UPDATE: Councilor Starr attempted to change the meeting tonight to a ‘special meeting’ with pushback from the council and especially the city clerk, Tom Greco. Greco argued you can have a rescheduled meeting any time. While true, he is ignoring this part of the charter which requires any 4th meeting in the same month be called a Special Meeting.
The city council shall hold meetings on the first, second, and third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Carnegie Town Hall. The first meeting of the month shall be designated the regular meeting. â€¦. When the day fixed for a city council meeting falls on a date designated by law as a legal or national holiday, the meeting shall be held at the same hour on the next succeeding day, not a holiday.
They tried to get Pat to withdraw his motion that was seconded by Brekke, but he said he would not so all 8 of them voted it down. When Brekke was asking Greco about issues raised about the time of the meeting, one of the councilors said into their microphone ‘By Who?’. Inferring outside influence. (it sounded like Neitzert or Jensen?)
Sierra said she would probably be filing another open meetings violation since they chose NOT to call it a special meeting.
As you can see in July, the council had 3 regular meetings and 2 special meetings. Notice NO 4th meeting is considered a regular meeting.
I will try to lay this out to make it as less confusing as possible before we go into the back and forth with the City Council and City Clerk. Basically by charter the city council can have 1-3 REGULAR meetings per month and if they have additional meetings that month to do business (voting) they MUST call that meeting a ‘special’ meeting in which 6 city councilors sign off on. My curiosity peaked this week when I found it strange that the city council didn’t have a meeting on Tuesday but called a meeting this Monday, January 31st and are considering it a regular meeting for February because they moved the meeting to Monday because they are going to the legislature on Tuesday. Nothing wrong with moving meeting dates, they already voted on it, the problem is any additional meetings after the 3rd regular within the same month should be called a ‘special’ meeting. The city clerk disagrees.
Bruce Danielson sent this email to the entire city council and the city clerk, Tom Greco;
I’m asking a question regarding process in our continuing efforts to pursue good government and avoid potential problems which may arise from improperly holding a Regular City Council monthly meeting in the wrong month.
How is it possible or legal to have a first or the regular meeting for February when in fact it is a 4th meeting in January?
Should it be a special meeting for the month of January? It is in reality a 4th meeting for January and thus a Special Meeting.
The Charter of the City of Sioux Falls states:
Â§ 30.001 COUNCIL MEETINGS.
(b) The city council shall hold meetings on the first, second, and third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Carnegie Town Hall. The first meeting of the month shall be designated the regular meeting. â€¦. When the day fixed for a city council meeting falls on a date designated by law as a legal or national holiday, the meeting shall be held at the same hour on the next succeeding day, not a holiday.
(d) The city council may by resolution, when necessary, change the time and place of any meeting. The resolution shall set forth the circumstances necessitating the change. The resolution shall be published at least 24 hours prior to the rescheduled meeting. The city clerk, or the city clerk’s designee, shall give each council member written notice either in person, by mail, email or other electronic means of any change from the meeting days established by this section.
Nowhere in the Sioux Falls Charter Â§ 30.001 COUNCIL MEETINGS does it state the possibility of conducting a February Regular Meeting in January or any other month. If this was possible, the City Council could hold all of its monthly regular meetings in any month: i.e. why not hold all the monthly Regular Meetings on different days in January or even all on the same day at different times so the requirement is met all at once?
The relationship-building efforts in Pierre on the first Tuesday of February does not constitute a legal holiday but it has become a tradition with the Council to use the Monday prior for the meeting. It would be legal and proper when it is in the legal month. In Charter, when the Tuesday is not available for a meeting, the next business day is available for the meeting or the Wednesday. But we have a problem, the Planning Commission normally gathers on the 1st Wednesday at 6pm, so a likely meeting day, thus meeting the legal requirement, is the following Thursday or February 3rd. When setting the calendar, the Council should have noted the issue and set the three February meetings to be the 8th, 15th, and 22nd to meet legal calendar requirements. How is it possible to deem a meeting as legal for the month and it not be in the month? The legal notices and necessary transactions for a proper City Council Regular meeting would appear to be legal only when commenced in the legal month it is intended for.
The Charter does allow for Special Meetings to be called but nowhere in Â§ 30.002 SPECIAL MEETINGS allows for a Regular meeting to be held in a different month called for in Charter:
Â§ 30.002 SPECIAL MEETINGS.
(a) The mayor, acting mayor or six members of the city council may call special meetings of the city council whenever in its opinion the public business may require it.
(b) Whenever a special meeting is called, a notice in writing signed by the mayor, acting mayor or the council members requesting the meeting shall be prepared by and filed with the city clerk, or the city clerk’s designee, and served forthwith upon each member of the city council at least 24 hours prior to the meeting or by 4:00 p.m. the day prior to the meeting, whichever occurs first, either in person, by e-mail or other electronic means, or by notice left at the city council member’s place of residence. The notice shall state the date and hour of the meeting and the purpose for which the meeting is called and, whenever reasonably possible, the background and objective of any item that requires action by the city council. The notice shall be posted on the city’s website by the city clerk’s office. However, the provisions of this section do not apply to any information that is specifically exempt from disclosure under state public record laws in effect at the time. Additional printed material may be distributed to the governing body in accordance with SDCL 1-27-1-16. No business shall be transacted at the meeting except such as is stated in the notice.
(c) No special meeting shall be held until at least 24 hours after the call is issued.
The City Council must move the Regular Meeting to February 8th 2022 to meet the requirement of having the monthly meeting in the month stated to conduct required city business in the legal month. Having the meeting on Monday, January 31st, 2022 will make it a 4th meeting of January and it becomes a Special Meeting for January.
On behalf of the thousands of Sioux Falls voters, I kindly ask you to consider the issues I have brought forth and reconsider what day to conduct the February 1st City Council regular meeting.
Respectfully, Bruce Danielson
Sioux Falls City Clerk Tom Greco is the only one that responded with an explanation;
Thanks for your e-mail. The City Council is permitted to change the time and place of any meeting and neither the City Charter nor City Ordinance provide any restrictions as to the rescheduling except that at least one Regular Meeting will be held each month. In turn, moving a meeting from February 1st to January 31st is permissible.
As noted, the City Charter requires at least one Regular Meeting per month and further provides for the ability to meet more frequently and to designate which meeting is deemed the Regular Meeting. As such, City Ordinance set the first, second, and third Tuesday of each month as meeting days with the first meeting of the month a Regular Meeting. Again, the Council retains the ability to change the time of any of the aforementioned meetings to a different time and place (which may or may not coincide with another meeting date). On several occasions in the past 15 years previous Councils have changed meetings from one of the aforementioned days to another of the aforementioned days, which effectively canceled one of the meetings. This was a permissible alternative for the February 1st meeting (i.e. change such business to February 8th), but not chosen for obvious reasons. In no case has the Council ever gone a full month without at least one Regular meeting.
Because City Ordinance establishes the first meeting of a month as the Regular Meeting, the meeting of February 8th would be the Regular Meeting for the month of February.
Thanks and if you have any questions please let me know.
Bruce responded back before the agenda was posted, but hasn’t heard a response back;
My main question remains unanswered. This will be a considered a January Special meeting when this meeting is posted today?
You stated the first meeting of the month will be on the 8th, so by your own email, you are saying this will be a Special meeting for January because it is in January.
How will it a rescheduled Regular meeting for February, moved into January, when you have not had the first Regular meeting for February. The Charter is clear there cannot be more than 3 Regular meetings in a month. It appears it would not be proper or likely legal to label a 4th meeting in January as a Regular meeting when there have already had 3 meetings in January.
For historical and legal reasons, a Regular meeting not held in the month it is required to be in, will likely cause issues in the future and a bad precedent. In my research I have not found a monthly Regular meeting not held in the month it was scheduled for as the Charter lays out.
BTW, you stated there was an oblivious reason, please explain what was oblivious.
Also, will the Council have a 3rd meeting in the month of February as required by Charter?
NOTE: Some would say this is just splitting hairs. Yes and no. While there is nothing strange or nefarious about what is being conducted at the Monday meeting, there is the question of properly following procedures and the charter as Bruce laid out. We have seen this over and over again with this administration and council staff. Missing agenda items, not properly posting meetings, not allowing public input (I will have more on that next week) and even public officials accosting me after meetings in the lobby as a form of intimidation and a violation of my 1st Amendment rights. Rules that are laid out in the charter for how we conduct business should ALWAYS be followed. If the council, the mayor or citizens don’t like certain rules, you can change them, but if they are on the books they should be followed. This should be a special meeting and it looks like the council is setting themselves up for another open meetings violation due to sloppy governing and ignorance.