Entries Tagged 'County Commission' ↓

Metro 911 meeting this morning

According to councilor Stehly on FB and local media;

Happening Now: Metro 911 wants $9-11 Million for a new facility vs $6-8 Million to remodel. Unfortunately,the meeting was not recorded.

She also told me that she was chastised at the meeting by another city councilor for posting that information on FB. This was a public meeting, so I’m not sure why that was an issue? Oh, because without the media there they can try to keep people in the dark. I’m not sure why our public officials like secrecy so much. I have often argued that if you keep the public informed from the beginning they can never come back and say ‘You never told us about this.’ That is why the Bunker Ramp has been such a disaster, too many behind closed door deals.

Well looky there, a quorum of leaders in a public building, wouldn’t that be considered a ‘public meeting’?

How does an elected official get a severance when they resign?

I haven’t posted about the resignation of Minnehaha County State’s Attorney because I knew many news agencies would cover this and I was waiting for all the details available to me.

But what I don’t understand is ‘why’ would we give an elected official a payout to resign? First off, even if nothing was done wrong (let’s say he is leaving because of health issues – which is part of it) why would he need a payout for that? I’m sure his health issues are covered by his insurance.

But secondly, if he has done something wrong (The Public Assurance Alliance, the AG and the Commission are all investigating him for sexual harassment and other things) why would we pay him to NOT sue the taxpayers?

Some on the MCC (I’ve heard) have argued the payout is a lot cheaper then fighting a lawsuit, which on it’s face is probably true. But why would he be suing the taxpayers? If you are accused of wrongdoing, it would be your responsibility to pay for your defense – whether you are found guilty or not. He could sue later for being falsely accused, but would he?

Am I missing something here?

Then there is his staff members who didn’t report this to the MCC. Why?

But lastly, as I have said before, where was the MCC when McGowan was asking for all this extra funding? Wouldn’t they want to audit his department and see if everything was on the up and up?*

This was a failure of government on many levels. Government employees failed us, elected officials failed us (Both State and County) and the State’s Attorney failed us.

Has the MCC commission learned anything from the fairgrounds fiasco and embezzlement? We pay each member of the MCC around $25K a year as part-time officials. Is this not enough money to do their jobs? Maybe that is the real fraud here. Paying an elected body who are consistently in the dark because apparently their heads are stuffed somewhere, I’ll let you take your guesses.

Maybe this is why the MCC is consistently non-transparent, maybe because they don’t even know what is going on?

*Cindy Heiberger is the liaison for the State’s attorney’s office.

VILE comments about Councilor Stehly on FB

During the joint Minnehaha County/Sioux Falls City Council Meeting yesterday, Councilor Stehly suggested that we need more mobile home parks in Sioux Falls. I have heard Stehly talk about this in the past. What she is essentially saying is we need to promote more affordable housing solutions for people in Sioux Falls. Whether that is mobile homes, tiny homes, smaller manufactured homes, etc. A new, modest family home in Sioux Falls will run you well over $250K. Other affordable pre-owned housing will run you around $150K, but those houses are few and far between in Sioux Falls. One reason is we allow the major developers and hospitals run the planning department. They admitted to it when I attended the Citizen Planning Academy a few years ago when an attendee asked why Sanford Hospital is allowed to tear up these affordable neighborhoods, the answer was it came down to ‘money’. They have a lot of it, so they get to do what they want to. Many people are being ‘priced out’ of housing in Sioux Falls, and all Stehly was asking for is options.

That didn’t stop this frequent commenter and A-Rod on Pitty Patt’s blog to comment on FB that suggesting more mobile homes or other affordable housing is ‘Stupid’. I just want to tell ‘Troy’ that the only thing that is ‘stupid’ is the greed of people like him. I can tell you why contractors are not building affordable housing in Sioux Falls – there’s no excessive profit in it.

Speaking of ‘Dead Jensen’ (My new nickname for him) his all knowing treasurer, Paulson, sent out this fundraising email the other day;

Good afternoon –

Over the last couple of years, I’ve become increasingly interested in local political issues. Your local city and county governments have a significantly higher influence on your day-to-day life than your state or federal government. They maintain infrastructure, build public amenities such as parks and bike trails and foster future economic development. Because of the role local government plays in our lives, I think it’s incredibly important to have a solid mayor, city council and county commissioners. 

This election cycle, I am backing candidates in Sioux Falls that will support future growth in the city, work collaboratively with stakeholders across government and private industry and put the best interests of the community first. Specifically, I have agreed to serve as the campaign treasurer for Alex Jensen who is running for the At Large position (currently held by Theresa Stehly) in next Spring’s city council election.

Alex is one of the most positive, sharp and community-minded people I know and he will be a fantastic addition to the city council. He and his wife Nikki just welcomed a son (Jack) into the world. Alex works as a business banker for First Premier and has volunteered with the YMCA, Junior Achievement, the Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire and Faith Lutheran Church. He previously served in the state legislature where he voted to increase teacher pay, provide property tax relief and implement a new roads and infrastructure plan. 

There aren’t many politicians I get excited about, but Alex is one of the good ones. Alex hopes to reach every voter in Sioux Falls with his “positive and proven” message. I plan to give my all over the next five months to help get him elected and hope that you will consider helping too. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

Matthew Paulson

I think it will be funny if ‘Dead Jensen’ raises and spends $100K+ and Stehly decides NOT to run. It will show that apparently it costs $100K in Sioux Falls to just get on the city council without a competitor.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • Nov 26, 2019

Informational Meeting • 4 PM

Alcohol Licensing Changes by Councilor Christine M. Erickson

LINK TO PRESENTATION

Joint Minnehaha County Meeting • 5 PM

Presentation on Housing Advisory Board Brief and Review of the Augustana Research Institute Study – Marshall Selberg, Suzie Smith, and Chellee Unruh

LINK TO STUDY

Monday Transit Meeting

While the Minnehaha County Commission cries about monthly financial reports they ignore justice

So the CC picks their boogers and wonders why Pammy can’t give them something (they should have asked for) but they don’t question the State’s Attorney about why he doesn’t prosecute cases? Then CC Barth said this;

“It’ll make a difference for me,” he said. “I’m not inclined to subsidize inaction. I’m also thinking about the issues that were touched on in the attorney general’s investigation. His lack of openness toward the issue makes it so he should consider not running. If you’re going to live in the political eye, you don’t live under a blanket.”

Many people have reached out to me about this. They have all said the same, “Should the County Commission have known this was going on?” apparently not. It reminds of when the Sioux Empire Fair lady was taking money. We pay county commissioners to be the checks and balances against this kind of corruption yet they don’t say anything until it explodes in their faces. Fraud. Financials. Addiction issues. Then they bitch, and scold, and have temper tantrums. You are asked by citizens to watch this stuff, and when the toilet overflows you blame the turd instead of blaming the crap you ate last night. Pay attention already! It is your job, it is your ONLY job! Represent us! Dig hard! And hold people accountable.

UPDATE: Chicken Little shows up to the Minnehaha County Commission meeting

UPDATE: Audit report starts at 26:30

For the record, I did NOT attend the MCC meeting this morning, and since it takes them several days to the load the meeting to YouTube (something that should take like an hour) I haven’t seen it yet, so I am going by what is written in this story;

The audit looked at July to August 2018, around the time the treasurer’s office began revamping their efforts to catch up on the statements. It found that the county’s internal controls over cash management and reconciliation management were “inadequate, resulting in diminished assurance that county’s financial transactions were properly recorded and its assets were adequately safeguarded.” A treasurer’s daily balance book hasn’t been maintained since July 2018, either. 

“A significant deficiency is not acceptable,” Beninga said. “Not only does it affect the county, but it affects the school system and the city and the cash flow related issues.”

I will agree that this is troubling, and Treasurer Nelson should do a better job, but I have to take her side on this for a couple of reasons. First off, Nelson has asked for more staff several times, while the State’s Attorney can skip work for two months without an initial explanation while turning around and asking for more help and more money for his department while we bond for a bigger jail, Nelson’s workload has gotten bigger. As Beninga mentions above, she has a lot of taxes to manage. The property valuation of the SFSD alone is $11 Billion folks. You can’t do that job with a shoestring staff, and how Nelson has managed without more SNAFU’s is beyond me.

But where I don’t get is the ‘Sky is Falling’ attitude towards the situation;

The audit did not find any missing money, Schaefer said. He ended up with a balance of $2,868 more than what county budget showed. 

So if ‘no money is missing’ what’s the beef? It kind of sounds like the MCC is failing to be a partner with Nelson in alleviating these issues;

Schaefer recommended commissioners take some action on making sure the reports reach their desks. 

“You have to have due diligence to get the reconciliation process done,” he said. “Someone has to be responsible for that.”

In other words, make sure you are doing your job and asking for the reports, and when Nelson asks for more help give it to her.


Metro 911 has no emergency backup facility

During the joint Minnehaha County Commission/Sioux Falls city council meeting they had a budget presentation by Metro 911 (they jointly fund the facility). I was shocked to hear councilor Kiley say they don’t have an emergency backup facility (in case something were to destroy or close the current facility like a natural disaster, they have no other place to perform duties). Kiley brought this up because they are budgeting for a backup center (so that is good). They are also adding 4 new employees.

I can’t believe a city this size doesn’t have a backup 911 and they continually short staff them. I have also heard that the SFPD is about 16 officers short. This is what happens folks when we blow all our capital on play palaces, emergency services suffer.

Minnehaha CC Barth is tired of gun violence

FF 24:00

Minnehaha County Treasurer Nelson gets butt chewed by the commission

The MCC decided to chew Pam’s butt yesterday because her office is behind on some tax collections/audits. While I can understand their frustration with the issue, they are the ones who bought inferior software for the treasurer’s office to begin with AND I kind of wondered why they didn’t ask sooner if they weren’t getting the monthly reports?

But what was even more frustrating is watching the mostly Republican commissioners bitch about other things going on in Pam’s office (who is a Democrat). While they had a legitimate concern over the tax collections, dragging the other topics out wasn’t necessary, it’s the same old, ‘the lines are too long, blah, blah, blah. People need to understand that their are other ways to get your tags. You can mail them in (I do that), you can use a kiosk, or you can do it online, but as Pam said, older people prefer to do it face to face. Old habits are hard to break.

And as I told a MC Commissioner, “Pam is elected just like you. You can ‘ASK’ her to fix something, but you can’t DEMAND her to do it.” If I was Pam, I would have responded with the line from ‘A Few Good Men’ where Jack tells Cruise, “But your’e gonna have to ask nicely.”

Minnehaha County introduces new show?

I guess I have never seen this show before, so it must be something new.

Here is Inside Town Hall with 4 city councilors. When they talked about the Levitt I wanted to clap when the host, Madeline Shields said that there is ‘plenty of parking’ for the Levitt. Amen!