Entries Tagged 'Erica Beck' ↓

Mayor TenHaken says he will provide city board appointees bios ‘in the future’ if we want to see them

FF: 2:36:30

In a blatant disregard for openness and transparency, Paul has not provided city board appointees bios in the past two times they have been on the city council agenda. He did it tonight for the second time.

Councilor Pat Starr asked why those bios are not being provided any more and Paul said that if he wanted to see them he will provide them in the future. Pat reminded the mayor that he asked in an email yesterday for those bios. Paul responded, “From who?” Starr said that he sent an email request to COS Beck, City Clerk Greco and from the council operations manager, to no avail.

Now this is not something that has traditionally happened. I think the last administration started providing the bios when appointees were on the agenda, and Paul continued up until the last two times. Why did they disappear? I don’t know why, and I sent an email to councilors Brekke, Stehly and Starr last week to find out why.

I guess in some kind of weird defiance, the rumor going around is the COS didn’t provide them to Starr because “Scott was requesting them.”

Let me make it clear, when I ask for information, it isn’t for my own satisfaction, it is to post that information on my blog so constituents can see it.

I think it is insane that the administration thinks it is appropriate to stop providing these bios, they may be volunteers, but citizens have a right to know who the people are making these decisions for us, whether they are paid or elected or appointed.

Starr was the only councilor to vote against the appointments tonight. Bravo!

This constant fight for the simplest of transparent actions is getting old.

City of Sioux Falls claims they will be doing a national search for new planning director

While I believe they are conducting a national search, I wonder how that will really turnout?

With Cooper retiring in April, the city has started a nationwide search for his replacement.

“To maintain the growth we’ve had in the city and to keep that moving forward, this position is responsible for that, so for all intents and purposes, it’s one of our biggest positions,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

I have maintained for awhile that if you bring in a new planning director from out of state they will not have the historical knowledge of how planning and development is done in Sioux Falls. As we know, developers and the hospitals run the town, they pretty much admitted that during the Citizens Planning Academy when a citizen asked why Sanford and the other big developers get what they want. Those with the most money win!

I think the new position will be a Co-Director position that will manage the department, but I think the new director will have to answer to a higher power who has the historical knowledge. I think the department will ultimately be managed by COS Beck.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls Chief of Staff for TenHaken makes $161K a year

While I’m still waiting for the 2019 salary report to come out, I have some ‘early’ returns.

COS Erica Beck’s salary is $161K + $28K in benefits.

In comparison, Mayor TenHaken’s salary is $128K + $42K in benefits (Salary is controlled by ordinance and not performance or education).

Also, City Councilor’s yearly salary is $19K plus $200 month stipend for gas and phone. They are ineligible for retirement or healthcare benefits even though other cities and counties across the state allow it.

Like I said, once I get the full salary report, I will have more names to add.

I have often felt that NONE of the Mayor’s ‘support staff’ should get paid more than him. For example, when looking at the 2018 salaries, the former mayor’s secretary (who is still with the city) was getting $63K + Benefits and his communications manager was getting $75K + Benefits. Also, the Operations manager for the city council will make around $100K this year, and he has to support 8 people instead of just one.

I also find it a bit ironic when you see these corporate like pay scales in public service (government is not like private business).

Just read this story when you want to have comparable wages in the private sector in SD;

The News Watch analysis of 2017 wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics within the U.S. Department of Labor showed that:

  • Roughly 21 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 87,000 people, make under $30,000 a year; 41 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 169,400 people, make under $35,000 a year, and 71 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 292,000 people, make under $40,000 a year.
  • Out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, South Dakota is third lowest in average annual pay at $40,770, with the national average at $55,470. The state is also at or near the bottom nationally for average pay in several occupational sectors, including office and administrative support (51st), architecture/engineering (51st), education (50th), production workers (50th), life/physical/social sciences (50th), construction and extraction (50th), arts/design/sports/media (50th), computer and mathematical (49th), community and social services (48th), legal (47th), transportation and materials movement (45th), community and social services (47th) and business and financial operations (44th).
  • While doctors, medical specialists, dentists and CEOs are among the highest paid, the support staffs that work for them are among the lowest paid.

Isn’t it sad that about 71% of employed people in SD make under $40K a year and the mayor’s COS makes 4X that in the public sector. What is even more troubling is that TenHaken calls himself a fiscal conservative because he is of Dutch decent, yet pays corporate like wages on the taxpayer’s dime. I guess he is only conservative when it comes to HIS money, not ours.

I also find it a bit ironic that this story has been long overdue, and where did it come from? The local MSM? The AP? Maybe PBS? Nope. From a Non-Profit online news organization.

Mayor TenHaken decided he better research just what his COS does.

I got a chuckle after finding this on Paul’s FB page, he says this;

One of the reasons I believe I was elected was my executive experience and CEO mentality that I campaigned on. That being said, it is my belief that every good CEO needs a strong #2. In my case, that is my Chief of Staff, Erica Beck.

Today, I am spending some time exploring how other organizations use this critical role to create efficiencies and progress. Sioux Falls is lucky to have someone of Erica’s caliber serving in City Hall. #OneSiouxFalls

While I agree we are lucky to have Beck (I think) wouldn’t have you defined her role before hiring her? I have heard that the some on the city council have requested a job description of Beck, Jason Reisdorfer (IT Specialist) and TJ Nelson (Deputy COS) and have yet to receive one.

Cooper’s retirement is no surprise, and neither will be his replacement

There has been plenty of public and private conversation about Mike’s retirement;

After a 32-year career with the city of Sioux Falls, Director of Planning and Development Services Mike Cooper Monday announced plans to retire from municipal government next spring.

Before the TenHaken was even elected, there were plenty of people saying Mike would retire in 2019. You can’t blame him, he put in his time. I also don’t think he was forced out. I think this was a planned process that Mike had full control of.

His retirement isn’t the grand mystery surrounding the announcement, this is;

The city will conduct a national talent search to fill the Cooper’s position as director of Planning and Development Services. The director is appointed by the mayor with advice and consent of the City Council.

Why waste the taxpayer’s money? I have said all along that former city planner and now COS, Beck, was going to replace Cooper. Maybe I am wrong, maybe she likes signing Paul’s executive documents and baby sitting TJ NelsOver, but I’m guessing someone who has spent a lifetime in planning and development and went to the same school Cooper did (Metli-Lloyds Planning Academy) is gearing up to take the job. The planning/community development re-org, the rah-rah sessions about TIFs and various other policy decisions Beck has been behind make it pretty clear who is ‘seeking’ that position.

Of course, the administration will put on a big show, but seriously, just spare us the smoke and mirrors, appoint Beck in April when Cooper leaves, and save us the drama.

TenHaken’s COS Erica Beck promises more transparency w/RFPs

I’m guessing, and hoping that Beck realizes that when the RFP process is more open and transparent, the public is more likely to go along with it, or at least understand it. Transparency probably also saves the city a lot in legal fees and counseling.

Beck also wants to have a more consistent proposal, or RFP, process for developers, along with more transparency.

While I am glad to hear about more transparency, I’m still a little nervous about gearing up for more developer welfare;

“Our community is at a critical stage in terms of growth. We have to address that growth and understand how we’re going to encourage growth in the future and what kind of growth we need,” Beck said.

While I will agree we are a ‘critical stage’ I look at it as revitalizing the core and pulling the reigns back a bit on more urban sprawl. Growth for ‘growth’s sake’ isn’t always a great idea. I guess I have been of the opinion the city should focus on the core more and if developers want to continue to push our boundaries they can pay a premium price for the infrastructure.