Entries Tagged 'Employment' ↓

Mayor TenHaken is playing Secret Boss

Instead of doing other people’s jobs, maybe he needs to spend a little time in city hall doing his job? I would really like to see him help the guys in Water Reclamation, oh that’s right, he’s only good at spreading manure, not cleaning it up.

What are the Benefits of Amazon coming to Sioux Falls?

As we have known for several years, Amazon was looking to put a distribution site in our area, it was only a matter of time. We also know, like most businesses that move here, they want handouts, and if there is one thing we love in Sioux Falls and South Dakota is giving out massive amounts of corporate welfare. Flopdation Park has already received around $50 million for infrastructure from the taxpayers. Amazon has received a Federal Grant and now the SF Development Foundation pretty much wants an open ended TIF to attract more businesses. Their argument is always the same, growth for growth’s sake (which I have never understood, because growth only drives up the prices of affordable housing due to infrastructure and public education costs) and JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

So let’s look at the kind of jobs Amazon supplies. Most workers will be pickers that make around $15 to start. So where will Amazon get these workers? I have argued that they will suck from other businesses in town that pay less (and there is quite a few of them) and once that bleeding is done, people will start moving here. I also believe many workers at Smithfield will try to move over to Amazon. So in essence, Amazon will not be depending solely on our current workforce, they will have to do a lot of transfers.

Another reason I think it will be hard for Amazon to fulfill their worker needs is because of a very difficult qualification process, like background checks, drug tests and physical fitness. It will also be interesting to hear what Amazon’s policy on marijuana use (outside of the work place) will be if it becomes legal in our state.

But all of those things aside I think there are a few benefits to bringing Amazon here. First off, they will support many other businesses in town, maybe even create some new ones. I also believe once they start stealing workers from local businesses, it may force some of them to raise their wages to keep people.

Amazon coming to town will have some benefits, but I often am confused by Sioux Falls’ mantra ‘Growth for Growth’s Sake’. Which just ends up costing taxpayers more in infrastructure and public safety and public education while the fat cats get their TIF’s, tax breaks and government grants. Let’s face it, Sioux Falls has just turned into a welfare state for the rich, which is no surprise when it is so cheap for them to buy the city council and mayor’s office.

Let’s Run Mayor TenHaken’s Career Numbers

So Mayor Multi-Task was bragging about this story about Sioux Falls being a great place to start a career. Let’s assume you are single, let’s break down the numbers;

$35,942 Yearly Salary

Minus Taxes (30%)

$25,159

Minus Rent ($811 per month, $9,732)

$15,427

Minus Monthly Expenses

Groc – $200 (only food prepared and ate at home)

Health – $250 (premium)

Utilities – $200 (includes phone)

Car/Transporation – $600 (includes gas/ins/car payment)

-$1,250 per month

Left over per month $35.

Now I will admit that if you own your car, that could save you around $400 a month, but you also have to have maintenance and repairs, gas and insurance.

Basically you would have $35 per month left over for investments, savings, hospitality/entertainment, student loans, health insurance deductible and out of pocket expenses, etc. Sorry, but $35 dollars doesn’t even come close to covering these other expenses. This is why many young single people (and families) have multiple jobs, because they just can’t make it off of $35K a year and pay rent.

I have often felt that rent increases in Sioux Falls have far exceeded wage increases and the city council seriously needs to look at rent controls. But we also need to get wages up in this town. I wonder if Paul would like to live off of $35K a year? Maybe he is hinting we need to change the Mayor’s salary?

Local Union Speaks Out about Smithfield’s treatment of workers

MSNBC: Sioux Falls AFL-CIO President Kooper Caraway

Sioux Falls AFL-CIO President Kooper Caraway spoke with MSNBC about the reopening of facilities in colorado and South Dakota and the conditions the workers are facing.

Posted by AFL-CIO on Sunday, May 3, 2020

SF Biz Q&A with SD Department of Labor Sec. Marcia Hultman

Is it time for the City of Sioux Falls to cut some fat?

I have noticed something over the last few weeks. Seems the city is running just fine with all the city’s pencil pushers (working?) from home. Why is that? We all know why.

Don’t get me wrong, I have seen the police, fire, landfill, council staff, water, streets, parks and public works employees still hard at it. There was even a pothole crew on my street last week. They have to work to help maintain the city’s infrastructure. Thank You!

But what about all the pencil pushers and mostly the mid management? Not a peep. Yet somehow magically our city is still running just fine.

Even at the city council meeting (I think it was Stehly) asked how we could get the furloughed city employees doing something during this crisis. You could have heard a pin drop.

I have argued for years that the city has too many of ‘these’ people. But it’s hard to layoff civil service employees and mid management. But there is a tool they can use to do it effectively and legally; the budget. If the money doesn’t exist to pay salaries, employees have to be cut. It happens all the time in the private sector.

If the city is facing uncertain tax collection they do have the authority to lay off city employees. If the 1st penny (where salaries come from) is significantly less, the council has the power to cut the operations budget which would force the mayor to cut employees.

The first place I would start is mid management. I think our city has way to many of these folks. We pay our directors 6 figures a year, why can’t they be management? Why do they need all of these in between people? I would also start with non resident employees. I have stated for years, if you don’t contribute to Sioux Falls tax base, why should the residents of this city pay your salary, especially if you are management? We have several directors that don’t live in our city or even in our state. It’s ludicrous.

I think once we cut a majority of unneeded management, we may not have to cut the lower end pencil pushers in the city, but I still think many of them need to go to.

I had a guy a couple of years ago who worked in one of these positions for the city, but told me he quit after a few months. He told me that management told him he was too efficient and over achieving too much and basically making his manager look bad.

While I don’t want to see anyone lose their job, the city may be in some dire straits in the next couple of years, and we may have no choice but to cut jobs and we can do it pretty painlessly. But like I said, I would start at the top and work down. The irony is while saving us millions, we may never even see the difference in service. I have argued for a long time that government should only use our taxes for ‘needs’ and not ‘wants’. They may have no choice but to do that.

Thom Hartmann; How billionaires’ short-term greed could upend America and destroy their own wealth

This is an amazing article written during this crisis about the disgusting greed and economic inequality in our country;

The right-wing billionaire definition of “freedom” includes the right to poverty, the right to die without health care, the right to be uneducated and illiterate, and the right to be hungry and homeless. Red states seem to like this, since they repeatedly vote for it; we should let them have it.

In the article Hartman talks about economic recovery from this pandemic will come much faster in blue states than in red (federal welfare) states. This is why our governor, mayor and city council are hesitant to keep people from working, because we are a state where approximately 70% of the work force lives paycheck to paycheck.

Just read this FB rant from Sioux Falls City Councilor Greg Neitzert;

The place where I go to get my hair cut has laid off all of its employees, and they had multiple locations in Sioux Falls.  They may not reopen.  We are talking about dozens of employees, no longer with a job.  They made something like $12-$15 an hour.  They are working class citizens.  Right now moonlighting or starting their own gig is near impossible because the message is to keep social distance, so the client base has dried up.  Behind these statistics are individuals, and families, and children.  All who now have an uncertain future, many of which probably never dreamed to be in this position.  Maybe they qualify for unemployment, maybe they don’t.  Regardless, they are now living with the uncertainty and stress, not knowing when this will end and what their future will be.  I know some of them are single, or divorced, with a child or children.  There is a massive human toll to this, and consequences to their health, both mental and physical, that cannot be understated.  Multiply that thousands of times just in the city of Sioux Falls.  Their careers may have been put on pause (by force), but their needs, for housing, for food, to pay their utilities, to pay car loans, student loans, the needs just to survive, have not.  Imagine the toll on someone who has lost their job, and has no idea when they will get one again, with commitments and needs.  It has to be frightening to say the least.  Maybe some are lucky enough that they have another income in the family and they are still secure.  Maybe some are lucky enough that their jobs can be done at home and they are still secure.  But for thousands in Sioux Falls, that just isn’t the case.  And they are by and large some of our most vulnerable, some who are on edge, without a large emergency fund, who may be living paycheck to paycheck.  They are who are getting demolished.  It is these citizens I also think about, who call me stressed out, sometimes in tears, pleading for help and some assurance of when this will end.  It is on their behalf that I will not simply dismiss the consequences of our virtual shutdown as “just the economy”.  Lives are being destroyed and lost, no matter what we do.  There will be loss of life indirectly from draconian measures, if they continue for an extended period.  Many may be necessary to combat the virus, but we cannot dismiss the collateral damage.  Our policy decisions must balance the health, safety, and well being of all citizens, from the threat of this virus, the loss of livelihood, and the loss of liberty if a government goes too far.  All are important.  Remember again, we cannot stop this virus.  We cannot stop people from getting infected.  Tragically we cannot prevent people from dying.  From the beginning, at all levels of government that sad reality has been something we have had to accept.  The goal and the one thing we can control to some extent is preventing our hospitals from being overloaded when we hit the peak surge of infections.  The goal from the beginning from the federal level all the way down to the city level is to keep that surge from overloading our bed, staff, and ventilator capacity.  We cannot prevent all fatalities, but we can prevent unnecessary ones from lack of resources if we mitigate the spread enough to keep the surge manageable.  That’s been the goal.  We are accomplishing that because citizens have stepped up and made sacrifices to help each other.  In most cases we’ve simply had to ask, without a law or penalty attached.  Without a vaccine, simply locking everyone in their homes for weeks or months on end will not stop the spread, or prevent fatalities, it will only delay the inevitable spread, at the immeasurable cost of destroying our economy and the lives of the people who make it up.  That’s why our response has to be dynamic, proportional, and measured.  Finally, remember there are countless variables in modeling and projecting this.  Our epidemiologists at Sanford and Avera concede this, there are a number of variables you have to plug in, and its based on educated guesses and averages.  None of us knows what the right decision is with certainty.  We are all doing our absolute best, with the weight of the fact that lives could be in our hands with every decision we make.  Perhaps some years down the road looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, we might know if at each point we got it right or wrong.  Unfortunately that knowledge and certainty in real time is beyond our pay grade as humans with imperfect knowledge and an inability to see into the future.  We’re doing our best, and we feel the weight of our decisions daily.  I certainly do.

If we actually paid people living wages in our city, a few weeks off, even a month, would be just a hiccup in the road. So I ask Greg, and all of our local leadership(?) what have you done during your elected term to bring better wages and affordable housing to our city. I’ll give you the short answer; NOT A DAMN THING! He should of titled his post ‘Crocodile Tears’.

Mayor TenHaken, “I didn’t sign up for this.”

At the afternoon press conference today (video above) when Paul was asked how Noem is doing with leadership on this issue he told a reporter ‘I didn’t sign up for this’. Last night on FB (video below) he complained about open meeting laws (24 hour notice of meetings) and said he could get more done if he didn’t have to bother with that notice.

Actually, Paul, you could get a lot more done if you would just lead. Under the Charter you have the duty and responsibility to manage the affairs of the city, you don’t need to notice anyone. After almost two years as our mayor you don’t understand leadership, our charter or our open meeting laws. Why is this? Because one of the first things Mayor Selfie did was give executive authority to his COS, Erica Beck, who has been running the city while he has been jettsetting all over the country and world. Hey Paul, you ran to be our mayor, the city manager, didn’t you know what that all entailed? Apparently not.

He also complained in the this afternoon’s press conference that he was tired of employees calling him to complain about their employer. He basically said that wasn’t his job to tell them what to do. Yet, he doesn’t seem to have a problem with telling employers how to recruit mentors or donate money to a rental relief slush fund.

See, folks, Paul does understand one thing, it is a right to work state where people don’t have worker rights do to the lack of widespread organized labor. I agree with Paul, stop calling him, he isn’t going to do anything for you, he has proven that over the past few weeks. I suggest you contact OSHA if you think your employer is endangering your health;

Sioux Falls Area Office Sheila Stanley, Area Director U. S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration 4404 South Technology Drive
Sioux Falls,  SD 57106

 (605) 361-9566 
 (605) 361-9652

I personally was required to study Marty for over a year for my confirmation classes, and one lesson that Paul should learn from him is that Marty was a great leader who in the face of adversity and crisis in the failed leadership of the Catholic Church didn’t back down to that challenge. If you want to quote Marty, maybe this one will suit you better (it’s from the other Marty)

I have been suggesting since 2016 that City of Sioux Falls administrative staff work from home

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.

Lots of jobs in Sioux Falls

Now if we can work on wage collusion, living wages and right to work laws, we just might just deserve to be on this list.