Reimbursed or paid expenses from a third party to the city may be accepted if ALL of the following requirements are met:
1. The event is related to the official duties of the officer or city’s legislative or policy making role (Consistent with City Council Travel Policy)
2. The event organizer is not a person, entity, or business who seeks or does business with the city or conducts activities regulated by the city or is a political party (nonprofits and other governmental units are NOT prohibited sources)
3. All expenses are paid for or reimbursed by the event organizer (not a sponsor of the event)
4. The event is a widely attended gathering and the agenda and any paid or reimbursed expenses are a matter of public record
I Still think it is dangerous territory to allow partisan groups to fund trips.
Ethics Ordinance Update by Greg Neitzert, Council Member
Like I said, I have no idea what he is proposing, but with his impeachment over a paid for partisan trip to Texas with Mayor TenHaken and his then Deputy COS, TJ Nelson, one has to wonder if they are re-writing the ordinance to make the sins of the past go away, which would allow partisan political groups to pay for trips of local elected officials.
If this is the proposal, I think it is dangerous territory. While I maintain that not only was Councilor Neitzert guilty of ethics violations, so was the mayor and Nelson. Partisan groups, left, right or center, should not be able to buy influence.
And while the recreation trail ordinances have languished for 5 years, this apparently is top priority . . . saving their own asses!
There has been a lot of talk about the upcoming election. One of the topics is Mayor TenHaken’s participation in the Anti IM 27 campaign and if it is it is legal. I have been warning people for years that PTH’s former job was being a political partisan marketing hack, and little has changed. He continues to ignore the ethics of being a politician while setting precedents when unchallenged. Paul not only is betting the farm on his input to the opponents but I also think he is doing this to harvest statewide voter data for an eventual run for Governor or Senator. It makes me laugh when Paul says he hates politics and doesn’t like being a politician, but he has done it his entire professional life and now is using PAC money from a PAC he runs to make a political stance. We will see how this plays out. I think the race is in a dead heat, but if Paul is successful in getting his SF mayoral supporters in line with his feelings on MJ he will set another precedent right in front of our faces. Even if IM 27 passes and foils his ambitions (he will still have secured the voter data), I still encourage members of the IM 27 campaign to file ethics violations against him for his political stunt as a sitting (lying) mayor.
Even if the Wholestone Slaughterhouse ordinance fails or passes (I think it will get between 70-80%) it will ultimately be decided in a court of law and NOT by voters. Why is this? For the same reason I voted NO. It is a poorly written measure that doesn’t address property rights and current zoning. Liking the concept or not doesn’t matter here, it is about law and city ordinances, and since the city council didn’t have the courage to do something about this in January here we are. Thousands of disenfranchised voters and a very nervous judge.
Speaking of the ordinance, council chair, Curt Soehl, decided it was a good idea to write a letter to the editor in support of the NO vote. I was told the entire council was advised to publicly keep quiet about the ordinance until after the election, Soehl obviously ignored them. Funny how this guy likes to tell councilors how to conduct themselves during meetings but does whatever he wants to on the side. Not just an authoritarian, but a hypocrite.
Neitzert called the proposal to spend more at the events center complex a “sunk-cost fallacy,” and unless the plan includes overhauling the entire neighborhood and creating a walkable road network, he doesn’t anticipate much success.
“We’ve been proven wrong twice,” he said. “It’s just a tough area. It just is.”
Maybe Greg learned something from his Bunker Ramp vote. The 3rd time isn’t always a charm.
Speaking of Greg, last night with the support of the mayor at the council meeting found ways to limit video lottery at a handful of casinos but did argue that it will take some stronger ordinance changes in the near future to affect change. I can guarantee lobbyists for the VL industry in SD are already nagging lawmakers to make changes to state law so they can have these mega casinos that hand out free beer. Like Wholestone, this will also be decided by a court, and also like Wholestone the City Council acted too little and too late. The city council should have been working on this for the past two decades.
A few weeks ago I addressed the city council about having a $5 dollar bond payment ticket fee at the Denty to help pay down the mortgage. This week they turned around and gave a ticket fee to the general fund of the Sports Authority for ‘Marketing’ with NO oversight. Of course this is the same city council that continues to subsidize the operations of the Pavilion while spending millions on building repairs while the Pavilion sits on a $5 million dollar savings fund. Yet some how the city may have to scrounge the money together for an additional warming shelter this winter.
The screenshot below is from the last Audit Committee meeting Councilor Jensen chaired. It was so nice of the taxpayers of Sioux Falls to fund City of Sioux Falls logo wear for councilors (instead of a simple $10 lapel nametag magnet) so that when they actually show up to a live streamed public meeting they could be promoting their Dr. Oz and Alex Jones vitamins. #justrolledoutofbed
Technically you could say he violated state law; he used a public facility funded by the taxpayers of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County and he did it while he was on the clock. He also did not share FACTUAL information.
As for any 1st Amendment violations, I agree with TenHaken;
TenHaken sent KELOLAND News via text message: “Fortunately as an elected leader I don’t have to forfeit my First Amendment rights to say IM27 is terrible public policy and people should vote no.”
He is very much correct that elected officials don’t give up their 1st Amendment rights after taking office, but, this is NOT about constitutional or state law, this is about ethics.
As an elected official who may have to rule/vote on proposed law in the future, it is very unethical and conflicting to take a position on a ballot measure before it has been voted on. What makes it even more complicated is using money from a personal PAC to fund an opposition campaign, BTW, a campaign littered with lies and false information.
This should be questioned, but not on the basis of law, but on ethics.
“Laws without morals are in vain.” – Benjamin Franklin
Mayor TenHaken currently is the chair of the FCC Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, as a committee member they have to follow certain rules and guidelines in that position. According to the FCC they are only allowed to provide opinions to the FCC Commission. I was unable to find the specific rule that prohibits committee members from making accusations or pronouncements about other fellow lawmakers, like a city councilor he serves with, but I do know that Federal boards have to meet a much higher bar when it comes to conduct. I would think if Councilor Brekke made an inquiry to the FCC about his accusations they would look into the rules he must follow as a committee member.
Here is the video of Brekke’s press conference. I like how she compared Paul to a singer of a rock band and the council is the musicians in the band;
Asked for comment, TenHaken’s campaign responded with several links to the Federal Communication Commission’s rules on political campaign texts, as well as to the Sioux Falls Code of Ordinances. The city’s code states:
“No city employee shall, directly or indirectly, contribute money or anything of value to or render service in behalf of the candidacy of any candidate for nomination or election to any city office.”
Notice that either Mitchell or TenHaken conveniently left out the last two sentences of the complete ordinance, which gives city employees the right to privately support candidates, just NOT financially.
§ 39.038 POLITICAL ACTIVITY. No officer or employee under the civil service or appointive officers shall, directly or indirectly, contribute money or anything of value to or render service in behalf of the candidacy of any candidate for nomination or election to any city office. The expression in private of personal views concerning candidates for political office is not prohibited hereby. Violation of this section shall be grounds for discharge or other disciplinary action.
This of course is no surprise how low they will go to try to make it look like they have the law on their sides. Ironically, it seems Poops is the one who may have violated city charter when it comes ethics and employee bonuses;
§ 39.041 UNLAWFUL INFLUENCE. No person while holding any office in the government of the city or any nomination for or while seeking a nomination for appointment to any office shall corruptly use or promise to use, either directly or indirectly, any official authority or influence in the way of conferring upon any person, or in order to secure or aid any person in securing any office or public employment or any nomination, confirmation, promotion or increase in salary, upon the consideration or condition that the vote or political influence or action of the last named person or any other person shall be given or used in behalf of any candidate, officer or party, or upon any other corrupt condition or consideration.
It seems Paul is trying to deflect from his own ethical challenges trying to play the victim after he attacked a city councilor;
“These are baseless allegations and honestly, way beneath what we should expect from our leaders. Those who know me can see through them for what they are — false, misleading and a desperate attempt for headlines a week before an election. I look forward to continuing to discuss issues like housing, public safety and infrastructure rather than publicity stunts like this.”
Baseless? Who sent the private text with a made up controversy? You did. It is unfortunate that Brekke had to respond to your political stunt. You are such a small petty person. I know hungry toddlers with more grace. You played the same game with Jolene. These are the games of a political hack who has no basic understanding of ethics or running government.
It continued at the informational meeting where Chair Alex Jensen decided to dig on Councilor Starr who had to attend a personal matter so he was late to the meeting saying, “Where is Pat Starr, thought he wanted to ask questions? (about Forward Sioux Falls funding). Starr showed up shortly later and at the end of the meeting he tore into Jensen saying he wasn’t ‘Man enough to say it to his face.’ Jensen tried to deny it and Pat said, ‘We can replay the tape.’ As the gavel was flying the video producer shut the video off, essentially censoring the exchange. That’s open government folks.
This is what it has come to, a bunch of partisan hack rubber stampers who are angry about getting called out for their immense stupidity, arrogance and incompetence.
Unfortunately, Mayor Doxxing has decided to threaten a city councilor that is up for re-election with a made-up crisis. Councilor Brekke is contacting voters with her text messages and some of those voters are city employees. It is completely legal, as she explains. Janet is not offering any kind of compensation to the city employees for posting her signs, and further more, according to city charter, city councilors have NO direct influence over a majority of city employees, only council staff.
This of course is a response from the mayor because Brekke pointed out it being unethical to vote for city employee bonuses before an election, something that directly impacts their employment and compensation. She took the high road and Paul is taking the low road.
I could say more, but I will let Janet explain instead;