don’t doubt you, but then why do they still address the blight issue – although whimsically – in dealing with the TIF recommendations? Haven’t they just made the definition of blight more vague, which then further challenges the whole idea of transparency itself when it comes to TIFs?

#7 "Very Stable Genius" on 05.26.18 at 8:30 pm

It also seems to me that the best way for us to fight the next TIF is to fight it in court on the grounds that the decision was “arbitrary and captious” and based on wording concerning the definition of “blight” which is constitutionally vague.