Sioux Falls City Councilors Starr and Brekke present ordinances for more transparency

There is actually some positive legislation on the city council agenda that costs citizens $0 (so I’m sure there is plenty of money left over from 2021 to fund it 🙂 Pat and Janet are sponsoring two ordinances that address more transparency when it comes to keeping ordinances simple and transparent legal advice.

Item #44 is a clean up measure from state law;

(d) For the purposes of implementing SDCL 9-19-7.1, “substantially alters” shall mean
alterations to a proposed ordinance so significant as to amount to a new proposal from that
which was noticed and heard.

Basically this calls for ordinances to be easily understandable and if they get so complicated and are multi-subject they have to be broken up into separate ordinances (this is how it was explained to me).

Item #45 is self explanatory;

(k) The mayor or any member of the city council may request an official opinion of the city
attorney or a memorandum of legal advice that is not privileged pursuant to SDCL 1-25-2.
Such opinion or memorandum of legal advice shall be open to the public for inspection and
copying. The original opinion or memorandum of legal advice shall be filed with the city
clerk. An official opinion or a memorandum of legal advice shall not be issued on any
matter described in SDCL 1-25-2. The city attorney also reserves the right to deny a request
for an official opinion or a memorandum of legal advice request. Requests for an official
opinion shall not be unreasonably denied, and all denials shall be in writing stating the legal
or policy reason(s) for the denial and shall be filed with the city clerk.

This one will likely get a majority of council support. Basically they are asking the city attorney’s office to issue opinions, due it in a timely manner and make those opinions open to the public.

I guess several councilors have been irked that City Attorney Kooistra’s attitude towards councilors inquiries have been either ignored or denied. Kooistra seems to have one master and they are fed up with it.

As lead city attorney, they must not only serve the mayor and city departments in general but the city council.

I will defend Kooistra on one aspect of his behavior; he probably has denied opinions because he doesn’t know WTF he is talking about.



5 comments ↓

#1 Steve on 03.05.22 at 3:25 pm

So, if the stars and galaxies align and PTH is not reelected, we most likely will get a new city attorney as well? Wishful thinking for many, I’m sure.

#2 D@ily Spin on 03.05.22 at 3:49 pm

Ordinances can be readily defeated. They’re outdated, complex and often misinterpreted. A major overhaul should be considered. Just don’t park your horse and buggy outside city hall.

#3 l3wis on 03.05.22 at 4:11 pm

Steve, if that is true I hope he has a job lined up, because I heard he has quite the mortgage to pay these days. LOL.

#4 The Guy From Guernsey on 03.06.22 at 7:47 am

“… several councilors have been irked that City Attorney Kooistra’s attitude towards councilors inquiries have been either ignored or denied.”

That’s certainly one take.
My take would be that there are councilors (and the Mayor) who are irked to a greater extent that Councilor Brekke expects and brings accountability to the City Attorney office.

We’ll see how it goes with Item #45, but just for sporting interest, can we have a betting pool?
The “which Councilor will essentially berate/belittle Councilor Brekke for bringing an ordinance which requires a City employee to do their job” pool?
May I have Councilor Kiley, please.

Heavy sighs into open mics don’t count to determining the results of the betting pool (unless acknowkedged by the Council Chair and entered into the meeting record).

#5 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 03.06.22 at 12:14 pm

Transparency and politics, isn’t that a lot like military and intelligence?