UPDATE: Apparently city employees were told they were getting bonuses 5 weeks ago assuming the comment below is from an anonymous city employee;

You predicted something a week after it was published on the city employee website! Wow, what a clairvoyant!

I have known for awhile that city employees have a secure sharepoint website. Many private employers and other government agencies have this. I also find it ironic that if the city is struggling to find people they only have 22 jobs listed with 17 of them being internships that don’t pay a living wage.

But what I find even more revealing is that the city employees were told 5 weeks ago that they would receive this bonus even though the city council hasn’t approved anything. In fact they could vote down the proposal all together or amend it to find the money in each of the departments budgets.

So how can the Mayor, the Unions, HR, Finance and Legal departments of the city PROMISE city employees a bonus on a taxpayer funded secure website when the policy body and more importantly the public know nothing about it?

Cruise control government corruption at it’s finest. BTW, anon city employee, thanks for the tip.

As you can see in the city council agenda for Tuesday (Item #39) TenHaken plans to give around $2.49 million in a ‘Retention Incentive Pay’ bonuses to city employees. If you do the math that is around $2,000 per employee, which likely excludes management, but I am not sure because the presentation for this program will be done 2 hours before the first reading with NO attached documents.

I know, the secrecy is sooooooooo surprising.

While we could argue back and forth about whether city employees deserve this or not and the (non-existent) metrics, there is a bigger question of timing and where the money is coming from.

The city could have easily used ARPA funds to give a bonus for working through Covid (mostly from home) but they had tennis courts and butterflies to fund with that money. The money is coming from the General Fund;

That the Mayor has certified that there are available for appropriation unassigned fund
balances carried forward from prior years or revenues in excess of those estimated in the
budget to provide funding to supplement the 2022 budget.

So where did this money come from? Let’s do a brief economics course. In the private sector when you have money left over at the end of the year, that is called a profit from running a successful business by marking up goods and services. In the public sector when you have money left over that means you are NOT fiscally responsible because you are overtaxing the citizens and NOT managing a balanced budget that takes care of all the services and debt. In other words, if the city has over $2 million laying around for operations, what other departments have money leftover? If you look at the city departments and sub departments, the city has a couple dozen.

I have always felt that the city should spend every penny they receive from us from taxes and fees on services and infrastructure back to the citizens, not bribes to the city employees and socialist welfare handouts to the developers, banksters, bondsters and friends of Prince Poops.

Our city employees are well compensated, they have amazing benefits and pensions, not sure why we also need to give them a bonus? Oh and if you look at item #38, they are also getting more vacation time.

Besides dubious funding of this ‘Bonuses for Votes’ plan you have to question the timing and secrecy of planning, only weeks from a city election.

When people challenge me to stop questioning the ethics of our current mayor I say, just look at this proposal. It has nothing to do with keeping city employees, it’s just plain corrupt.

*It will be interesting to see how the media spins this.


We learned this week that the Feds and FBI seem to be concerned about some low hanging fruit by entrapping a low ranking officer for sending images of his penis to someone he thought was 12 years old.

Let’s be clear, it is disturbing.

But what’s more concerning to me is why the FBI is lurking around Sioux Falls. We have known for a long time that sex trafficking in our state and city is a problem and my speculation is this isn’t about one person.

I will actually defend our police chief and mayor on this issue, and getting ahead of this problem and being very public about the solution will only gain you accolades in the end. Choosing to keep this secret will only blow up in your face.

21 Thoughts on “UPDATE: As DaCola predicted, Mayor TenHaken plans to give City of Sioux Falls employees Bonuses right before the April City Election

  1. let me sum up in three words what mike z will say in 500 words regarding this pre-election “bonus”: he’s for it.

  2. LOL, I thought the same thing while writing the post. Ironically, I am not against it either, I just find it funny it is coming before an election, you know like an affordable housing supposed solution. You have had 3.5 years to do something and you wait until an election. Oldest trick in the book.

  3. Mike Lee Zie on February 11, 2022 at 10:33 pm said:

    I’m pretty sure retention bonuses get paid after a certain amount of time to keep someone around. Maybe the end of the year instead of right before an election. Weird.

  4. Mike Lee Zitterich on February 12, 2022 at 12:51 am said:

    Who used my name in a ‘slanderish’ manner, that is very unprofessional if you ask me.

    However, as for the topic – I am not sure if I can agree with giving “public employees” bonuses. I would want to know the precedent for doing such, but more importantly, by our own constitution, you are NOT to “personally gain” from public taxes. And this would fit that definition. Paying someone a ‘salary’ for a service provided is one thing, but providing them an incentive or bonus could be seen as “personally gaining” from public taxes.

    Article 11, Section 11 – 11. Unauthorized use of public money as felony. The making of profit, directly or indirectly, out of state, county, city, town or school district money, or using the same for any purpose not authorized by law, shall be deemed a felony and shall be punished as provided by law.

    Now, how one defines this particular section of our constitution, may call into question whether or not a “public employee” is being allowed to “PROFIT” or “GAIN” from public taxes beyond their initial salary.

    I would make the argument – that upon signing a Public Contract to become “employed” by the City, agreeing to give the residents 2,080 Hours in exchange for $41,600 dollars is just compensation for a service; whereas a “Bonus” may be seen as “profiting” or even a bribe for taking a public service job, that is the argument I may make.


  5. Mike, I apologize to whoever did that, I edited it.

    I’m sure this is legal and likely negotiated with the union, but I would have preferred to see a percentage raise (something that compounds over time) instead of a bonus and increase in PTO.

    I would also like to see the metrics on this. The city says they are having issues hiring new people. Uh, join the club, that is across the board in Sioux Falls. The retention part I am not so sure about. It is true that the city has been short staffed, that is because of covid, and if the city hasn’t chosen to have a vaccination mandate for workers OR at least a vaccination incentive bonus, you get what you get, people out sick.

    My issue is this leftover money that suddenly appeared from nowhere. The mayor should have to FIND the money from transferring funds from other departments for projects that can wait or do not need to be done. The council does this every time they have a proposal and the mayor should have to do the same.

    But the worst part about this is timing. Right before an election. While it may win poops some votes from employees (who actually live here and vote)* I’m not sure how the public will think of this.

    *The last time someone even bothered to check about 50% of city employees are registered and eligible to vote in a muni election. That number was checked in 2010, so it could be off now.

  6. D@ily Spin on February 12, 2022 at 8:36 am said:

    Buying votes, disgusting. What’s especially disturbing is family of employees will also vote for TenPoops. A couple thousand could be buying 3 or more votes. To be fair, there’s serious inflation that will eat up this bonus. It’s justified but should happen after the election. Awarding it just before an election and without council review is unethical if not criminal.

  7. D@ily Spin on February 12, 2022 at 8:47 am said:

    Rumors of the Feds investigating Sioux Falls city government irregularity and general sexual exploitation have been around since Huether. What’s needed most is ACLU focus on how Strong Mayor Charter has destroyed democratic principles and due process. There’s an organized crime wave with godfather developers and lieutenant mayors.

  8. Very Stable Genius on February 12, 2022 at 10:28 am said:

    The mayor’s term should be for one year with potentially endless terms, that way our fearless leader could (would?) work on affordable (accessible?) housing every year.

  9. Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on February 12, 2022 at 12:14 pm said:

    The City Center being built next to Romantix was probably the initial hint. The Rainbow Bar, Frontier Club, Jamz, and The Pomp Room are all gone, but Studio One’s ghost lingers. And is it merely a Guantanamo Bay amongst powers to be, or the harboring of a bay for pigs. ‘Animal Farm’ is always right, you know. Pigs are the smartest animal. But who will bring home the bacon? Or, is it all less than six degrees? So, I guess now it’s all up to the Feds to find out.

  10. You’re a wizard! on February 12, 2022 at 4:37 pm said:

    You predicted something a week after it was published on the city employee website! Wow, what a clairvoyant!

  11. Mike Lee Zitterich on February 12, 2022 at 5:18 pm said:

    Scott, thank you, and this is one of those topics you and I can find agreement on, and I agree, government can only raise ‘reasonable’ amounts of revenue to cover expenses, that is in the constitution itself.

    I only bring up Article 11, Section 11 cause my interpretation is that a BONUS could be seen as a manner of ‘profiting or gaining’ from public taxes when looked at “reasonable revenues” necessary to provide a service.

    Government should NOT have a surplus, but it does have the right, if the people agree to, put aside ‘money’ for a rainy day fund, but that should also be reasonable as well.

    I dont know if you caught it Scott, but on December 10, at the C.R.C I did create discussion on the thought of revising Charter Section 5.05 to change the section to “Force” the Council to submit a list of 10 or so items to pull or add to the budget, and if no Agreement on the budget between them and the mayor can be agreed to, they must resort to last years spending budget.

    So on the budget, tax revenues, expenses, we most likely agree…

    And your right, not only is the city struggling to find employees, ‘we’ are in the private sector as well, the Auto Industry alone is having a tough time finding mechanics, and ‘we’ pay a pretty good penny to them.

  12. No such thing as low hanging fruit when it comes to those who target children for any sex related crime. I hope that they are ALL caught and properly charged; no deals like Sedaris got and definitely should not be media blackout on the perp like Sanford is getting either. I don’t care how far or down in politics, entertainment, law enforcement, or citizens holding normal jobs positions the criminals are in, they victimize children and there is legit evidence of it happening, they need to have justice brought down on them.

  13. Wizard, actually it was about a month ago I brought this up, so you are right I was a little off. LOL.


  14. Mike Lee Zitterich on February 13, 2022 at 1:04 am said:

    $1,000,000 Design Plan Agreement for Final Design of the 6th Street Bridge:

    The 6th Street Bridge Reconstruction moves forward beginning this week with the City Council approving development plans for nearly $1,000,000 dollars to draft and pay for design plans.

    7 Highways/Streets 11086 Bridge Reconstruction Program

    – 6th Street Bridge; Agreement for final design 22-3051
    Infrastructure Design Group, Inc. $950,119.00
    Agenda Item #6; Sub-Item Number 7

  15. You’re a wizard! on February 13, 2022 at 8:24 am said:

    Correct. It had been on the internal website over a week when you brought it up a month ago. What a genius you are!

  16. You’re a wizard! on February 13, 2022 at 9:51 am said:

    As usual, you got it wrong. Again. City employees were told about a possible bonus. PENDING COUNCIL APPROVAL. You dolt.

  17. Archie Nemesis on February 13, 2022 at 11:43 am said:

    Question marks and exclamation marks: Living with you must be like being in a Batman cartoon or something.

  18. So you were told you would be getting a bonus pending council approval before the council was even told they would need to approve this? Because that is NOT something that should have been told to you or them secretly. When it comes to executive sessions that is to discuss individual employees and litigations not policy ideas as a whole. I also find it interesting that nobody knows where this money is coming from because technically the budget has already been created for 2022. Does the mayor have a mattress in his office his stuffing millions in? I’m glad you are happy with a secret bribe, as a tax payer, not so happy. Hopefully you at least got a vaccination.

  19. Mike Lee Zitterich on February 13, 2022 at 5:07 pm said:

    They were asked to cut their budgets by department. Another budget trick jf you understand budgets. You overstate your expenses foe the future, then slash your spending by 5% to 10% and bam, you got $2,000,000 in savings. It’s an issue o been taking taking a few years now. It’s business economics 101 when creating budgets. They no longer need city council approval on spending the money, they simply ask to spend it on a certain program. It’s easy to get council approval when you showyou saved us money.

    The bad part is, we will never see our legit costs if operating the government cause they keep oversating future expenses, while coming in under budget showing a surplus.

    What’s I am worried about is BONUS can appear to ve a bribe to convince people to work for government instead of private sector, so we lose one more tax payer to fund the public expenses. As well Z it may violate Article 11, Section 11 if the State Constitution cause it could be allowing one to gain from public. Tax dollars.

  20. Watching from the Deep South on February 13, 2022 at 6:59 pm said:

    I think they should give bonuses retroactively to those city employees that have retired within the past 5 years. My wife would appreciate it and thank all of you taxpayers.

  21. Further Fear & Loathing on February 14, 2022 at 12:58 pm said:

    But wouldn’t a retroactive bonus be like giving out a golden parachute after a fall from grace?

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