UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Clerk trying to change the rules mid-stream

UPDATE: Did you read the last part of the story the same way I did? TJ TypeOver and Greco admit that these rules they are trying to apply to the petition have to be voted on yet by the citizens. Huh? How do you enforce rules that haven’t been ratified by the citizens yet in a legal election? Hey, Kooistra, I may not have a law degree, but last I checked an ‘Opinion’ is just an ‘Opinion.’

Isn’t it funny how these things work? Two weeks after the city clerk and city attorney gave the green light on ‘Triple Check the Charter’ they now are trying to change the rules of the game. It reminds of something we used to call ‘Family Monopoly Rules’. Depending on what family’s house you were playing at, they had their own set of rules.

It is pretty obvious they are trying to create doubt around whether the drive is legal. We allowed the unqualified/uncertified city clerk pull this crap in 2016, and we already know the games all to well. Many city officials know that if this gets on the ballot, it will pass.


City of Sioux Falls administrative staff have determined the Home Rule Charter as adopted 25 years ago is unconstitutional, as adopted.

“We have received an opinion from the city officials, who are duty bound to defend the charter, deciding they have the ability to reject sections of the Charter they do not agree with. This has never been done before, this is a gamechanger.” Committee member Bruce Danielson said “City support staff have opined new rules for our petitioning as if they have the power to rewrite state law, home rule charter and South Dakota Constitution.”

The staff’s procedural changes were emailed to the committee almost two weeks after the petition drive had started and signatures were being collected. “How can the staffers require a whole new set of rules after the process starts?” said Danielson “The organization is working with outside experts seeking guidance to find solutions to save the Sioux Falls home rule charter as written and adopted by the citizens of Sioux Falls.”

“We are continuing the legal collection of signatures based on State of South Dakota established processes due to no ordinances were adopted defining or governing this process.” added Danielson.


Triple Check the Charter’s organizing committee of 15 received a notice letter via email from Sioux Falls City Clerk Tom Greco at 4:15pm on Friday, August 16, 2019.

As required by Sioux Falls Home Rule Charter an affidavit of 15 duly registered Sioux Falls voters was filed on August 5th, 2019 informing the City of Sioux Falls the organization was formed to amend the Home Rule Charter through a petition process. The group, Triple Check the Charter, is offering to the voters of the City of Sioux Falls the ability redefine the duties and responsibilities of the City Council.

In the letter, Clerk Greco, with the assistance of City Attorney Stacy Kooistra have determined to rewrite South Dakota and city of Sioux Falls election laws and procedures:

  1. who may circulate a charter amendment petition and

2.    the number of registered voters required to sign for a signature to be deemed sufficient.

Bruce Danielson


#1 voter on 08.19.19 at 11:48 am

This post is very unclear as to what the City Clerk’s August 16th email said.

Is there any circumstance which makes an individual ineligible to circulate a petition?

What is the specific number of signatures of registered Sioux Falls voters which is required on the ‘Triple Check the Charter’ petitions to take this to a public vote?

#2 Blasphemo on 08.19.19 at 12:06 pm

Worth noting that in the 4:15pm 8/16/19 email, it’s stated that Councilor/Esq. Brekke (previous City Attorney) ALSO DISagrees with the opinions of current City Clerk Greco (unqualified/uncertified, didn’t bother to vote in a bunch of elections prior to his current appointment) & City Attorney Kooistra (lacking municipal law experience prior to his appointment). Brekke has more top level legal municipal hands-on experience than these other two guys will ever have, but those boys’ opinion carries the day? Nice open & transparent government, PTH.

#3 D@ily Spin on 08.19.19 at 12:18 pm

The city considers itself a sovereign nation. Per both the US and SD Constitutions, it is not. This matter will end up in State Supreme Court. The city has lost there before. There’s case history. State Court has the power to withdraw the present charter and supervise installing a new charter. If the city can’t accept stripping certain aspects of Home Rule (Triple Check), they’ll lose all dictatorial power with the New Democratic Charter. They’re ignorant enough. This is what will happen and they’ll pay $250K to a private law firm in the process.

#4 l3wis on 08.19.19 at 12:23 pm

voter, more deets to come later today.

#5 Blasphemo on 08.19.19 at 3:28 pm

Given the mayor was quoted in print as being unsupportive of all or part of the Triple Check agenda . . . .this has the boss at City Hall written ALL over it. If that’s not the case, PTH oughtta get out in front of this ASAP.

#6 Paul Tenhaken AND Joe Kirby on 08.19.19 at 4:18 pm


Joe Kirby is also opposed to the petition drive. He wants all changes to occur within the Charter Revision Commission not by a public vote. For being only a part-time resident of Sioux Falls, he seems to still have some influence.


In fact, this may be even a greater motivator for SF registered voters to sign the petition.


A group wants to change how city government works. Their task just got harder.

Joe Sneve, Sioux Falls Argus Leader Published 1:42 p.m. CT Aug. 19, 2019 | Updated 2:47 p.m. CT Aug. 19, 2019

#7 D@ily Spin on 08.19.19 at 4:49 pm

Let me get this straight. The city decides who can circulate a petition and they want more signatures than required. Also, they want to impose new restraints retroactive. The city clerk and attorney approved the petition with the city seal. Do we know of any city process that can’t be changed? Seems like they can now give you a building permit then tell you to tear it down. I mean, what’s fact and what’s fiction?

#8 D@ily Spin on 08.19.19 at 4:57 pm

The court is gonna love this. When defendant post contractually changes terms, plaintiff wins. Same day gavel down. The city should put this in their playbook and call it ‘Reverse Double Jeopardy’

#9 The Mayor's Puppet on 08.19.19 at 6:32 pm

City Clerk, Tom Greco, is not calling the shots.

He is taking direction from the mayor, the city attorney and Joe Kirby.

Let’s hope the ‘Triple Check the Charter’ people have a strong attorney.

#10 go get 'em on 08.20.19 at 8:31 am

just go get 7000 signatures and shove ’em up those 2 unqualified clowns asses. (you can almost pick any 2 clowns from the large number, but i’m referencing tommy G and stacy k. here pauly t can easily fit the bill as well). i get that getting the signatures will be hard work, but i think there are far more than 7000 citizens who are tired of this nonsense.

#11 Conservative Here on 08.20.19 at 9:31 am

Ok, I have not followed this that closely but, when and where do we start signing this petition. When govt puts up a huge fight on something that means I am more inclined to get behind it. I loathe government and all the bureaucratic BS that comes with it. This is why I am amazed most of the folks who comment on here are for more government and regulations. Yet then are pissed when it becomes corrupt and doesn’t go the way they intend. I don’t know you folks have noticed something but, the more power we give them the more corrupt its gets because it just grows and grows. Come on people wake up, we need LESS government not more and I don’t get why folks never understand that! I know some will comment and say things like “social contracts’ or “we the people”, or “if we just had the right people” etc. The problem is not enough people participate and the folks that do, like many here, are willing to default to govt to solve issues. The word Conservatism is not a bad term and many on this blog who lean left always seem to want more liberty yet vote for more big government and government solutions. For example, can you imagine what would happen if the government gets to control Health Care PERIOD. I KNOW our health care system needs an overhaul but, damn why would you want them in the mix, they can’t even run a city the size of Sioux Falls well. We can’t even get petitions through our little dinky bureaucracy without the rules changing and the only way around that would probably be to sue them. Can you imagine if you had to do that every time you couldn’t get a CAT scan at the hospital, the system would die under its own weight. Common sense says big govt is bad, yet people keeping wanting more. I just do not understand the logic because it NEVER works

#12 scott roberts on 08.20.19 at 11:03 am

the 5 members of the council who vote together on everything, as well as the mayor, do not represent anything even close to conservatism when it comes to government. it’s very odd that the only democrat on the council is more fiscally conservative than any of them.
i agree with CH. just look at the city govt payroll and tell me we’re getting our moneys worth. govt swells and services shrink. its a joke.
i’m a republican and a fiscal conservative and have been my entire life. this clown show does not represent me at all.

#13 Bond Seller on 08.20.19 at 3:21 pm

How upset will everyone be when PTH announces the need for $50,000,000 for his fanciful vanity projects while fighting the petition process?

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