Entries Tagged 'Rick Kiley' ↓

Councilor Stehly gets it done without even voting

As I have mentioned in the past, Councilor Stehly has gotten a lot of things done without the votes, but by just simply putting on pressure.

She did it again this afternoon at the Audit Committee Meeting.

She asked for several things from the podium during the 2020 Audit Plan presentation;

• An external audit of the Parking System (Theresa mentioned that she found it odd that the city wants to keep building or subsidizing parking ramps downtown yet wants to sell off flat parking lots).

• An audit of the CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk) process.

• Travel expenses of city staff (I guess that during the current administration, city directors and staff, and mostly the mayor, have been taking a lot of ‘junket trips’ but not really giving a report to the public as what they are doing on the trips. Recently TenHaken put up a short column about his trip to China, but never really told us what was really discussed. We also get a lot of updates on FB from the Innovation Manger and all the different cities he has been drinking in.

• A study of City Director salaries in comparison to other cities. Something I pointed out the last time the HR department did a wage study, but did NOT include city directors. How convenient.

The committee argued the merits of all the items. Councilor Brekke mentioned that maybe the city council budget analyst could look into the last two items and do a presentation on those findings – which I agree.

Audit Manager Nelson suggested that the CMAR audit would have to be done externally due to it’s speciality of the audit.

But they got into a long discussion about the external parking ramp audit. Councilor Kiley said he didn’t want to put it on the audit plan because they are in the middle of litigation, but other members argued that there was nothing wrong with putting it on the agenda, and if they have to pull it in the future, they can. The amendment to add it passed with Kiley and Chair Neitzert voting against it. Councilor Stehly doesn’t sit on the committee so she couldn’t vote on it.

T.J. TypeOver said they won’t audit it until it is done;

T.J. Nelson, deputy chief of staff in the mayor’s office, said City Hall isn’t opposed to a review of the parking system or the ramp, but not until the ramp project is complete and the dust settles on any lawsuits surrounding it.

“The administration will complete a comprehensive review of the process that led to the prior approval of this project by the Huether administration. This will take place following the ramp’s completion and resolution of any outstanding legal matters,” he said. “At this time, the administration supports a financial or construction audit consistent with the time frame outlined above.”

Yeah, after we have f’d up in every possible way we can, then we will tell the public how that f’k up occurred. WHAT!? Wouldn’t it be wise to figure that out BEFORE we move ahead with another developer or even litigation? Wouldn’t this help our case? Sometimes I wonder if putting money in a burn barrel would be a better way to spend money then paying city communication staff.

There was also a presentation on the Landfill Audit. There was a lot of problems going on out there where basically employees were not following procedures and not doing proper inspections. You can listen for yourself. My view is the city is missing out on a lot of landfill revenue due to the laziness of the employees. I think they were warned about these things in past audits. I think it is time to start handing our pink slips, then maybe they will get the picture.

Chair Neitzert mentions at the end they are going to start the process of hiring another staff auditor (which they do need). I wonder if this time they will actually put an employment ad in something besides Tidbits and the City Hall’s lunchroom?

PUBLIC TRANSIT MEETING

I still haven’t heard all the details of what happened, but I guess a committee member got a little irate about how the public is being left out of the decisions they are making. More to come.

Open Bids save money

At Tuesday’s Sioux Falls City Council meeting, councilor Kiley argued that they shouldn’t put the IT expansion project out for bid because the delay would end up costing taxpayers more money. Pulling a crystal ball from his rear aside, that is not always the case.

Back in 2008, the city faced a similar dilemma, a bid was handed over to a contractor to replace the windows on the Pavilion, the problem was that when the Pavilion’s Operations Director turned the bid into the city, he realized later that he forgot to include labor and would have to resubmit the bid.

The controversy caused by this error got the attention of the media, so a lot more contractors bid on the project the second time around.

The city saved over $300K by resubmitting the project, in fact they had to amend the 2009 CIP budget to reflect the cost savings;

Improvements, by deleting $300,000 in year 2009 for windows (CIP p. 2-145).

We have NO IDEA if we are getting a ‘deal’ on the IT expansion because we never put it out for bid. And I can guarantee if it is put out for bid ‘after the fact’ there would be someone who would come in under $1.5 Million.

Open bids save tax dollars, and for councilor Kiley to say otherwise is just ludicrous and ignorant.

Sioux Falls City Councilors Neitzert & Kiley cry wolf

I really got a laugh out of Greg and Rick last night when they acted like a couple of babies crying over the legislative priority amendments calling them ‘last minute’;

“I just want to state I’m going to vote no on any amendment that’s brought tonight because, frankly, the process is broken because we’re just springing amendment after amendment without talking to anybody else at the last minute,” Neitzert says.

Council Member Rick Kiley also refused to vote on any amendments brought forward and said the Council needs to follow the process.

Kiley says, “It has to go back to the process. I mean, there’s been a number of us that have been hit over the head with the word ‘transparency.’ This is anything but transparent. And so, I, like councilor Neitzert, am not going to vote on anything that is brought forward for the first time this evening.”

The problem with their pouting session is that these amendments are far from last minute (they are NOT finalized until December – see below) and even if it was final last night, who cares? These are merely ‘suggestions‘ from the Sioux Falls City Council to the State Legislature. These ‘suggestions’ hold as much weight if an average citizen would grab a legislator at a cracker barrel and make the same suggestions.

The city council has been making amendments to these ‘suggestions’ for years.

I also found it refreshing that the city council’s operations manager, Jim David, was the one who had to show the council the actual timeline below. I have told councilors I have always appreciated Mr. David’s professionalism and integrity. He never sugarcoats things. I wish the entire council staff was like Mr. David.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Rick Kiley misses all 3 budget hearings

One of the most important jobs of city councilors is approving or amending the yearly budget. How can you ask questions about a $500M+ budget when you don’t even attend the meetings? Rick is always the one who tells us he ‘studies’ things before making a decision. I guess he studied the budget on the golf course.

Does it pay to be on the NSP Energy board?

Last night at the Sioux Falls City Council meeting, Councilor Kiley recused himself from voting on items #21-22 that have to do with Northern States Power. I do know that councilors in the past have served on some kind of board with the energy company, so it was wise of him to recuse himself.

Usually these boards have some kind of compensation to be on them, or at the least compensate for travel/lodging and meeting time. A state official has said that Kiley is NOT being paid to be on the board, which seems a little strange. Would you serve on an energy board without pay out of the goodness of your heart? And if you were not getting paid to be on the board, what’s the point in recusal?

It just doesn’t add up. If anyone has a link showing the board members and compensation, that would be helpful.

Councilor Kiley blames God for Potholes instead crappy road contractors

Sioux Falls City Councilors only listen when you mime

Councilor Rolfing didn’t enjoy my Paganini impression.

I have probably talked numerous hours over the past 15 years in front of the city councilors. But it seems all that mouthing off never got their attention. It took my mime of playing a violin in the very back row of the council chambers last night to finally get a reaction out of them. As I was doing this during one of Kiley’s ‘Life is Beautiful’ speeches while referring to the Presentation Sisters apartment complex (that will pay NO property taxes) he yelled out something like this;

“Yeah, play your violin back there Mr. Ehrisman. Very direspectful sir, very disrespectful.”

I responded;

“Like you’ve never disrespected me?”

In which I let out a hearty laugh. Mayor TenHaken told me not to address the dais unless I was offering public input. PTH also gave a good stare at the security guard. I guess, according to state law, it’s ok to carry a concealed weapon into council chambers without a permit, but laughter will not be tolerated. Sorry, I will not be called out by an elected official sitting on the dais without reacting.

Which brings me to my point. They seem to be deaf, dumb and blind when citizens are testifying about the importance of transparency and good government but I guess the only way to get their attention is to publicly shame them. I better rosin up my bow.

Two Sioux Falls City Councilors supporting troublesome school bond issue

Councilors Kiley and Erickson have joined the drum beat of public officials who are encouraging people to vote yes for the school bond issue. It is well within their 1st Amendment rights to voice their opinions. What is troublesome though is that we have elected officials who support not only a dubious election but a very wasteful bond loan. For every $3 we put towards this in tax dollars over $1 goes towards interest and bond investors. Over a $100 million of tax dollars that will never be spent on education.

Another city councilor has worked behind the scenes to try to get the election to use ALL of the precincts, no E-Poll books and have the vote be electronically counted by the Minnehaha County Auditor. Their request fell on deaf ears.

The E-Poll books failed in the primaries because the company that created them no longer services them (Hart Interactiv) and another company, B-Pro has stepped in to try to get them to work. If the E-Poll books don’t work properly there is no way of knowing if people voted multiple times, and if they are hand counted, there is no way of knowing if ballots have been tampered with.

While the election process and extreme waste of tax dollars is troubling in itself, it upsets me even more that we have two public officials promoting this.

Talk about a lack of fiscal responsibility and democratic principles.

Water Rates going up? That’s news to me.

Apparently Councilor Rick Kiley has a crystal ball, because he is predicting our water and sewer rates are going up;

“They foresee a possible increase of about $2 per month for a family of five,” city councilor Rick Kiley said.

Kiley says the city knew this day was coming.

“You never want to raise rates, but in a situation like this where we are at 82% capacity today, we have a community that’s growing by 5,000 people every year and we are bringing on regional customers in addition to that it’s the prudent thing to do now is to expand our existing facilities,” Kiley said.

The city council will be voting on the funding this project when it passes the city budget in October.

While I agree we need to fix up a 1980’s water treatment plant, if we didn’t switch the rates over to enterprise funds we could easily pay the bonds with 2nd penny CIP revenue without raising fees. But see, former mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut wanted to free up the 2nd penny from paying for silly old water pipes, and use it for paying down bonds for monument building.

So now our taxes are going up for a new jail, and Minnehaha county admitted at their Tuesday meeting (Commissioner Barth) that there will likely be another opt out, put that on top of a 25 year around $300 million dollar new school bond and our already existing $300 million city debt, and things are going to get a lot more expensive in Sioux Falls, including taking a dump.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Selberg moving forward with ‘Huether/Rolfing’ memorial ordinance

That’s what I am calling the proposed ordinance Tuesday Night (Item#9 – 1st Reading) to change the order of the meeting agenda so public input is at the end of the meeting. The irony of it is that Public Input became a ruckus because of the lack of respect and decorum Huether and Rolfing showed to the commenters. Often laughing at, heckling, or making cry baby speeches at the people who would come up and speak truth to power. They were incredibly disrespectful and arrogant, than they wondered why someone would call them an SOB? Go figure.

They are trying to change the rules because of ONE person’s actions. But in reality, that is just an excuse they are using. The city has been embarrassed time and time again because of the input from citizens at the council meetings;

• Walmart on 85th

• Copper Lounge Collapse

• Oak View neighborhood

• Events Center Siding

• Administration building

• Downtown noise ordinance

• Poorly negotiated RR redevelopment deal

. . . and the list goes on.

This isn’t about one person’s potty mouth or a disenfranchised veteran, this is about stopping public commenters from pointing out important issues in our city. Some of the best solutions to problems and awareness comes from the people who come and bring public input. That is why the former mayor and certain councilors hated it so much.

I asked Councilor Neitzert in a text today how he would vote on the first reading (he seems to be the deciding vote) he gave me a line about coming up with a ‘pros and cons’ list. I told him it would be hypocritical of him to support this, especially since he used public input many times as a citizen and ran on transparency in government. Pushing citizens to the back of the line is certainly NOT a PRO to open and transparent government. I’m just hoping Greg sees the light by the time Tuesday rolls around. Besides, transparency was the #1 issue in this last election. Moving public input to the end of the meeting wreaks of closed government.

Either way, I will remind the ENTIRE council once again why this would be a very BAD idea to change.

• It has worked well for 16 years. I remember when Munson was mayor there were several nights when public input got a little heated. Dave wasn’t shy, he dropped the gavel and told you to sit down. That is what a GOOD leader/chair does, they take control of the meeting and situation. You don’t change the rules for the majority because a tiny minority has a potty mouth. TenHaken needs to be a leader and instead of supporting this (I hear he does) he needs to take control of the meetings. Maybe before Tuesday he can get some tips from Munson on that.

• The family friendly argument is a joke. I didn’t know a government meeting was like an episode of the Brady Bunch. Besides, let’s talk family friendly. Was it family friendly to approve going into partnership with a developer who’s contractor caused the death of a worker? Is that what you mean by family friendly? I am way more offended by that than if a person says SOB at a meeting.

• What the heck has Councilor Marshall Selberg done in 2 years? Besides voting on developments that benefit his employer without recusing himself (conflict of interest) he has contributed NO legislation. So his first order of business is to push through anti-dissent legislation? Wow! He really has NO CLUE about public service.

• As I mentioned above, half the problem with public input solved itself when Mike and Rex left.

• I have also argued that this will actually make the meetings longer, because people will show up for public input and start to comment on all the agenda items. If you have 4-5 people from the public speaking for 4-5 minutes on every agenda item, the meetings could get very long. And once you get to public input, they could let you have it again about the decisions that were made that night. Do you really want to end your meetings that way?

Finally I will say what I have said to the council a thousand times already – the citizens own this government, not the banksters and developers and mega-plex hospitals. The public should have the first opportunity to speak at meetings and the rest of them, who are essentially benefitting from the city either financially or otherwise can wait. Besides, like standing in a long line at the courthouse to get your license plates, waiting until the end of the meeting for public input is another form of taxation. Everyone else in the room (councilors, mayor, directors, city employees, bar owners, developers, etc) are getting paid to be there, we are not, but we are funding the operation that’s why we get to go first.

Public input is NOT broken, it just needs to be handled better by the chair, someone who is willing to gavel and put people in their place when they use potty mouth or ramble about what happened to them in 1973.

Leave it as is!

CONTACT the council and mayor’s office and tell them how you feel.

I know that Selberg, Kiley and TenHaken support this. I think that Erickson and Soehl MAY support this. Brekke, Starr and Stehly DO NOT. So far Neitzert is undecided.