Nothing more disheartening then when government entities bring in hired guns and after the smoke clears they leave for greener pastures;

The South Dakota Board of Regents CEO and Director, Brian Maher, has been selected as a finalist for the next Nebraska Commissioner of Education.

Maher was with us in South Dakota for almost 8 years and in his two positions he has left quite the impact. He was rumored to have been brought in to get the school bond passed ($300 million bond debt). You remember that one with hand counting by district employees and computer tabulation input by administrators.

I hope the Nebraska board of education takes a deep dive into Maher’s history in South Dakota; saddling Sioux Falls residents with millions in debt and leaving the SDBOR in cultural disarray. Seems like some good resume builders. You also wonder what kind of pension, if any, Maher will be receiving from either the SFSD or the SDBOR (he may not be getting anything besides his salary, maybe something the media should look into).

Well at least he isn’t moving to California 🙁

Apparently the city of Sioux Falls didn’t have Booze Cart Fridays

It seemed everywhere you looked in 2019 in Sioux Falls (and in South Dakota) there were quitters. Whether that was several restaurants closing or the proposed closure of the Sioux Falls Canaries Stadium and Arena, it was the year of the quitter.

Let’s look at some of our local government quitters.

First, on a state level, Stace Nelson threw in the towel due to a combination of health issues and the corruption. Noem’s staff has been quitting at a breakneck speed. You can tell why she is so proud of her relationship with Donald Trump because they are cut from the same cloth. Do and say stupid things and your staff quits. Go figure.

In Sioux Falls we had some communication issues. Mostly with Mayor TenHaken not figuring out how to communicate with the public or the media. His police chief also has that issue (unless he needs to implement a fee on non-profits for festivals). Speaking of that, apparently the city is no longer going to assist with these festivals for free. More quitters.

Mayor Paul has also quit plowing the streets as much and ‘tried’ to quit using city employees for storm cleanup (but perfectly okay to pay them to put up Christmas lights at Falls Park).

We also can’t forget who has personally quit this year, with little rhyme or reason. Paula Hawks (Dem Chair), Aaron McGowan (State’s Attorney), Jason Reisdorfer (Innovative Drinker), and Brian Maher (SFSD Super). Heck even Marty Jackley quit his private law practice (oh and he quit his marriage to);

On October 18, 2019, Marty and Angela were divorced citing irreconcilable differences.

This is why I am flagging 2019 as the year of the quitter. Now if we can just get our president to quit. Come on Donnie, you only have a couple more hours – do the right thing.

I’m not surprised, in fact I think I just rolled my eyes when I read the news;

Sioux Falls School Superintendent Brian Maher is resigning, effective June of next year.

Dr. Maher has been leading the Sioux Falls School District for five years.

One of his biggest highlights was shepherding the passage of the $190 million school bond issue, the state’s largest.

I have heard rumors during his tenure he was hired to get the bond issue passed. While that part is obvious, I never realized he would leave so suddenly after that. So we paid him well over $1 million dollars (in 5 years) to straddle us with $300 million in debt and interest than he trots out the door. Mission accomplished.

While he says he ‘may’ not leave Sioux Falls, I wouldn’t be so sure. It took a lot to convince him to come here, and I get the feeling he really hasn’t embraced the community as much as he wanted to. I don’t fault him for that. Everyone has a sense of ‘home’ and if he feels like he needs to leave, who am I to stop him.

But what bothers me the most is how it seems he was brought in to get the job done – which he did, than leaves in a cloud of smoke. Public service really isn’t what it used to be – it seems their only mission these days is to raise our taxes and leave it to the taxpayers to figure out how to manage it.

When Lalley was asking Brian today about moving the school bond issue to the General Election to save taxpayers money on a stand alone special election, Brian went with the old standby argument that their budget must be turned into the state by September 30. Than Lalley asks, “But you could amend it after September?” and Brian says, “Yes.” Lalley also talks about how stand alone elections are expensive, he guesses $100K. Actually, if you do an entire city election, using ALL the precincts, it would be around $60-$80k. If they were to do it with the general, it probably wouldn’t barely cost them $20K.

When Lalley asked Maher about what kind of election would it be, whether it would be super precincts or NOT, Brian dodged the question and said that was up to the school board.

Make no mistake, they want a super precinct stand alone election to control the electorate, even though I still don’t understand how that will work. I still think it has a better chance of passage during the general.

Maher also said that the $190 million bond will be for 25 years. But when asked what the final cost of the bond would be, he said that he “Didn’t have that number.”

WOW! You are trying to sell the community on this bond and you don’t have the payoff amount? Poppycock! You know exactly what it is, and that is why you won’t give the public or the media that number.

Brian did say they were hoping for a 4% rate. If that was the case, that would put interest and principal at around $95 million, which would put the bond at about $285 Million payoff.

Maher also kept trying to sell us on the $2 a month tax increase without talking about the taxes compounding each year.


I asked Commissioner Barth this today when he told me about the possible County opt-out. I said, “Why is it that the county has to build a jail the same time the school district has to build schools at the same time the city wants to upgrade the water treatment plant? Can’t we spread this out over 4-5 years?”


I guess city officials have been throwing the 5,000 a year growth number out a lot when talking about the the new treatment plant. What they are NOT doing is saying where that number came from (the former mayor’s butt) and it’s breakdown. In other words, how many NEW workers are we seeing in Sioux Falls each year compared to new births and retirees? Also, I would like to know what percentage of our treatment plant is used for outlying towns that are paying us to treat their water? Why not double their rates instead? This would encourage them to either help pay for our expansion, or force them to build their own, which would increase our ability to treat more SF sewage.

When you see stuff like this, you really wonder where we went wrong with our local elected officials;

Doug Morrison, who served on the school board for the last nine years, decided not to run for re-election earlier this year, and now he’s gearing up to take on an administrative role with the school district.

About three weeks after his last board meeting at the end of June, Superintendent Brian Maher offered him an administrative position in research and development.

Before making that offer, Maher checked with legal counsel to ensure he wasn’t violating district policies. He said he expected scrutiny for hiring a former board member, but he said Morrison was the best candidate for the job.

Hey Brian, does it really matter if he is ‘breaking policy’ or not? What about the appearance of putting on a gigantic golden parachute and jumping off the roof of the IPC roof? If Morrison, or for that matter, yourself had any ethics or integrity in this matter, you can see why there SHOULD BE SCRUTINY.

What makes this even more troubling is that there were 29 other applicants;

It would have been easy to pick another of the 29 applicants for the job to avoid scrutiny, Maher said, but he saw Morrison as the best candidate.

Are you telling me that there wasn’t even ONE candidate in that pool that couldn’t do the same job as Morrison? NOT A SINGLE ONE? C’MON!

“Doug’s interest in the position did not influence the creation of the position, the job description or the selection,” Maher said.

Keep telling yourself that Brian, if that’s what helps you sleep better at night. The rest of us are very restless about this selection.

*Cory points out that they are already listing Morrison as a school district employee BEFORE the school board has approved that employment.