Sioux Falls City Councilors told NOT to circulate petitions

In a 3-1 decision (Sue Roust voted to say it was OK to circulate) the Board of Ethics told the RW3 (Brekke, Stehly & Starr) that they didn’t think it was ‘ethical’ to circulate petitions for Triple Check the Charter.

Their reason? They said that since the 3 of them are in a supervisory role with the city clerk, Tom Greco, that it would make it difficult for him to act fairly when checking the petitions if one of them turned in signatures. While that is all fine and dandy, Roust pointed out that it is no different then turning in petition signatures for running for re-election to the council.

I think that they could just sign an affidavit saying that they would not discuss the petition with Tom and vice versa and have the city attorney notarize it. I also think by telling them NOT to circulate petitions, it violates their 1st Amendment rights.

A lot of Hoo-Hah over nothing. The BOE did tell them that they could assist with the petition drive though, just NOT collect signatures.


#1 D@ily Spin on 08.16.19 at 1:43 pm

In other words, they forfeit their civil liberty of free speech and assembly. They’re telling them they can’t poll the public when (indeed) it’s their function. It sounds like, if elected as councilor, you become a ward of the city. There’s a constitutional argument here worthy of SD Attorney General attention if not a Supreme Court case.

#2 l3wis on 08.16.19 at 2:22 pm

Dan, I think they basically told them that it wasn’t against the law to circulate the petition, just unethical.

#3 D@ily Spin on 08.16.19 at 5:03 pm

What happens if the 3 councilors resign so they can work on the campaign for Triple Check? Then it’s not looking good politically for the mayor and remaining council. There would be media focus causing voters to take a look at the problems with the charter. More importantly, councilors that quit could open up to interviews and command the next election.

#4 D@ily Spin on 08.16.19 at 5:16 pm

What councilors are paid is pittance. Resignations would be a patriotic act hardly impacting the 3. It’s probably the best eye opener in the media. If Neitzert joins, council votes get paralyzed. It’s time for 3 John Hancocks on the Triple Check petition. With the right media information it’s time for pickets around city hall. Worst case, the 3 stay in office and the people suffer because they are always voted down.

#5 Blasphemo on 08.16.19 at 11:32 pm

What is the record of the BOE voting to affirm advisory requests, or upholding complaints of ethics violations? Are they objective, or just in search of every possible way to deny those who seek action from them? Maybe they should be renamed BON – the Board Of NO?

#6 Blasphemo on 08.17.19 at 8:34 am

What’s the decision record look like for the BOE? Do they ever affirm a complaint or request for advisory opinion? “If (a) citizen(s) petition the BOE . . . is/are he/they STILL wrong?” 🙂

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