Sioux Falls City Council expresses their displeasure with being the administration’s doormat

For clarity NO councilor today at the 4PM special meeting used the term ‘doormat’ but they really didn’t have to. After being hoodwinked into believing they could take another stab at the bid today they realized the mayor’s office, the city attorney’s office and finance office used the wrong language last Tuesday on the agenda item which an assistant city attorney admitted to at today’s meeting after Councilor Cole questioned the language (Councilors Cole, Neitzert and Starr all voted against the $3 million supplement).

Let’s admit it, the bridge is a POS and needs to be replaced, it will also cost more then projected, I think everyone can accept that. What cannot be accepted is the way this was ramrodded through with little transparency OR respect for councilors. Four councilors touched on this;

Councilor Neitzert, clearly disgusted with the process, pointed out that he felt that the administration was disrespecting the council’s duties (he puts it much more eloquently) when it comes to how they were treated in this process and they should work as a team on this stuff;

“The city council should not tolerate an enormously expensive and important decision being dropped on us at the last minute, giving us no opportunity to do due diligence and no option to defer or delay it,” Neitzert said. “We shouldn’t tolerate being put into a corner with no options and we imposed no consequences for that behavior. In fact, we rewarded it. So don’t be surprised when it happens again.”

Councilor Cole expressed that she didn’t think it was fair to be mislead with incorrect agenda language at last week’s meeting.

Councilor Merkouris felt that the council (the legislative policy body) should put some safeguards and ordinances together over the next 30 days to prevent this from happening in the future (he looked pretty green while talking about this).

Councilor Starr reminded Merkouris that this kind of policy takeover has been going on since the new charter was put in place and that tweaks to policy ordinances hasn’t really remedied the problem that has only gotten worse since each administration has figured out how to sidestep the council. Pat basically said that the council needs to assert themselves more to become the policy body they are intended to be (it takes ACTION not talk);

“Power doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” said councilor Pat Starr, who joined Neitzert in voting no to accept the bid. “They take over our policy making process when we don’t do our job. That’s what happened in this case and it happens all the time. It will happen again because until we stand up and do our job, and not doing the work that we should, and telling the administration where we want the city to go in making that policy and until we do that they are going to continue to make policy.”

According to Charter the roles of the council and mayor are pretty freaking clear;

Section 2.01 General powers and duties.

All powers of the city shall be vested in the city council, except as otherwise provided by law or this charter, and the council shall provide for the exercise thereof and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the city by law. The council shall act as a part-time, policy making and legislative body, avoiding management and administrative issues.

Section 3.03 Mayor’s duties and responsibility.

The mayor shall, at the beginning of each calendar year, and may at other times give the council information as to the affairs of the city and recommend measures considered necessary and desirable. The mayor shall preside at meetings of the council, represent the city in intergovernmental relationships, appoint with the advice and consent of the council the members of the citizen advisory boards and commissions, present an annual state of the city message, and perform other duties specified by the council and by article III. The mayor shall be recognized as head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes and by the governor for purposes of military law.

I encouraged the city council during public input to vote to reconsider at the next February meeting since it was NOT of their fruition, and if the contractor wants to sue, that is on the administration and NOT on them for being mislead. It seems at least one councilor, Cole, intends to do that;

To formally reconsider an action of the council, a member on the prevailing side of the vote must make that motion during the same meeting or at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the governing body, according to city ordinance. But because Tuesday’s meeting was not a regular meeting, Sioux Falls City Attorney Stacy Kooistra said the soonest that could occur would be at the Feb. 6 meeting.

Cole told The Dakota Scout Tuesday evening she intends to do just that.

“There just wasn’t enough time ahead of the vote,” she said.

As always, when government is transparent and thorough, it saves taxpayers money. When it is chocked full of typos in the legal documents (either intentional or not) you get this turd blossom; Bunker Bridge.



11 comments ↓

#1 Steve on 01.24.23 at 9:06 pm

So this anti-transparency Mayor shines thru again! Who else thinks the city attorney used the wrong language under the guidance from the Mayor?

#2 D@ily Spin on 01.24.23 at 9:42 pm

Perhaps the council has begun to realize that Strong Mayor Charter is resembles a dictatorship. It works to make a mayor rich from oligarch consideration but leaves out representation from the council and (therefore) the people.

#3 l3wis on 01.24.23 at 9:48 pm

You kind of wonder if playing dumb is his only talent (besides taking sweaty selfies).

#4 Mike Lee Zitterich on 01.24.23 at 11:28 pm

Under the current “charter” – both the Mayors Office and the City Council Office have equal powers. If you read through the charter, you will see that neither can achieve their goals, their agenda without the other.

We are both a Strong Mayor and Strong City Council form of government, both are equal to each other.

You have to realize the extent of the full power each Office actually has.

While the Mayor has Administrative Power only, meaning, he represents the Landowners, Property Holders, Business Community, and the Residents At-Large, thus working through the countless City Boards, Committees, Commissions overseeing the Departments, Offices, Agenices, City Staff, let alone all the Corporate Partners. He has the power to bring forth potential Ordinances to the City Council, which he is a part of.

Whereas the “Strong City Council” as the power to adopt all future Ordinance, Resolutions, and to make Proclamations, Declarations, forming policy, let alone, holds the “Investigative Power” over the Mayor’s Office, the Departments, Public Offices, Agencies, City Staff, and Corporate Partners.

The Council is broken down into 2 parts – the Residents At-Large are fully represented by 3 Chairs of whom work closely with the Mayor representing the over all interests of the City – Landowners, Property Holders, Businesses, whereas the “District Reps” directly represent the residents within a small minded group of people aligned in “Districts”.

While the MAYOR has Administrative Power, the City Council has Investigative Power, while both can bring forth Ordinances and Resolutions, and both can make Proclamations, Declarations, etc.

The Mayor has the authority to ‘act’ through his administrative powers to sit down with the Landowners, Property Holders, Developers to negociate contracts; whereas the City Council has the right to meet to discuss accepting, and adopting agreeing to resolutions to uphold the “contract” let alone apportion the tax dollars.

Last Tuesday, they voted 6-2 to favor accepting the “Contract”, whereas this Tuesday they ‘accepted’ apportioning the revenues to fund the contract. “THEY” could have voted to delay, or not approve the funding, which subjectively, places the contract on hold, thus setting up future discussions to discuss the contract terms.

Remember, late in the year 2022, the Council had already approved the “Capital Project” to be done for 2023, this allowed the Mayor’s Office to proceed on accepting Bid(s), let alone negociate terms of a contract, of which brought the matter forward last week on the “Consent Agenda”.

The “Contract” had language within it, that allowed for inflationary built in terms, leading to the $21 Million.

Counsilors Neitzert and Starr pulled the items from the Consent Agenda for further public commentary, to discuss the terms and obligations of the Contract, which if approved last Tuesday, was subjected to whether or not the Council apportions future tax dollars to fund the $7,700,000 million additional costs.

The COUNCIL could have denied the extra spending, let alone proceeded to “Investigate” further the public matter.

Last week, the Council voted to “accept” the contract, whereas, this weeks vote was to reward the $7,700,000 million in additional costs.

The MAYOR did nothing wrong, he simply negociated a contract that needed additional spending, subjective to Judicial Review…

The COUNCIL could have used their FULL POWER to delay the extra funding, adopting a resolution to “Investigate Further” placing the Mayor’s Office, the Public Works Department, the Finance Department, and Journey on Public Trial, let alone subpoena requesting evidence, the contract, all needful documents to review the situation.

IF the COUNCIL effectively used its FULL POWERS, this matter could have been handled much differently, drugged out further.

#5 Blasphemo on 01.25.23 at 10:01 am

It’s great that Downtown Sioux Falls (DTSF) has enjoyed a resurgence since being doomed by misguided Urban Renewal & the Phillips Avenue pedestrian mall in the 1970s. But, the resurgence has metastasized at the hands of empire builders and greedy developers. Plenty of fairy dust has been sprinkled on DTSF for now, & it’s time this obsession w/ polishing every inch of DTSF is reigned in. I-29 & I-229, their surface street interchanges, and those major thoroughfares which bring locals & visitors to DTSF – for much of the year are dirty, cratered, weedy/unmowed, littered & a hodge podge of poorly managed commercial development. It’s long past due to allocate more resource$ to the image Sioux Falls presents in far larger public areas of SF outside of DTSF.

#6 Roberta on 01.25.23 at 11:11 am

They just figured this out AFTER the backlash? Anyone could have seen that coming…then again when you’re a rubber stamp for the mayor, one doesn’t have to think.

#7 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 01.25.23 at 1:38 pm

#sweatyselfies

#8 "Woodstock" on 01.25.23 at 1:40 pm

“Say, what should I do?”…. “I just discovered some TOP SECRET classified folders in the back of nest behind my Nancy Sinatra and Burt Bacharach albums”….

#9 Further Fear & Loathing on 01.25.23 at 1:48 pm

“sweaty selfies”?…. That sounds like some smut you could buy on a street corner in NYC…. Newsstand, that is…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPpcfH_HHH8

#10 "Woodstock" on 01.25.23 at 3:05 pm

“Baldwin?”….. (…. “I bet he’s really sweating now”…. )

#11 Steve on 01.25.23 at 7:56 pm

Well written Blasphemo. I agree. Pretty dang accurate!