Is the City of Sioux Falls looking for an Insurance Policy against Ethics Legal Corruption?

I’m hearing rumors today that the Public Assurance Alliance that insures Sioux Falls and other SD municipalities is looking to add a policy that would secure legal expenditures for elected officials who may have legal expenses due to ethics complaints.

The Alliance already covers city employees (non-elected officials) for these things, but would make an extension to those elected by the public.

You already may know my opinion on the matter.

If this is true, stay tuned for further commentary on how I oppose this taxpayer expense.



11 comments ↓

#1 Matthew Paulson on 12.27.20 at 6:15 pm

Who would run for City Council (a job that pays ~$20,000 per year) knowing that any political opponent could use the city’s vague ethics ordinance to file a complaint against you and cause you to rack up thousands of dollars in legal fees?

#2 l3wis on 12.28.20 at 7:34 am

Yet you found it necessary to raise $117k to get the job? Either or it would have cost Greg nothing if he would have just admitted guilt and took his slap on the wrist. There was never a connection between Julian and the complaint.

#3 Mike Lee Zitterich on 12.28.20 at 10:09 am

You all do realize, that if you take any Public Official or Officer to Court via a lawsuit … the State Statutes already allow them to ‘reclaim’ their expenses if they shall win their case.

3-17-10. Officer allowed expenses of defense after judgment for him in removal proceedings – If the final determination of such proceeding be favorable to such accused officer, he shall be allowed the reasonable and necessary expenses he has incurred in his defense, including a reasonable attorney fee, to be fixed by the court or judge. Such expenses shall be paid by the county, if he be a county officer; by the township, if he be a township officer; and by the municipality if he be an officer of such municipality.

If you were to sue them in court as per SDCL Chapter 3, Subsection 17, Clauses 6-10 — allows for public tax dollars of the CITY to reimburse any public officer, official, elected or appointed to be reimbursed.

Be Careful taking any person to court, cause if your ‘case’ is not clearly proven, and the judge sides with the public official, it will COST the “City Tax Payers”

#4 D@ily Spin on 12.28.20 at 10:34 am

Truly sad when representing the people become a lawyers lust. Why is it that councilors get absolute appeals process but (per the judicial ordinance) citizens get denied due process? Dysfunctional government is good entertainment but I want leadership, not full time court TV.

#5 "Very Stable Genius" on 12.28.20 at 8:50 pm

It doesn’t matter if there was a connection between Julian and the complainant. A legitimate ethics charge is still legitimate regardless of who files the complaint.

That whole Julian/complainant argument was nothing but gaslighting by those on the council who were trying to protect the GOP Policy Wonk Guy.

#6 Matthew Paulson on 12.29.20 at 12:02 am

Scott – This has nothing to do with either Alex Jensen or Julian Beaudion. Bringing them into this conversation is an attempt to confuse the issue. Also, why would Greg need to admit guilt to an ethics violation that he was found innocent of by his peers?

That’s the problem here. Regardless of how much merit there is to an ethics complaint or what the ultimate outcome is, a city councilor still has to defend themselves. Even if a councilor is determined to be completely innocent of an ethics violation accusation, they still get hit with a big legal bill because they have to defend themselves.

It’s painfully obvious that the city’s vague ethics ordinance will be weaponized in the future. Some would say it already has been against Greg.

If any disgruntled citizen can force a city councilor to rack up a big legal bill by filing a questionable ethics complaint against them, that will discourage good people from running for city council.

#7 WTF on 12.29.20 at 10:22 am

Matthew Paulson, youstated “discourage good people from running for city council”. is this why you needed to raise $117000 to defeat Stehly? Only people of means or questionable ethics can afford to run?

#8 Mike Lee Zitterich on 12.29.20 at 11:58 am

This is getting more personal of a discussion than it needs to be. Matthew Paulson made a good point, this topic should not be about Alex, or Julian, or Greg.

But Mathew – the ability of the PEOPLE to hold their ‘officials’ accountable is a #1 protected right in the State Constitution, whether appointed, elected, or hired.

Whether or not the laws are written to vague of which they are complicated to understand as written, the PEOPLE have the right to use the same laws in order to HOLD people accountable to the Constitution.

Yes – the negative here is that it forces people to ‘defend themselves’, and that can be costly, however, we did place in our statutes the ability for those persons to recoup their expenses IF they are deemed innocent. It is a two edge sword. IF they are guilty, it comes at a heavy cost; and if they are innocent, they can recoup their expenses.

Most importantly – just having John Cunningham make the case against Greg had both negative and positive effects, and NO ONE can refute that point. For it forces people both the citizens and government officials appointed, elected, and hired to be more “bound” to the Constitution, the Charter, the laws.

The RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE to feel free, secure, and protected withn their domain shall not be abridged.

Meaning – the PEOPLE shall always have the utmost power to HOLD their government accountable. Even where our elected officials did wrong or did good, if the PEOPLE wish to place that government on trial, to ensure the public trust of the community is protected, that is a good thing.

GOOD and BAD Government Officials are equal, for they both must answer for their the decisions made.

In closing, lets remember these important words of our Constitution …

We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties, in order to form a more perfect and independent government, establish justice, insure tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and preserve to ourselves and to our posterity the blessings of liberty, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the state of South Dakota.
Inherent rights. All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring and protecting property and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.  

Power inherent in people–Alteration in form of government–Inseparable part of Union. All political power is inherent in the people, and all free government is founded on their authority, and is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right in lawful and constituted methods to alter or reform their forms of government in such manner as they may think proper. And the state of South Dakota is an inseparable part of the American Union and the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land  

Maintenance of free government–Fundamental principles. The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
SOUTH DAKOTA CONSTITUTION

#9 sheesh on 12.30.20 at 12:38 pm

to say greg was found innocent by a group of self serving cronies is a bit of a stretch. he deserved all the scrunity that came his way. since it did cost him some money perhaps he’ll think twice…or in his case 35 times…before taking a similar action. bottom line is the people in government aren’t entitled to special rules just for them.

#10 The Guy From Guernsey on 12.30.20 at 11:08 pm

Councilor Neitzert engaged in conduct which was improper of a city official and lacked ethical fiber. So apparently also did the Mayor (by the admission of the Ethics Board).
The only thing vague or abstract is the tumerity of anyone on the Ethics Board to actually do the job to which they were appointed.
And , Greg “was found innocent by his peers”!?!? Puuuuleaze.
The tribunal in the movie Animal House had more legitimacy than that of the City Council to ajudicate this matter. Douglas C. Neidermeyer looks the other way when Greg Marmalard is brought before the tribunal.
And speaking of poor ethics and ham-fisted tactics Mr. Paulson, don’t you have a Burger Battle to commercialize and commandeer, a clear attempt to extort the results.

#11 l3wis on 12.31.20 at 9:00 am

‘a clear attempt to extort the results.’ I saw that and thought the same thing, but hey, at least it is for a good cause. I coined it once, ‘The Janklow Mentality’ as long as your helping a charity with your right hand it’s ok to extort others with your left hand.