I originally requested this settlement in the middle of July and it wasn’t finalized until the end of that month. I received the settlement yesterday after I re-requested it from the city attorney’s office; ENTIRE DOCUMENT

As you can see below the city will receive a settlement even though all parties involved have agreed to ‘no fault’.

Geothermal systems work when they are installed properly and can save the users a lot of money in energy costs. What is NOT in this settlement is the cost to install a whole new traditional chiller system, the massive amount of water that was lost when it malfunctioned and the energy costs the city will now have to incur due to the more traditional HVAC system and our legal fees (which probably equals half of the settlement).

They got off easy. Too easy.

What is even more troubling is that an assistant city clerk and the chief of staff signed off the settlement. More sloppy legal documents. Tom and Paul must have been too busy enjoying Father’s Day in a remote location to sign off on the agreement. Was it gay pride weekend?

It would be nice to know the true price tag this screwup cost taxpayers. We may never know. It is also interesting to see that KHA is once again involved with a settlement for bad consulting (Events Center siding debacle).

One of my biggest arguments against building a new administrative building was that many city employees who do administrative duties could work from home and would probably save the city millions of dollars a year.

Many of my friends have worked from home for years. In 2009 I used to work for a financial company as the Creative Director, before we closed due to asset selloff, I was preparing to work from home 3 days a week, and was excited about the possibility.

Even farther back than that, when Governor Rounds was being ribbed about having a state airline fleet, it was suggested to him to do more teleconferencing instead of flying places for meetings.

I also find it ironic that the mayor has been urging employers to have employees to work from home when he has done similar to Rounds and has flown all over the country and even the world for ‘meetings’ he could have done via Skype from the comfort of his office, also saving tax dollars.

I hope if something good comes from this pandemic, it is that employers invest in having their employees work from home. Not only is it less stressful and makes employees happier, it would save millions in capital expenses such as large facilities to house these people. It would also save the employees money because many would not have to get expensive childcare. And happier employees have less health problems.

Working from home is a great idea that has been going on for decades in this country, it’s time to expand this option to more workers in our community. It will keep people safer, it will save money and more importantly it will save jobs. It’s too bad it took a horrible pandemic to get employers to look at this option.

At Tuesday’s Sioux Falls City Council meeting, councilor Kiley argued that they shouldn’t put the IT expansion project out for bid because the delay would end up costing taxpayers more money. Pulling a crystal ball from his rear aside, that is not always the case.

Back in 2008, the city faced a similar dilemma, a bid was handed over to a contractor to replace the windows on the Pavilion, the problem was that when the Pavilion’s Operations Director turned the bid into the city, he realized later that he forgot to include labor and would have to resubmit the bid.

The controversy caused by this error got the attention of the media, so a lot more contractors bid on the project the second time around.

The city saved over $300K by resubmitting the project, in fact they had to amend the 2009 CIP budget to reflect the cost savings;

Improvements, by deleting $300,000 in year 2009 for windows (CIP p. 2-145).

We have NO IDEA if we are getting a ‘deal’ on the IT expansion because we never put it out for bid. And I can guarantee if it is put out for bid ‘after the fact’ there would be someone who would come in under $1.5 Million.

Open bids save tax dollars, and for councilor Kiley to say otherwise is just ludicrous and ignorant.

For some odd ball reason the contract was NEVER closed with the admin building, it’s been 18 MONTHS! So now we want to AMEND the contract so the same contractor who hasn’t reimbursed us for the failed geo thermal system can expand the building for the new IT space without putting it out to bid.

Councilor Starr brought up some good points, shouldn’t this be put out for bid and close the first contract? He never said he was against the Triage Center, in fact he supports it. That didn’t stop Kiley and Erickson from trying to twist that Pat was against the Triage Center. That IS NOT what he said, he just wanted the old contract closed (with a contractor who may or may not owe us money – that is still in litigation) and an RFP put out for the expansion.

Nice performance though.

Kiley even went as far to say that another contractor could NOT do the job because they wouldn’t have the building plans from the original contractor. I know Mr. Rick ‘Know it All’ Kiley has probably built a couple of houses for himself, guess what, the entity paying for the construction OWNS THE PLANS! In other words, if another contractor came in to work on the expansion, the city simply has to hand over to them the plans, because it is the property of the taxpayers, BUT, they have to close the original contract first.

UPDATE: I heard after the meeting that the architect copyrighted the plans, so the city has to ask for permission to use them. But, there would be no reason to use plans for a building that is already built. A NEW contractor would draw up NEW plans, because it is a NEW expansion.

Neitzert basically said that we got the building because the other side lost and we need to stop being sore losers. Hey Greg, this isn’t about losing, we can tell the building is already there, that’s obvious McFly, we are asking to FOLLOW the proper procedures, like clearing litigation and putting out an RFP.

City Attorney Bengford came up and basically said they are taking the easy road instead of the right road. At least he was being honest.

Erickson went on to talk about funding (even though that is NOT what the discussion is about) Neither Stehly, Starr or Brekke asked about HOW it is being funded, and NONE of them said they were opposed to it, it is about the litigation.

Kiley said that it would just delay the process six months and it will only cost us more money. Hey Rickey Lee, HOW DO WE KNOW THAT when we never put this out for bid? I fondly remembered the new window replacement on the Pavilion that had to be put out for re-bid, and another contractor came in about $300K less. 

Funny how those things work.

Of course it passes 6-2 with Starr and Stehly opposed*. And once again the majority of the council is fine with not following proper procedures. Shocker!

*Brekke voted for it because she got to see the contract in advance and said it was legal. But Janet, was it proper or ethical?

Maybe it was a ‘Human Error’ like the tornado sirens?

The mayor’s office confirmed Monday that a cap on a water line for a water cooler in the second floor of the 18-month-old city administration building failed, causing between 750 and 1,000 gallons of water to flood the southeast corner of the building’s second floor before it was noticed.

So now we have the HVAC system litigation in limbo with the CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk) who may be responsible for installing a geo thermal system that didn’t work. Now we have a major water leak, with no viable detection system.

So why on earth would we want to hire the same CMAR to expand the IT department in the building?! 

It would be like hiring the same plumber to install a bathtub after he installed a leaky toilet. NO private homeowner would do such a thing, so why would the city?