The ENTIRE Sioux Falls City Council needs to be involved in new hires

A brief history of how employment works with the city; If you work under the umbrella of the mayor, he has the power to appoint his directors, he also has the power to approve any hire with the city. I was told once that the former mayor used to sign off on EVERY new hire. I’m sure PTH doesn’t go that far, but you get the gist. The HR department mostly assists in those hires doing the heavy lifting of sorting thru resumes, background checks, drug tests, etc.

It works differently if you work for the city council. The city council has a very small staff which includes three city clerks, operations manager and legislative manager. They also are in charge of the internal audit department (which formerly had 3 people, but I am not sure how many now).

This means the city council ALONE has the power to hire and fire these employees. And it takes a vote of the council to hire and fire.

So fast forward to the search of the new internal auditor position that the city council is currently looking for. Some councilors have told me that not ALL of the city council has been involved in the search and interview process. In fact, the HR department who oversees the mayor’s employees, has been assisting in the search, which I think is a conflict of interest. I’m okay with them doing the necessary background checks, but they should NOT be recommending or assisting in the search process, this should be entirely on the council with the assistance of their current staff. The operations manager is very capable of helping (and probably has been involved).

Ideally, after all the resumes have been collected, the ENTIRE city council ‘SHOULD’ be able to view these applicants either in executive session or in confidential emails. The ENTIRE council should be narrowing down their choice before ultimately picking someone or offering the job to someone. As I understand it, the chair of the audit committee, Neitzert, has taken it upon himself, with the assistance of the mayor’s HR director to find a suitable applicant. If I was a councilor who was left out of the application process I would push back hard on the way this is being handled. I would also VOTE no against any recommendation that wasn’t vetted by the entire council. And while voting on the new hire in the public meeting, I would be very vocal about being left out of the process and why they are voting against the new hire.

The city council doesn’t get many opportunities to hire their own staff, so when they do, that process should be open to the entire council. Just because you may disagree with a certain colleague is all the more reason to bring them to the table. Not to compare this to Lincoln’s Cabinet, but he brought on a whole host of dissenters to get results. Having 16 eyes looking over the applications is better than 2.

As they get closer to picking the new internal auditor it will be interesting to see how they are rolled out.