UPDATE: Sioux Falls Chief of Staff for TenHaken makes $161K a year

While I’m still waiting for the 2019 salary report to come out, I have some ‘early’ returns.

COS Erica Beck’s salary is $161K + $28K in benefits.

In comparison, Mayor TenHaken’s salary is $128K + $42K in benefits (Salary is controlled by ordinance and not performance or education).

Also, City Councilor’s yearly salary is $19K plus $200 month stipend for gas and phone. They are ineligible for retirement or healthcare benefits even though other cities and counties across the state allow it.

Like I said, once I get the full salary report, I will have more names to add.

I have often felt that NONE of the Mayor’s ‘support staff’ should get paid more than him. For example, when looking at the 2018 salaries, the former mayor’s secretary (who is still with the city) was getting $63K + Benefits and his communications manager was getting $75K + Benefits. Also, the Operations manager for the city council will make around $100K this year, and he has to support 8 people instead of just one.

I also find it a bit ironic when you see these corporate like pay scales in public service (government is not like private business).

Just read this story when you want to have comparable wages in the private sector in SD;

The News Watch analysis of 2017 wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics within the U.S. Department of Labor showed that:

  • Roughly 21 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 87,000 people, make under $30,000 a year; 41 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 169,400 people, make under $35,000 a year, and 71 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 292,000 people, make under $40,000 a year.
  • Out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, South Dakota is third lowest in average annual pay at $40,770, with the national average at $55,470. The state is also at or near the bottom nationally for average pay in several occupational sectors, including office and administrative support (51st), architecture/engineering (51st), education (50th), production workers (50th), life/physical/social sciences (50th), construction and extraction (50th), arts/design/sports/media (50th), computer and mathematical (49th), community and social services (48th), legal (47th), transportation and materials movement (45th), community and social services (47th) and business and financial operations (44th).
  • While doctors, medical specialists, dentists and CEOs are among the highest paid, the support staffs that work for them are among the lowest paid.

Isn’t it sad that about 71% of employed people in SD make under $40K a year and the mayor’s COS makes 4X that in the public sector. What is even more troubling is that TenHaken calls himself a fiscal conservative because he is of Dutch decent, yet pays corporate like wages on the taxpayer’s dime. I guess he is only conservative when it comes to HIS money, not ours.

I also find it a bit ironic that this story has been long overdue, and where did it come from? The local MSM? The AP? Maybe PBS? Nope. From a Non-Profit online news organization.


#1 anominous on 01.18.19 at 1:36 pm

Lol when u opt not to sand or salt the streets ahead of a storm, u can save a lot of money to use for important stuff.

#2 Blasphemo on 01.18.19 at 2:18 pm

It would be interesting to track her salary through her previous municipal positions in Sioux Falls, and then see how her most recent stint at Lloyd Cos. may have led to her ascent to this current municipal income. Possible?

#3 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.18.19 at 5:10 pm

But isn’t it common to pay the city manager more than the acting mayor? 😉

#4 Wirelessly Irradiated on 01.18.19 at 7:25 pm

So Paulie receives more in benefits than what the average S.D. wage earner makes in a year.

Now check out the CEO salary & benefits for Good Sam & some other large non-profits in town.

Antithetical that non-profit CEO’s make huge salaries.

#5 Thomas on 01.19.19 at 12:19 pm

What is your recommended salary range for the position?

“corporate like wages”
This position would be double in a corporation.

Do we have a wage problem in SD (and also in the country)? Yes, there is a big gap and its growing between higher and lower incomes. Yet, none of that means the Sioux Falls COS should be paid less.

#6 l3wis on 01.19.19 at 2:05 pm

Even if you based it on National Averages (which you really can’t when SD ranks about 48-50th in the nation for professional pay). An executive assistant is around $75K a year and COS is around $127K a year. So yes, it does mean she should be paid less. Her pay is based on one thing, and one thing only, She asked for it, and Paul gave it to her.

#7 Blasphemo on 01.20.19 at 11:26 am

Prairie town w/ population ranking 143rd of incorporated places in the US . . . municipal COS makes salary & benefits roughly commensurate with annual salary of US senator. Right. Makes perfect sense.