Hizzoner is going to be appointing a new Fire Chief today (no hugs please). According to early reports, they will be picking the chief form an internal pool. While there is nothing wrong with that process, some are asking if the mayor’s choice has any investments tied in with Sideras on real estate or other assets?

Hopefully this part of the interview has been vetted, and we will see if our local media asks the question today at the press conference.

The HR director of the city of Sioux Falls, Bill Dah’Toole, says Sideras gets his full pension. (Watch all 3 of KSFY’s videos) While I understand getting his ‘vested’ pension, I question if a terminated director who is accused of child pornography should receive one more penny of tax dollars with his pension or extended healthcare. But the bigger question is, was he terminated or did Huether ‘cut a deal’. Notice Huether NEVER said he fired Jim, only that he ‘in-acted’ the process. As I understand it, if you are terminated, you only get your vested pension.

It is very suspicious, and certainly not right.

Also, I find it interesting that they are only interviewing internal candidates, some of the same people who have invested with Sideras on lake front property. Isn’t this a gigantic conflict of interest? Of course the mayor needs to hire someone internally so he can keep the conflicts and internal scandals at bay.

Makes you wonder if the Mayor shares any investments with Sideras or his lake front buddies?

UPDATE: I guess by city ordinance, there are no rules against Sideras receiving his pension, no matter what he did after his eligibility. At the age of 60 he will get his pension and health benefits (or his wife).

UPDATE: As we already know, Mr. Sideras was charged with possession of 10 counts of child pornography. If you read the search warrant affidavit, you will see they have ample evidence against him. He of course deserves his day in court. If found guilty, it will be truly sad that a man of this position in our city did what he did. So how does this reflect on the city and how it chooses its directors? When former assistant chief Patrick Warren was charged with hacking Sideras’ computer, Warren said he suffered from mental illness, and he urged the city to do a better job of evaluating the mental health of city employees. Could Sideras possible obsession with child pornography be caught in such an evaluation? While the city seems to be concerned about the health and well being of the minions, do they do evaluations on managers and offer them assistance? If the city learns anything from this episode, they need to start getting serious about the mental capacity and well being of their managers and directors.

Trust me, I have had hundreds of conversations with people over the past week about the possible reasons Sideras’ home was searched. And I have heard it all.

But with many of these conversations, people are asking the obvious. Why did the city decide to terminate Sideras before charges were brought against him?

In most cases, when a public official is embroiled in an investigation, and hasn’t been arrested or charged, they are put on administrative leave. I find it hard to believe that Sideras quit on his own, especially with the possibility of losing his pension.

This is all puzzling because the mayor has said over the past couple of days he ‘knows nothing’.

Yeah right.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea. There are some educated guesses, but like most crime related situations I think everyone deserves their day in court.

I do know that with my past conversations with former assistant chief, Patrick Warren that Warren did file complaints as early as 2011 against the chief over some employment issues and unauthorized vacation time. Those complaints were also sent to the city council after Warren’s termination in 2014. As far as Warren knew, no action was taken against Sideras due to Warren’s complaints.

Like I said, we will have to wait to see how this plays out. It makes me sad, because we have several fine individuals who work for the SFFD and I would hate to see the organization tarnished over the wrongdoings of their outgoing Chief.

Friday afternoon I noticed that a new episode of Inside Town Hall appeared on the City of Sioux Falls You Tube page. It was the normal setup. City councilor Kiley had on the Director of 911, Matt Burns (SFPD) and the chief of the fire department to talk about their working relationships. The one thing I noticed when I started viewing the video was that it was 44 minutes long (most episodes are 30 minutes). While there was nothing revealing in the show itself, right at the 30 minute mark it went into a 14 minute (muted) video of the building collapse rescue efforts. There were several breaks in the video and it looked professionally shot, at one point it seemed also a drone was used (or shot from a fire truck ladder).

I gathered that this video was probably shot by City Link crew. While I commend them for doing this, it also got me thinking about a lot of other angles.

• What did it cost to have a city film crew on site for that long?

• While we won’t film parks board meetings, somehow the city found it necessary to film this event?

• Why would the city not do an investigation when they had this kind of crucial footage, which included them marking the cracks in PAVE’s wall, a crane holding up the wall, and pulling away the damaged car?

• Was the footage turned over to the insurance companies and OSHA?

• Why shoot this video (which included the rescue of the apartment dweller being pulled from the wreckage) when we don’t send a film crew to every fire rescue event?

• Were they planning on using this video as some kind of propaganda?

• And lastly, why was this posted to YouTube and now has disappeared from the site?

After watching the video, I talked openly about watching it to a group of friends at Drinking Liberally Friday night at the Taphouse. Did someone in the group (or near the table) report this back to the city?

It’s funny how transparency works in this town.