Entries Tagged 'Open Meetings' ↓

Danielson notifies Sioux Falls Mayor TenHaken and City Council of possible Open Meeting Violations

This was emailed to the city council and mayor yesterday;

To the Sioux Falls Council and Mayor Paul TenHaken:

To make sure each of you has been informed of my actions on Friday, November 6th, 2020, I am making a special note to inform you I had served on the city of Sioux Falls and the City Council a SDCL 3-21 Notice of Claim concerning the city violating SDCL 1-27-1.16. Material relating to open meeting agenda item to be available–Exceptions–Violation as misdemeanor. 

The action of voting on the three issues was illegal and the possible actions of voting to move the items forward are teetering on a violation of 1-27-1.16. The body was warned 3 separate times by me to produce the missing proposed ordinances. None of you recessed the meeting or had your staff go to a copy machine and print the items. Once again this is a flagrant violation of long standing South Dakota Open Meeting laws and custom.

Posting the items on the overhead screen is not the same as following the simple law requiring the items to be printed on paper and placed on the table for the audience to pick up and review.

The SDCL 3-21 notice I have filed was necessary to inform the city of harm they have caused. In this case, the harm to me as a citizen who wanted the information produced on paper, in the room and the law requires it to be done without the public begging for a copy. It does not matter if the items were finally posted on the website, the law clearly required the materials be in the room for the public to review.

Do you realize over the past few years, we audience members continue to receive less meeting documents or notice? We are tired of it. There are other violations we have pointed out in the recent past, such as when pointed out a violation to the Waste Management Board recently, causing the meeting to be postponed until proper legal notice was adhered to. The Board did the right thing, why can’t the City Council? The Board of Ethics did not properly publish and adopt their agenda recently when the Public Input was not placed on the agenda.

My efforts issuing warnings to the City Council last Tuesday were my attempts to prevent a violation or three.

Why do we not consistently get ALL the agenda discussion items such as zoning changes? The Clerk has placed the meeting notebook on the table but it is incomplete.

I will be preparing a complaint for the South Dakota Open Meetings Committee for the flagrant violations the City Council. I am considering adding a few others. Right now there are violations I will likely be filing as part of last week’s meeting and have decided I shall wait to complete the process once I know if there are more violations to add from the Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 meeting.

The actions taken last Tuesday are illegal because they violated SDCL 1-27-1.16. If the City Council continues with the 2nd reading this coming Tuesday and casts any votes on the illegally passed items, the votes cast will likely be null and void. 

ORDINANCE SECOND READINGS

12. 2nd Reading: AN EMERGENCY ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, TO REQUIRE FACE COVERING IN AN INDOOR PUBLIC PLACE WHERE 6-FOOT SOCIAL DISTANCING CANNOT BE ACHIEVED.

Sponsors: Council Members Soehl and Kiley

13. 2nd Reading: AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY BY AMENDING CHAPTER 30: CITY COUNCIL; SECTION 30.001 COUNCIL MEETINGS.

Sponsors: Council Members Jensen and Erickson

14. 2nd Reading: AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY BY AMENDING CHAPTER 30: CITY COUNCIL, SUBCHAPTER: ORGANIZATION AND PROCEDURE, SECTION 30.013, ORDER OF BUSINESS AND SECTION 30.015 ADDRESSING THE CITY COUNCIL; TIME LIMIT.

Sponsor: Mayor

Each of you are personally invested in the three items above, I may or may not have an opinion on them, it does not matter. What matters is the legality of moving them forward when you know they are not legally processed. Moving them forward is up to each of you.

The body is not permitted to knowingly vote on and cannot pass into law, an item brought before the body through illegal process.

Bruce Danielson

In Theresa Stehly’s fight to keep Public Input ‘as is’ the Argus Falsely claims her residency

Former Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly sent out a postcard last week asking residents to speak up this coming Tuesday about keeping Public Input where it currently is, at the beginning of the meeting. She wrote a similar Letter to the Editor of the Argus;

Don’t let the business elite push out the average citizens. We need to protect and continue this opportunity to accommodate the citizen’s input at the beginning of the meeting, which is a user friendly time.

It is an important communication tool for the taxpayers and promotes accountability and transparency.

The Vote will be on Tuesday, November 10th during the 7 p.m.meeting. Please contact the mayor and the council members and tell them to leave public input where it is.

Tell them not to bow to the “Business Elite” who think they can pay their way to the front of the line. Contact all the Sioux Falls City Council and let them know you do not want your voice to be shut down:

Theresa Stehly, Mobridge

While I have seen the Argus editorial staff ‘edit’ my letters in the past, I have NEVER seen them blatantly change someone’s residency. When Stehly sent the letter over to the Argus, she put Sioux Falls as her residency. Why? Because that is what it is. Stehly has lived here I believe for over 20 years, she owns a home in Sioux Falls, pays taxes here and votes here. She did take a temporary job over the last couple of months in the Mobridge area, but that doesn’t make her a residency Mobridge, her home is Sioux Falls. It would be like saying a traveling construction worker who owns a home in Sioux Falls is suddenly a resident of Texas because he spent a couple months down there in the winter fixing roofs. It’s ludicrous. In fact there are several wealthy business families in Sioux Falls who donate to community projects and try to influence local government that winter in places like Arizona and California. So are they suddenly ‘residents’ of these states because they spend a couple of months away from Sioux Falls? I am guessing they would disagree.

The only reason I can think of why the Argus did this is to delegitimize Stehly’s voice who has been a strong advocate of open government in Sioux Falls and has fought for many things in this community on and off the council, and she continues to do so.

I think not only the Argus but other media in Sioux Falls have been strong supporters (behind the scenes) of moving public input to the end, so they can get their quick clips at council meetings and run off and write their half-baked stories. It’s their tradition of laziness and ignorance that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

As for Public Input, and decisions made on Tuesday night at the 2nd reading, including moving the meeting time to 6 PM, may be null and void. Bruce Danielson has done this;

Today, Friday, November 6th, 2020I had served on the city of Sioux Falls and the City Council a SDCL 3-21 Notice of Claim concerning the city violating SDCL 1-27-1.16. Material relating to open meeting agenda item to be available–Exceptions–Violation as misdemeanor.

The SDCL 3-21 notice is necessary to inform the city of harm they have caused. in this case, the harm to me as a citizen who wanted the information displayed and the law requires them to follow. I will be preparing a complaint for the South Dakota Open Meetings Committee for the flagrant violations the City has continued.

The actions taken last Tuesday are illegal because they violated SDCL 1-27-1.16. If the City Council continues with the 2nd reading this coming Tuesday and casts any votes on the illegally passed items, the votes cast will likely be null and void.

The body cannot pass into law an item brought before the body illegally.

In fact a past City Attorney Diane Best said this in her recommendations about this section of the law (page 17);

MEETING MATERIALS
• Printed materials relating to agenda item and is given
to public body, generally must be available to general
public.
• Posted on website
• Available at business office
• Available in meeting room
• Excludes confidential materials
• Source: SDCL 1‐27‐1.16

As I look at it, you can’t just do one or two of these things and call it good, you have to do it all.

It will be interesting to see how this goes Tuesday night. You know how I feel about this. I agree with Stehly, this is an effort to put the banksters and welfare developer queens at the beginning of the line, and it is disgusting and pathetic.

BTW, whether you support or oppose, make your voice heard ahead of time. As of right now, councilors Brekke, Starr and Soehl are opposed to the move;

Janet Brekke <jbrekke@siouxfalls.org>,

Christine Erickson <cerickson@siouxfalls.org>,

Alex Jensen <ajensen@siouxfalls.org>,

Rick Kiley <rkiley@siouxfalls.org>, 

Greg Neitzert <gneitzert@siouxfalls.org>,

Marshall Selberg <mselberg@siouxfalls.org>,

Curt Soehl <csoehl@siouxfalls.org>,

Pat Starr <pstarr@siouxfalls.org>,

Mayor TenHaken <PTenHaken@siouxfalls.org>

Sioux Falls City Council & Mayor TenHaken willing to possibly violate law with their war on transparency

Last night at the city council meeting there were three important first readings of ordinances. Mask mandate, meeting time change and moving public input dead last. While the proposed ordinances did appear on SIRE online with linked documents, there were NO hard copies available at the meeting (these usually appear in a white binder on a desk by the chamber’s front door). This is a clear violation of open meeting laws and the city council, city attorney, mayor and council staff ignored it.

What made it even worse was, out of courtesy, Cameraman Bruce let them know that they really needed to recess the meeting until copies of the ordinance could be handed out to the public in attendance. Nobody lifted a finger. The chair of the meeting, Paul TenHaken didn’t attempt a recess, the city attorney did not recommend one, the city clerk and city operations officer said and did nothing. Even after being told to correct this obvious violation, they all continued the meeting.

What does this mean? First off, an open meetings violation will probably be filed (more to come on that). If found in violation they could all receive fines and even jail time, it has already happened to a county official in the state for doing something similar. So who would be ultimately responsible for this fiasco and dereliction of duty? The chair, Mayor TenHaken could be but also the city clerk.

Even after warned to correct the issue, Paul just kept going. Why? Because of his deep, deep, deep hatred of open meetings and transparency. He will stop at NOTHING to make sure the public is NOT informed about what changes he is attempting to make at these meetings. He apparently will go as far as possibly violating open meetings laws to achieve his decimation of open government in Sioux Falls. Not sure what point he was trying to make?

I was actually astonished that they didn’t recess for 10-15 minutes to print out a few copies. It was baffling. What it showed me, besides the apparent disregard for the law, was extreme childishness, ignorance and stupidity of possibly openly violating the law when a constituent pointed it out. It’s like Paul was thinking, “If I just ignore Bruce, and pretend we are not doing anything wrong, we will be fine.”

I have seen city government officials do some pretty moronic things, but this one takes the cake. It’s almost like Paul tries to one up himself of doing idiotic things. Which used to be monthly, but now is coming a weekly endeavor.

When you have 9 elected officials and about 4 appointed officials essentially ignore a possible violation (and not even raise their hands and ask the city attorney) you wonder who is running this rudderless ship called the city of Sioux Falls?

Speaking of public input. Councilor Brekke did a fantastic job of explaining to the rest of the council that they are essentially ‘guests’ at a meeting that is for the ‘public’ and this is why it should remain at the beginning. Councilor Starr reminded them of all the citizens that have come in the past to bring important issues to the council. It looks like right now the only ones opposed to the move are Starr, Brekke and Soehl.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken and the Sioux Falls City Council continue their ‘HATEFEST’ on Transparency and Open Government

UPDATE: As you can see the council and mayor are moving forward with their plans (Items #40-41) on a night when most people will be paying attention to the election. The items are also misleading because in the titles it says NOTHING about moving public input or meeting time moving. Only if you read the red notes you will see the changes.

This change could also be construed as unconstitutional in the public input ordinance;

Notice that currently public input at the beginning of the meetings doesn’t allow you to comment on pending business coming up in the rest of the meeting, which is also unconstitutional, but they are saying with this NEW ordinance that you can’t comment on what happened during the meeting though the items have already been voted on and the business of those items is closed. The SCOTUS has ruled very recently that you can discuss ANY city business at public input whether it is on an agenda or not. I think they said as long as a citizen is commenting on business that is ‘germane’ to that government body, it is allowable. I guess now the Mayor thinks he knows better than the Supreme Court. Not only do they suck at transparency, they are getting very sloppy legal advice.

——————————————-

I just found out this afternoon that the mask mandate isn’t the only controversy coming on Tuesday. There are two items that will probably get first readings on Tuesday night also that have not been presented to the public in an informational, which is no surprise. I knew that both of these were coming after Stehly’s seat was bought by the banksters and developer welfare queens, and they have to do with shackling citizens;

• The first is a move rumored to be brought forward by Councilors Erickson and Jensen that would move the regular council meetings to 6 PM. This of course would give citizens very little time from when they get off of work to attend the meetings on time in person and an obvious assault on open government.

• The second is rumored to be proposed by Mayor TenHaken himself to move public input to the end of the meetings.

I have no doubt both will get the 5 votes they need to pass. These actions come after just a few weeks ago the Mayor ended the traditional mayor/director meetings with council leadership on Friday mornings and also the move to remove red notes from ordinances that are being changed.

This of course is NO surprise since this mayor and council has had a full on assault on transparency and their hatred of open government and more importantly citizen input and advocacy. They despise more than anything else and won’t be happy until they lop off the citizens rights to dissent their government, or at least make it more challenging to do so.

Messing with public input and citizens rights to advocate for themselves is a whole new level of disgusting behavior by this administration and city council. I would ask if they have any shame, but you know the answer.

So why are they so Hellbent on silencing the public? Because they have several plans to hand over MORE of your tax dollars to the elite who fund their campaigns and they are tired of the public making that process messy and in the open.

And if you think the steamrolling won’t happen, wait until Starr leaves the council (hopefully) and they replace him with another rubberstamper.

Prepare for your taxes and fees to rise exponentially while your voice and services get stifled. This is what happens when you let a non-partisan government get controlled by political hacks of the Republican Fascist Party with no governing experience and deep, deep, deep hatred of citizen activism and transparency.

We have a virus destroying our city alright, and the only way to stop it is with lots of Sunshine.

Mayor TenHaken implementing an Executive Order that benefits bureaucrats over citizens

In Paul’s latest fiddling with his extreme hatred for transparency, he changed an executive order which basically shortens up the time the public knows about an ordinance change, YET requires the council to give more advance notice to city directors about their intentions.

Once again Paul is nosing around in the legislative branch and telling them how they will legislate. While I’m okay with giving the city directors more time to mull over changes, we should also be extending the time citizens know about an issue.

I also think that this should be a decision made by the city council, NOT by executive order.

The city council doesn’t work for city directors and the mayor, they work for the citizens, this is why we elect them. But it has been evident, almost since the Home Rule Charter was founded that the city council does the bidding of the mayor and directors and has never turned down an opportunity to put more rules, more fees and more taxes on the citizens. I implore anyone who can show me when the city council has deregulated/eliminated ordinances or cut taxes and fees since this form of government was implemented in the 90’s. If you can, I’ll buy you a beer (or two).

This is the problem with the form of government we have now in Sioux Falls. It is setup so the directors form policy while the RS6 approves those policies that benefit the banksters and developers in town, while more regulations and taxes get levied on the rest of us.

This ‘little change’ is just another way of hiding city business from the citizens. And what it really is about is a deep hatred for sunshine and openness in our local government, and like covid, it will be hard to cure this deep sickness at city hall.

Sioux Falls City Council Operations Meeting full of some very dark proposals including killing public input

The City Council had its Operations Committee meeting in the dark of the morning Thursday at 10 AM. I wonder why there was NO public input? Trust, me, this was done on purpose so the public could not attend, especially with some of the crap they were proposing. Once again, like the mayor, the majority of the council, the RS6 now, HATE transparency and openness, it is at the core of their very dark agenda for the city.

The meeting started out with a proposal for more per diem money to the council for logo wear city council apparel. I think right now they receive around $50 a year and they want to increase it to $150 per year. What confuses me is that they could just buy each councilor a simple magnetic name badge (for around $15 bucks) that they could wear on any piece of clothing, heck, buy them two. Just another example of how they waste taxpayer money on something they don’t really need.

I found it interesting that CountCilor Alex Jensen wasn’t wearing city logo wear but a First Premier pull over, nice touch. Reminds me of when Jim Entenman was wearing his Harley Davidson shirts to council meetings. Got to get in that shameless promotion yah know. Also, we can’t forget the thousands of dollars that were funneled to Alex’s campaign thru his employer’s upper leadership and various mischevious PACs. You better wear the damn shirt Alex!

Another change is for the consent agenda. They want councilors to give a 24 hour notice to city hall if they are going to pull something from the consent agenda so the city director/manager responsible for that item can come to the meeting to answer questions, because their time is valuable or something. Nutzert rambled about wedding anniversaries and kid’s birthday parties. Because, when you make a 6-Figure a year salary from the taxpayers of this city you shouldn’t be bothered for 5 minutes to answer a question about city spending when you should be a Chucky Cheese with your kids. Puhhhleese. There has always been this consistent argument, that I knew would gear up after the RS6 was installed, that city employees personal lives on a Tuesday night are somehow more important than the public’s business. They know they have an expectation to come to these meetings, and like I said, they get paid a hefty chunk of change to do so. If you can’t make it because of an important family event, ask someone from your department to fill in. This seems like a responsibility of the director in charge of that department instead of the city council.

They said city councilors don’t have to give the notice, but if they don’t there is no requirement for the director to show up. So basically it is a ‘Pass’ for the very people who are supposed to be serving us (because you know, they get a paycheck to do so).

I have often argued that the consent agenda should be read at the meeting, and after it is completely read by the clerk, items can be pulled. That’s true transparency.

During the meeting, non-committee member, councilor Brekke chimed in from the podium and suggested that the mayor’s office started giving informational meeting updates like they used to, but ended suddenly. We all know why, because of his simmering hatred towards transparency. Just look at the Covid press conferences, vanished, while our numbers are spiking.

The meeting got more interesting with a move to eliminate open discussion at the beginning of the informational meetings and renaming it council comment or report. Basically they can comment about something they are working on, but NO policy discussion, they once again blamed time constraints even though there is NOTHING in the city charter about time constraints or time limits at meetings. If a meeting runs to long, they can recess and come back at another time. Heck the Board of Ethics recessed twice over Greg Nutzert’s ethics hearing. This is a way of keeping more policy decisions from citizens. Disgusting.

The best was at the end of the meeting when, ironically, during open discussion CountCilor Jensen suggested moving public input to the end of the council meetings and eliminating public input on 1st readings. Oh, he was very soft and careful how he presented it, but it was clear when he said something about doing ‘business’ first, what he meant. Councilor Nutzert quickly chimed in and said he would assist him on it, but they may have to take an all expenses paid trip by a right wing partisan hack group to come up with a plan (I jest). I have often argued you put public input first because the public’s opinion is much more important than the business of the council, you know, the people who fund this government and come on their own time to do so. A business coming for a rezone or license is part of an expense of doing business and has little to do with the issues and policies of this city. Citizens should always be at the forefront of local government. I knew this was going to happen when Theresa left, and they have the votes to get it done, so it will probably happen. While I will do my best to fight it, unfortunately this is what happens when a majority of the council has this fascist view of transparency. Total Darkness.

The Unethical, Sioux Falls Ethics board Chair receiving honors for Ethics & Integrity

So am I the only one finding this SD Hall of Fame Honor a little ironic after his performance at the SF Ethics Board Hearing on Thursday in which there was TWO very evident open meetings violations. I guess Jack thinks it’s OK to be ethical, but those rules don’t apply to him.

Jack Marsh
Sioux Falls, SD | Business

A Champion of Ethics and Human Rights in South Dakota.

Jack Marsh has been a champion for ethics and human rights in South Dakota for decades. 26 years ago, he first moved to the state and took the role of editor of the Argus Leader for Gannett companies. In this role, his commitment to journalism, and ethics, were evident. His long-time mentor, Al Neuharth, often stated “The First Amendment guarantees a free press. We in the media must make sure it is a fair one.” Through his work, he has held a constant commitment to mentoring individuals both inside and outside the world of journalism. Coupled with his life-long commitment to diversity and the elimination of prejudice, Jack Marsh is a hero of the people.

I have had a handful of interactions over the years with Mr. Marsh, all have been uncomfortable and confrontational. Mostly because he is an arrogant ‘P’. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that he thinks he is acting with the highest level of integrity and ethics.

The other odd part about their dismissal on Thursday is that they know this will reappear later (but see, it will be after the election, so it won’t matter).

I suspect the second round of complaints won’t only include Neitzert, but also Mayor TenHaken for his participation in the conference and also his participation in the Bloomberg Institute;

Participation in the program is fully funded—including tuition, accommodation, meals, and airfare. Please note that public officials, including any employee of a government entity, should consult applicable rules and regulations to ensure that their attendance (including the acceptance of related costs) complies with such rules and regulations.

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative is made possible by a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of their Government Innovation portfolio, which focuses on building problem-solving capacity within local governments and spreading innovations that work.

As you can see, our Unethical, Ethics Board is going to be very busy over the next couple of months, better stock up on masks.

Democracy Dies in Darkness, this is an example of the sneaky games being played during this time by local boards and governments

I knew it would not take long for something like this to rear it’s head during this time of a crisis and social distancing;

A plan to separate the Tri-Valley School District by building a new school to handle overcrowding is once again causing controversy between residents and school district leaders. 

Parents and residents say a recent decision by the school board to build a $10 million kindergarten-only school in Crooks, miles from the current school in Colton, was done without transparency and without the chance for a public vote. 

They say the school board and administration took advantage of a time when no one could attend the school board meeting April 13 in person to voice their opposition because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The board meeting was conducted through Zoom, a video chat messaging system many have relied on to interact with others without risking exposure to the coronavirus in the meantime. 

A select few in the community who can afford the tax increases and want a new school took it upon themselves to pass something literally in the dark of the night knowing there was strong public opposition to the decision. The best way to quiet this opposition is by eliminating them. While legal (and I would go so far to say that is questionable) it definately lacked ethics and integrity and was at best a sloppy parlor trick.

But don’t be fooled by this ‘one’ instance. I have been following and taking note of several things our own city government has been doing behind the scenes. All the puzzle pieces are not in place yet, but once they are, I will be revealing the blatant sloppiness and ignorance our own city has been up to. Right now they are trying their hardest to keep these things tied up in a closet with a sock in their mouth, but that can’t last much longer, and it’s only a matter of time before it spreads like a virus at packing plant.

I will keep you posted, and several others in the local media have been also keeping tabs.

While none of it really shocks me, it will prove once again, when the cat’s away, the mice will play. Our local officials are taking full advantage of this crisis to put a death nail in transparency, and it makes me wonder how they sleep at night.

Why does Sioux Falls struggle so much with open government?

Many in the media are wondering why Mayor Paul doesn’t hold regular press conferences where the media can ask questions. Sorry folks, have to head to my kid’s soccer game.

I have often argued that this should be one of the easiest things our local government officials do – open the books! We already have the laws in place that allow government in South Dakota to open the books as much as they want to, with only a handful of things that are not allowable (and are clearly defined).

It often baffles me when I watch the video above or hear a local official say this (Sioux Falls City Councilor Erickson is referring to a conversation she had on Wednesday with Mayor TenHaken about communication);

“Help me understand this. Where was the communication breakdown, and how can we do better for you guys (city councilors)?”

I mean, if you have to ask, you are apparently either NOT fit to lead, or acting naive on purpose to hide things. I think it is a little of both.

When leaders fail at the simplest of tasks, it clearly shows they are NOT prepared for the job and should resign.

I drive past the Mayor’s office every weekday going to work (about 7:45 AM) and again going home (about 4:45 PM) and it is always dark. Why do we need city hall security for a mayor that doesn’t show up to his office?

UPDATE: This should happen more often in SD, especially in Sioux Falls

I’m sure you saw this in the news this week. I asked myself, ‘Why hasn’t this happened more often in South Dakota?’;

The Walworth County auditor faces charges of violating South Dakota law after she was arrested and charged with failing to follow state public meeting laws.

Walworth County Auditor Rebecca Krein is accused of violating a law that requires government entities to make documents available to the public when they are used during official meetings. Walworth County State’s Attorney James Hare issued a warrant for her arrest last week after he received a complaint that Krein failed to make documents available for an Aug. 6 meeting.

Cory touches on the topic;

Did I miss the memo declaring that public officials should no longer experience shame for breaking the law? Publicly shaming elected officials for breaking the law is moral, necessary, and effective, even, sometimes, against the most shameless and corrupt of elected officials. We don’t hesitate to arrest and shame run-of-the-mill hoodlums on the street who wave shotguns and vandal murals. Why should elected officials not face cuffs and guff for violating the public trust?

I can’t speak for the rest of the state, but I can tell you that this happens quite often in Sioux Falls. In fact Cameraman Bruce and myself and several other citizens have complained about this multiple times. Some examples that have happened quite often in Sioux Falls at public meetings are starting meetings early (before posted time) and not handing out paper copies of the agenda at the meetings. The city council usually has this handled, but there have been several occasions in other city board and commission meetings where it has NOT happened. I would even dare to say that I could come up with over a dozen instances every year. So I find it a bit ironic that the state arrested this person in lowly Walworth County but NOT in Sioux Falls.

You know my soapbox by now. No local government agency (that I know of) in SD has ever gotten in trouble for being too open. In fact, state law is pretty clear about open meetings, they leave it up to the local agencies. The state legislature has essentially said, you can tell the public as much as you want to, but too often they choose not to. I was glad to see this arrest, but I would like to see a lot more of it. Putting these public officials in handcuffs may be the ultimate solution to opening up our books. As I have said before, not only is open government good for governing, it saves taxpayers money. Dictatorships only occur when the people in power have taken away our access to information, once that happens the dominos fall, really, really fast.