Entries Tagged 'Employment' ↓

UPDATE II: Is Mayor TenHaken considering City Employee Retention Bonuses?

UPDATE II: Today I heard chatter that the city employees have been openly talking about the bonus they may receive and many are happy with it. One employee mentioned this recently happened in Rapid City;

After two failed motions by the Rapid City Council Monday, 430 city employees will receive $500 in COVID-19 bonuses.

The Rapid City Council voted 6-4 to approve the bonuses for non-public safety employees who worked during the pandemic in 2020. 

Notice they are calling this a Covid bonus. I can see why it almost didn’t pass. While Sioux Falls virtually had NO shut down in the private sector a large portion of Sioux Falls city employees were allowed to work from home.

I also find it ironic that Mayor Poops is considering such a bonus (like Rapid City) after receiving this endorsement;

In the police briefing today it was mentioned that new recruits would get a hiring bonus. I am not opposed to this, because it is a normal practice for the private and public sector to offer hiring bonuses.

But it got me thinking. I thought I heard TenHaken talk about this recently;

“Our city employees are seeing the bonuses and incentives and work-from-home opportunities and every kitchen sink being thrown at employees … so we have to continue looking at how we’re being aggressive in retaining our people and making us an employer of choice,” he said. “We have to get serious about how to compete with the private sector. I have a lot of unfilled positions causing stress for the city.”

First off, besides the corner of 8th & Indiana and a couple dozen panhandlers, the city is running just fine. If we are short on city staff, it certainly isn’t being seen. Day to day operations are not any different then pre-covid.

I don’t know how the city could possibly give retention bonuses. I don’t think it has ever been done before. It would also be a troubling move for the city union(s) to accept a bonus instead of a raise. A bonus is a one time payment that really doesn’t do much to advance your salary. Every year the city council rubber stamps a property tax increase by a certain percentage, and based on their argument this is good because that compounds over the years. Raises also work that way. It would be much better for city employees to negotiate a permanent pay increase instead of a lousy stimulus check from the city and signed by Poops.

I also don’t think it is appropriate to give retention bonuses to current city employees. Studies have shown that current city employees are already some of the best paid in the region AND further more, the city is not a for-profit institution. What would this bonus be based on? Tax collection? Which is also concerning because that means we are collecting too much if we have money to throw around for bonuses to employees who are only measured by their service instead of profits. Also consider around 30% of city employees don’t even live in Sioux Falls or contribute to the tax base.

Further more, where are we at with tax collection last year? Does the mayor have some kind of inside information he is not sharing with the public and a bucket of money he can just throw at the city employees. Why not spend the money on fixing more infrastructure?

But the biggest red flag is the ethics of giving out bonuses right before a city election. It is nothing else but a huge bribe for the city employees who are eligible to vote in April. I’m not even sure that is legal?

If any of this is true (who knows with all the babbling Paul does in the interview), I encourage the Unions to reject the bonus and ask to go back into negotiations for a percentage increase instead and throw this bribe back in Poops face.

UPDATE: This was just posted on the SF City Council agenda for Tuesday informational. So there must be something going on? Bonus or Raise? We will see.

*Some of my city hall moles have told me there is something else brewing. I guess there was some secretive meetings held this week with (some select) councilors and directors in Poops Quarters about some kind private/public partnership with developers and a possible higher education institution. Probably to assist TenHaken’s Tool Team at DSU? 🙂

Living Wage in South Dakota should be at $22.50 per hour

I have been advocating for a long time that living wage in South Dakota, especially Sioux Falls should probably be nipping the heels of $20.00 per hour, imagine my surprise when this report came out;

This means that of the 50 states, (Puerto Rico and D.C. are not included) South Dakota is one which costs the least to survive in. But how does a $9.95 minimum wage match up to a $45,000 living wage?

Assuming a 40-hour work week, and 50 working weeks per year, a $9.95 wage comes to $19,900 per year. To match the living wage for South Dakota, the minimum wage would need to rise to $22.50/hour.

Our cost of living adjustments are also very high (notice housing);

While we have a governor who blabs about liberty and freedom and a mayor who decries ‘wage inflation’ you can tell the reality is that we lag very far behind and don’t look to their supposed leadership to help the situation. It’s time to start electing representation that wants to make changes instead of coddle the business elites, hospital industrial complex, and welfare developers.

Mayor Poops now wants to be Senator Poops

Who says PTH can’t handle leadership? In 11 short minutes he lays it on thick of what he would do if he were Senator on the Belfrage show today. He said if he was a senator he could NOT support the Build Back Better plan because the money isn’t being appropriated correctly and will only increase inflation. This coming from a guy who spends tax dollars and covid money on TIF rebates for low wage egg roll factories, parking ramps, condos, butterflies, tennis courts, ice rinks and seating for a private non-profit movie theater all the while asking for a 30% raise. Yeah, what a fiscal conservative!

He also says that we need more childcare in Sioux Falls, But look what is in that evil BBB Bill;

The bill directs money to providing free universal preschool for all three and four year olds, which the White House has dubbed the largest expansion in education programs since the creation of public high school.

He also complains that businesses can’t just keep giving raises to compete for workforce claiming that is unsustainable and calls it ‘wage inflation’. Ok, Mayor Tightwad, what’s next, an $10 an hour work mandate? When wages go up, those workers spend more money which equals a better local economy unlike the businesses who employee these folks sending the profits back to communist countries tax free and never circulating in our local economy. He really needs to stop hanging out in his garage rearranging his medals and trucker hats and needs to take a basic econ course.

In fact the bill also has solutions for affordable housing, something he can’t seem to grasp;

Increased spending on housing affordability will go towards building more than 1 million new rental and single-family homes. The bill aims to reduce cost pressures by providing rental and down payment assistance through an expanded voucher program.

It seems Poops needs to figure out how to run a city before he aspires to be Thune Jr.

While Hospital Execs walk away with millions in South Dakota nurses are paid nearly dead last

This of course has been going on for a very long time;

South Dakota nurses are paid the second worst, on average, in the nation.
That’s according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The average South Dakota nurse is paid nearly $61,000.
California nurses are the highest-paid.
They make, on average, nearly $121,000 a year.

Every time I hear someone bring up teacher pay, I often remind them that most middle-class professions in South Dakota pay about the same in South Dakota, dead last. Ironically, it seems exec/nurse salaries fall in line with admin/teacher pay in South Dakota. Pay those at the top as much as possible and throw crumbs to the rest of the minions.

Until we actually elect a ‘peoples’ legislature that will re-legislate employee/worker rights we will be a slave to these kind of wages. I also find it ironic that this story didn’t come out right after hospital execs walked away with millions for quitting.

Also notice that almost ALL of the bottom 25 in pay are RED STATES! I know, SHOCKER! Cheap ASS trickle down policies. It’s a good thing states like California can subsidize our nurses with Federal benefits like SNAP, subsidized housing and Medicade so the executives can walk away with millions in South Dakota.

South Dakota Retailers Association’s Bonehead idea

What a great idea! NOT!

Move to South Dakota, work at a designated retail business, and receive $1,000 cash.
That’s the premise of a new incentive from the South Dakota Retailers Association designed to address the workforce shortage in retail, restaurants, hospitality, grocery, trades and many other businesses.
Individuals from out of state who come to work in South Dakota can qualify to receive a $1,000 cash payment that would supplement any hiring bonuses or other incentives offered by an individual business.


It’s been awhile since I have taken a swipe at the SDRA, but this one is almost too easy. Who would move to South Dakota at the beginning of winter to take a no benefits part-time job that pays half of minimum wage (if you are a server) for a $1,000 bonus you don’t get for another 6 months? WTF? When I first read this, I thought maybe it was some kind of joke.

I have argued for a long time that the hospitality industry in South Dakota and across the country should offer at least a buy in to health benefits even if you are part-time. They should also offer PTO and compensate ALL tipped employees the full minimum wage. Minnesota did this several years ago and it hasn’t hurt the industry one bit, some would argue it has improved it.

As I told an elected official yesterday, “The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough hospitality workers in Sioux Falls, the problem is we have to many mediocre restaurants.” You know as well as I do that 99% of eating establishments in Sioux Falls are below average, not just on food quality, but service and price point. Maybe the solution to our problem is to have restaurants that pay their workers well ALL YEAR LONG, offer benefits and in return we will get a better experience as a consumer. But like most things in good old Sodak, it is about the greed of the business owner while the employee and the consumer are left in the dust.

‘Small’ Sioux Falls Business owner says he can’t afford to pay more than $12 per/hr

When I hear these kind of cry baby stories I kind of roll my eyes;

While the average non-management wage was $12, “I can’t afford to pay teenagers $15 or $16 an hour – and they’re going to those jobs – unless I want to raise the price of pizzas by $2,” Porter said. “It gets to the point where it’s a whole to do for not much because it sucks all the profit out. The small guys are getting killed because we can’t afford to pay these large wages.”

Well maybe you need to charge more for your pizza and make a better pizza? Mr. Porter calls himself a small guy. That’s interesting since he owns around 6 fast casual restaurants in Sioux Falls and has a home valued at $600K. Yeah, real small potatoes.

A survey of restaurant workers done in the second quarter by Black Box Intelligence found several factors behind employees who quit their restaurant roles.

More than two-thirds of current and former restaurant workers said disrespect from customers is a factor in the labor shortage.

Nearly half said emotional abuse from managers contributed to their decision to stay or leave, with 15 percent saying they were sexually harassed by managers or co-workers, while another 15 percent said they were sexually harassed by customers.

I would agree that management in the hospitality industry in Sioux Falls is something to be desired. But that is the problem with a right to work state, business owners have full control of you as an employee instead of the other way around. This is why Noem does NOT support mandating businesses because she knows it would throw a wrench in our worthless right to work laws. This is about her protecting the ruling class NOT individual employee rights. If workers had more rights in South Dakota, ‘small’ businesses would have no problem finding workers, oh, and you really need to pay more.

Most employers in South Dakota CAN mandate vaccinations

There has been a lot of back and forth in South Dakota about all of our FREEDOM and LIBERTY that our Box of Rocks Governor has been spouting about, and how she doesn’t support mandates. Unfortunately, Noem has no authority when it comes to private employer mandates. The state legislature would have to change state law in order to prohibit private employer mandates;

Employment relationships in South Dakota may be ‘terminated at will,’ which means an employer does not need a specific reason to fire an employee. This is the same concept as an employee not needing a specific reason to quit a job. Generally, the only exceptions to this rule are when: A contract for employment exists.

Of course, you do have the option to quit if you don’t want to get vaccinated, but you can’t prevent your employer from mandating it and neither can the governor. When authoritarians talk about all the FREEDOM we have here, they are referring to the ruling class, NOT us.

My suggestion is to just go get a shot or a doctor’s note if you are too high risk to get one and you don’t have to worry about your employer mandating it.

Low wages in South Dakota? Get out!

As if this story is ground breaking. I do appreciate the update in our dismal wages, high regressive taxes, and high cost of housing, but this has been going on for decades;

State and federal data routinely show that:

  • South Dakota employers pay some of the lowest wages in the nation.
  • A high number of families pay an excessive portion of their income on housing.
  • The state has a regressive system of taxation.
  • Many workers are not seeing their pay cover the rising cost of living in the state.
  • Meanwhile, the state is seeing a sharp spike in the cost of housing and health care, two critical components of living a happy life.

I will admit over the past 5 years or so I was able to quit my part-time job and only work one full-time job and make a decent living wage. I am also debt free. But this didn’t come from not working hard. I worked around 60 hours a week for over 20 years and I have NO dependents. But sometimes I wonder how much better off I would be if I just got paid a decent wage.

When I moved to Sioux Falls in 1991 my first job paid around $4.20 an hour.

Let’s face it, as long as we keep electing Republican business owners to the legislature we will continue to have regressive sales taxes, low wages and unaffordable housing. We need a progressive state legislature that stands up for workers.

I know, I am dreaming.

I have suggested to Sioux Falls city councilors that they institute a wage listing ordinance that forces businesses to list there minimum/maximum wage in a job listing for the Sioux Falls metro. Research has shown that not only will employers pay more they will get better and more applicants. It’s not just a win for workers it is a win for businesses.

It’s time we stop screwing around, especially in Sioux Falls, and invest in our workers.

We need to stop incentivizing businesses with TIF’s and Tax rebates in Sioux Falls

As I said a few months ago, it was baffling to me why we would give a $94 million dollar TIF to incentivize businesses to come here. First off, it is pretty obvious we don’t need anymore job creators currently;

To find out more about what might be going on, I reached out to Secretary Marcia Hultman, who leads the South Dakota Department of Labor.

“What you are seeing and what we’re hearing anecdotally, the numbers really support,” she said.

They definitely do. The most current number she could pull for me Friday was 23,500 active job openings in the state’s database. Nearly 10,000 of those are in the city of Sioux Falls.

You read it correct, 10,000 available jobs in Sioux Falls, and we want to incentivize business to come here? It’s ludicrous. Factor in our schools are over crowded, affordable housing is a rarity (where we should be investing tax rebates) and building permits are through the roof. If anything we should be giving the tax rebates to the citizens to create more affordable housing and propping up our current infrastructure instead throwing it at Egg Roll factories owned by Koreans.

I also found this interesting in the article;

Another tip: You should list a wage with your opening.

“Statistically, if the wage is posted, even if it’s not the best, those job orders get more activity. If nothing is listed, the assumption is that it’s low,” Hultman said.

Nearly every business I talk to has increased pay, some significantly. Frankly, that’s not a bad thing, to me, in a state that has struggled with persistently low wages in some sectors.

I have often said the city council should pass a city ordinance that any job listed within city limits should have the minimum and maximum pay listed in the ad.

It’s time to end most if not all TIF’s in the city and tax rebates for the supposed (low wage) job creators and start helping the people who live and work in this city with more affordable housing and propping up infrastructure, and we can do it without welfare to big business. This is what happens when you have a partisan greedy mayor on cruise control and a former developer executive running the city as Chief of Staff.

Ironically, when she left the city the first time she met me for coffee. She told me the deciding factor to leave the city, besides the last mayor being a total jackass was that she was forced to write the Sanford Sports Complex TIF which she felt set a bad precedent for TIFs because of it’s size and that it was NOT for housing or blighted property. Funny how her feelings have changed on the Tifiliciousness of TIFs and doesn’t seem to bothered by the bad precedent she set.

Budgeted Compensation for different City of Sioux Falls departments

Notice who has the highest averages and who has the lowest? No wonder the city struggles with hiring seasonal workers.

This information was supplied and compiled by Mike Zitterich