What did we learn from Sioux Falls City Councilor Neitzert’s Ethics Hearing?

There was certainly a coordinated attack going on Thursday night, but it wasn’t on Greg, it was on Mr. Cunningham, and Councilors Brekke and Starr.

I was able to review some of the 170+ page document that suddenly appeared the night of the hearing (a copy of the document was never given to Mr. Cunningham or his attorney before that night, NOW that’s integrity and ethics folks!). There are some pretty astonishing accusations.

They believe John breached his confidentiality because he told the media after the first complaint was thrown out who and what it was about. But John never talked to the media about the case when he filed his 2nd complaint.

Sure the Argus, my blog and councilor Starr said who it ‘may’ be (because it was pretty damn obvious after the first complaint got thrown out that John would probably refile with the proper ordinance). But John himself never breached the the confidentiality of the second complaint.

This is what has surprised me through this whole thing, Greg knew we would all know it is him after the first one was thrown out, so why hide it from the public? Sure he has that right (which I don’t agree with, because I think complaints against public officials should be public) but how ignorant do you look when 99% of people following the matter already have made the assumption it is Greg. We can argue all day whether what Greg did was unethical or not, but keeping it confidential only prolonged the process and the speculation and actually cost taxpayers well over probably $10K.

There was also some mention in the documents I reviewed that they were going to make an attempt to try to force John to pay the legal fees of the city and Neitzert. I don’t think they can pursue that now since the BOE did determine probable cause to investigate.

But what is most troublesome is the demonization of Starr, Brekke and private citizen John Cunningham, who were all pointing out the obvious, Greg took a trip paid for by a Partisan group. Though Greg denies it’s partisanship, throughout the hearing evidence was presented on the contrary. It was a Republican event. They didn’t invite councilors, commissioners and mayors from the Democratic party. That is what makes it partisan. Greg essentially stood at the podium and lied while pretending to be oblivious of the fact that this WAS a partisan event. To heck with the possible violation itself, he should be punished on the grounds of lying during his hearing. He also attempted to lie about it being a political attack and when asked to present evidence, he stared at his shoes and shuffled paper. I ask the simple question; How is John, Janet and Pat talking about a possible ethics violation a political attack? At no time in the hearing was Greg’s political opponent brought up or evidence that John, Janet and Pat were working with his opponent. And come on folks, we knew Julian was never going to beat Greg. Even if Greg’s supporters felt he did something unethical, like myself and even John said, it wasn’t really a punishable offense, John just simply wanted to set an example so the council would stop doing this and change policy. No political collusion. Sure Pat, Janet and John shared (public) information. But Julian was never included in this threeway, or at least NO evidence was presented. In fact, the only time that I can personally think Julian would have even crossed that path was when one of his supporters helping him with his campaign asked me if it was Greg. And since I saw the email the same time John did I said that it was safe to assume that, or the mayor. I’m not sure if this information was ever passed onto Julian, but if it was, he did nothing about it and in the one and only phone conversation I had with Julian, we never really talked about it.

And here is the other kicker; if Greg’s charges were dismissed because they felt he did nothing wrong, why did his supporters on the council say they need to make policy changes? Why change something that isn’t broken? If Greg didn’t violate a policy, why do you need to fix the policy? Seems a little hypocritical to me? Wait, that’s this council’s middle name.

And the obvious and awful bias the chair of the meeting, Mayor TenHaken, had towards Greg and Greg’s detractors. Paul routinely cut off John, Janet and Pat while letting Greg’s 5 best friends make statements and cut off answers from John before he could finish. His performance that night should be a clear ethics violation.

But one of the other ironic moments was when (I think) councilor Selberg said that he thought this bickering and divisiveness would end after the election (in other words, after Theresa was gone). What they didn’t realize is that they are the ones being divisive and partisan and they are the ones that created all this drama. Remember how Councilor Erractickson used to attack Stehly? Now she has turned those attacks onto Brekke. This is what happens when you have a majority of the council that hates the public’s opinion, hates transparency and were bought and paid for (literally) by the banksters, developers and high rollers in town.

So what did Greg do wrong? First off, not admitting he actually did violate a portion of the ordinance by taking a paid for partisan trip. Greg could have made this go away the second the first complaint was filed by telling the BOE he apologized for the misstep and would work with the council on cleaning up the ordinances on travel policy. I actually believe he would have looked very honorable by doing that.

I also don’t think it deserved punishment. Though now I do think Greg needs to be reprimanded for lying throughout his hearing and making up things up about Janet, Pat and John.

And that’s just it, the violation itself wasn’t the gorilla in the room Thursday night, it was false attacks on Janet, Pat and John and the demonization of a citizen whistle blower for having the courage to file the complaint when he saw something that didn’t look right. Remember, as John mentioned Thursday night, he has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and worked in the public sector most of his life, if he saw something that didn’t look right, he would be the one to know. The BOE did determine it wasn’t frivolous and changes to policy should be tightened up.

But if there is something we can learn from this is the attacks on private citizens for looking into government corruption needs to end, and ironically that is the real ‘political hit job’ here coming from the very partisans (Republicans) who tried to claim the trip wasn’t partisan. Just another chapter in their sad, pathetic, lying, scheming loser lives. The truth will free you brothers and sisters, I guess they enjoy being chained to the evils of deception, just look at who leads the state and national party.



8 comments ↓

#1 D@ily Spin on 09.13.20 at 3:10 pm

Keep the mayor and council on matters such as this so they won’t be planning more vacant parking ramps. One or more of the 5 criticized this way is political and private damaged reputation. If Neitzert can’t be reprimanded or removed, he’s still become tainted and unworthy of higher office.

#2 Pundit on 09.13.20 at 4:08 pm

The hearing definitely re-confirmed that Crissy Erickson is an immature, hysterical shrew.

#3 one way council on 09.13.20 at 8:36 pm

I learned that they will back their own and care less about the, people everyday in Sioux Falls.I learned the the ten is as slick as slick Mike,

#4 "Very Stable Genius" on 09.13.20 at 10:40 pm

What happen last Thursday night had the civility of a Salem Witch Trial. It was surreal to watch as some, with the help of the mayors maneuvering, somehow place the ethics or characters of Cunningham, Brekke, and Starr on trial as much as Neitzert’s.

This should have never happened. This reality was merely a gaslighting strategy by the Gang of Five plus Neitzert.

If some have an issue with Brekke and Starr’s ethics, then that is a separate issue, which is not germane to the issue involved with this ethics hearing, and should be dealt with later. And Cunningham’s credibility is totally legitimized by the BOE’s willingness to allow the complaint to go forward, so he should not receive any criticism by the council during the hearing. (“Say, let’s hold a hearing, which legitimizes the complaint, then attack the complaint’s character, huh?”…. #CharacterAssassination )

Plus, how and why should a citizen beheld to a confidentiality agreement on a matter like this? A fellow city employee, yes, but not a citizen, because a citizen has a uniqueness to such a process, which would never be exercised by any citizen if they had the fear of cost and the allegations of leaks or leaking placed on them.

The fact that the local media did not cover the event with any great intensity until after the outcome proves how any plaintiff in such a matter is outed number from the start and is vulnerable to attack, manipulation, entrapment, and intimidation.

What I would change in this whole process, however, going forward is to have the BOE try the accused and take questions from the council.

Imagine if criminal jurisprudence in our society was handled by a citizen’s complaint, where the state’s attorney agreed it had merit, then the complainant had to prosecute the accused themself, while the SA office would only question the accused.

This current process is weighted against the complainant; and now some at city hall want to threatened retribution in the form of the costs of the whole event upon Cunningham? Really? That is an other sad and surrealistic reality that is just not just. And is it ethical in its own right as well?

#5 D@ily Spin on 09.14.20 at 12:39 pm

Looks like the BOE is ineffective. Still, I’m happy living in SD. We don’t have out of control west coast wild fires or a gulf coast hurricane. Trump holds indoor rallies without masks. Our lives could get even better when Republicans become to sick to get to the polls.

#6 qanominous on 09.14.20 at 4:59 pm

was it that they went to Texas for an ALEC meeting and got it paid for then the council said it was ok since everyone else in the country was doing it.

#7 "Very Stable Genius" on 09.14.20 at 8:13 pm

We live in strange times. Our president wants the Justice Department to represent him on a civil lawsuit, our unindicted co-conspirator mayor gets to oversee an ethics hearing, where he is a co-conspirator in the case, and now, our SD AG’s department is required to investigate the AG, or its boss.

All of this is more than a banana republic. It’s more like Arkansas justice, where you don’t know if you are investigating your spouse or your cousin.

#8 D@ily Spin on 09.15.20 at 11:00 am

Per Comment #6:
When the wolves are in charge of the chicken coup, we could run out of chickens. No more chicken legs from chicken tenders? Egg-zactly

Leave a Comment