Sioux Falls City Council to propose Charter Amendments

Since the CRC rejected proposals from citizens the council is going to take a stab at it. While I don’t agree with some of the proposals, I do commend them for putting it on the ballot and letting the voters decide instead of them since most of their amendments are bad ideas like runoffs in council races and moving public input to the back of the meeting.

Let’s look at the proposals, mostly coming from a couple of short-timers;

Item #13, Raising mayoral pay to be in line with director pay ($195K). This is of course is a back door effort to raise councilor pay. Council pay I believe is 15% of mayoral pay, but don’t quote me on that, which would raise their salaries to $29K up $10K a year. Councilors have been butt hurt for a long time because they don’t get paid what the county commissioners do. I actually think $19K a year is too much for the bare minimum of work they do. I actually think director pay should be in line with mayoral pay, not the other way around. Sioux Falls pays directors better than almost any city in the region, and we are the only city with a Medical Director that happens to be the highest paid city employee. If this goes to voters it will fail at least by 60% if not more.

Item #14, City Council terminating city attorney. Ironically they are also proposing allowing the city council to fire the city attorney. I support this because the City Attorney should be representing the city with the best interest of the taxpayers NOT the mayor or even the city council. I have even suggested that the City Attorney and Police Chief should be elected. I’m not sure how citizens would vote on this, it could be close. I think some people feel that since the mayor appoints the city attorney he should be the only one to fire him. That is a misconception, because the council already has to approve the appointment so they should be able to fire the city attorney also. I heard a rumor that this is coming up because our current head city attorney really blows at his job and the council has been very frustrated with him.

Item #15, Bounce Back for head city attorney. The city council has been on this kick lately of bouncing directors back. It’s complete BS! Directors are NOT union employees, so they have no protections if terminated. The reason is because they have a 6-Figure salary and enormous benefits package. By allowing them to ‘bounce back’ to their previous job seems like a non-manager union perk. Unfortunately this item WILL NOT BE VOTED ON BY CITIZENS, THIS IS A COUNCIL DECISION. My argument is that in the private sector when Bob gets promoted to a department manager after being an assistant manager, people below him get promoted, and if he fails at the job and gets put back in his old position it has a domino effect on the employees below him which can cause a lot of resentment and contribute to low morale. In the real world when you apply to be a manager and you can’t handle the job, you go bye bye or move to another department. Why would the city want to keep on a city attorney who is NOT qualified to be the lead attorney but good enough for an assistant? If you can’t cut it as the top city attorney, you should get your walking papers.

Like I said already, I’m glad to see the council is allowing the citizens to vote on the first two items, I just think they are lousy ideas that will mostly fail, proving just out of touch our supposed leaders are.


#1 D@ily Spin on 12.10.21 at 5:23 pm

The mayor and city attorney alignment prompts corruption. There’s a reason TIF’s are scams and mayors leave office millionaires. Disband the CRC? There’s been no performance. The council could initiate what citizens should vote on.

#2 Mike Lee Zitterich on 12.10.21 at 5:44 pm

Interesting development, cause the issue with the Mayor’s pay was actually discussed during this years CRC session, the commissioner who raised the concern, removed it from the agenda this year, cause they did not want to place it on the ballot during a Mayor Election Year. So the City Council later decides to place it on the Ballot themselves. Interesting development there…

#3 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 12.11.21 at 12:10 am

Oh, that’s “director pay”. At first, I read that as “in line with” a dictator’s pay.

#4 Mike Lee Zitterich on 12.12.21 at 4:45 pm

I like the idea of the Mayor being the highest paid city official, but I am not sure whether this concept should on the 2022 ballot:

1) IF this goes on the ballot in 2022, it would complicate and confuse the voters, whom have to ponder re-electing the current mayor;

2) IF the people adopt this in 2022, and the current mayor gets re-elected, does it appear that the current mayor voted to give himself a pay increase;

3) IF we adopt to update the Charter, you also have to be cautious of other aspects within this particular section;

4) Remember, the pay of the other 8 Councilors is also effected by the Mayor’s paycheck, and remember, they all get pay increases each year due to the COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS.

5) Current Mayor is paid $130,000 a year, while the Councilors are paid 15% of that figure.

I would much rather this topic be placed on a future ballot for 2024 while the implementation of the change be 2026 as such, it does NOT effect any current member of the city council (nor mayor) until we elect a new council in 2026.

WE would need a “resolution” to study, investigate, and assess reasons why City Directors, Officials, Employees may or may not be receiving rates of pay than the Mayor, let alone how have we become reluctant to pay Public Employees far better than their counterparts in the “Private Sector”. It should be a privilege to become public servant, not a protected right.

I would also like to see the “annual pay increases” removed from this section, in place of “Per Council Session or 2 Year Election Cycle”.

This is how I would like to see the section read:

“(f) Salary of mayor and council members. The mayor’s salary having been established in the amount of $195,000 by this provision in 2022, each other council member shall receive an annual salary in the amount of fifteen (15) percent of the mayor’s salary. The mayor’s salary shall automatically be adjusted for inflation or deflation with each other council persons salary thereafter adjusted to be equal to fifteen (15) percent of the mayor’s new adjusted salary. But no increase in pay shall take effect during the current city council session, or before the next subsequent public election of the mayor or the councilors. No meeting fees shall be paid to the mayor nor city council members. The mayor and each member of the city council may at their discretion elect to not take their pay for any reason given, or they may elect to donate up to 100% of their pay for charitable causes in the name of the residents.”