Entries Tagged 'Tom Greco' ↓

UPDATE II: Can the Sioux Falls City Council consider a 4th meeting in January a regular meeting for the next month?

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. …. 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;

Dear friends,

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:

§ 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. …. 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:

§ 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;

Bruce,

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.

Tom

Bruce responded back before the agenda was posted, but hasn’t heard a response back;

Tom,

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.

Is the lazy local Sioux Falls Media blowing off the City’s open meetings violations?

Of course they are. They don’t understand it (we will get to that in a moment) and they don’t want to ruffle feathers. It reminds of what Greg Belfrage said this morning on his show, about talking about politics at family events, he says he doesn’t. I believe him, because he doesn’t know a damn thing about politics and he is probably afraid he would embarrass himself, and he couldn’t hide from his liberal uncle by hanging up the phone on him while passing the gravy.

Many in the media have chosen to not talk about the open meetings violation because they have told the complainant that it is ‘too complicated’. A city official said that it is NOT a big deal and just an ‘ordinance violation’.

First it is NOT complicated and secondly, an open meetings violation is a big deal.

The city is required to have public input on items that are pulled from the consent agenda. Now mind you, if it is about spending $33 on a squirrel feeder at a park, probably NOT pressing, but still required, but this was about a liquor license for a bar with several questionable police calls and underage violations (the real story here), and the fact that the complainant had told many city officials she was going to speak about the item when pulled days in advance. I think the Chair of the meeting, Mayor Paul TenHaken did not call public input on purpose, because he didn’t want to hear what she had to say.

This is why this is IMPORTANT and should be shared in the media. You may not always agree with freedom of speech, but it is equal for all of us whether you want to talk about a gun stuck up your butt all day, a fertilized egg that has a heartbeat, that AR-15s are standard for EMTs, defunding the police or bars that are allowing teenagers to get pistol whipped when they illegally came into the adult establishment.

The simple, real story here is that the Mayor, Paul ‘Poops’ TenHaken violated the law by not allowing public input and a bar skirted any public rebuke because of a lazy, cowardly city staff and council and an oblivious media that doesn’t want to work to hard, if at all.

Is the infrastructure bill and January 6th investigations complicated? YES. And we have thousands of reports about them we can read every day. Is censoring public input complicated? F’CK NO! And we should have at least 2-3 local media reports about it. But we don’t.

Maybe if the meeting was held in a food truck?

Open Meetings Violation Filed against the City of Sioux Falls

The below document is actually a ‘notice’ to the city that one will be filed next week with the State’s Attorney office. I believe that it refers to presentations during the consent agenda in which the Chair (Mayor TenHaken) did not ask for public input. It was also the responsibility of the City Attorney, the City Clerk and the Chair of the Council, this is why they are mentioned in the complaint.

I also want to clarify, I wasn’t the one who caught this, I missed the part in the meeting when this occurred as I was on a phone call (I watch the meetings live from home). Sierra is the one who actually caught it and took action on her own.

The irony of all this is that I just told the Charter Revision Commission last week that public input at city meetings was broken and needed to be fixed.

Stay tuned, much more to come next week.

Is it time for the Sioux Falls City Council to have ‘The Talk’ with their (our) city clerk?

If you FF the above meeting to 1:10:00 you will see an incident that should have never occurred. It was all spurred by the chair of the meeting (Mayor TenHaken) attempting to shut down public input. Though after he gets his butt handed to him by fellow councilors he proclaims he wasn’t going to shut it down. Yeah, sure, you betcha. He announced at the beginning of public input on the mask mandate that he was going to shut it down at one hour, and exactly at the one hour mark he proceeded with his ‘summary’ in which councilor Starr asked for a point of order. All the shouting back and forth could have ended there.

How?

Well, the chair should have automatically recognized the point of order, he did not, because even after 2 years he still doesn’t understand how to run a meeting.

The city attorney could have jumped in, but since he basically only works for the mayor, he sat there like a bump on a log.

It was actually the job of the city clerk to recognize the point order, he eventually did, but he had to get chided by several councilors to do so. Tom Greco, the city clerk, has been here long enough to know he should intervene in these matters, he works for the council and it is there meeting, he should have automatically, politely told the mayor they needed to rule on Starr’s point of order.

I have often been concerned about the cozy relationship between Greco and TenHaken, it is unhealthy and not good for open government. Tom was appointed/hired by the city council and he must answer to his 8 managers NOT the mayor’s office or even the city attorney’s office.

I highly recommend the city council have an executive session with Greco (this is the legal way to handle personnel issues) and encourage him to intervene moving forward. I would also encourage the council to tell him they fully support him and will back him up if he gets any attacks from the chair for doing so. I don’t think it would be appropriate to punish Tom or censure him for what happened Tuesday, but I would tell him that this is a polite reminder and warning to do his job or take a hike.

Sidenote; I’ve been hearing a lot of blame going around that Councilor Starr is the one who forced the mayor to vote on the tie, but the interesting part is the mayor is the one who was playing games. I guess he approached a certain councilor to vote a certain way so he wouldn’t have to break a tie and that councilor refused, so right before the meeting Paul supposedly cornered Jensen to vote so he wouldn’t have to break a tie, and Jensen bailed on his promise to Kiley. This of course is why Starr likely pulled the Joker from his hand. It’s often important to remember that our beloved mayor plays a lot of these games behind the scenes, and when things don’t go his way he is quick to point fingers. Paul, you are the one that is responsible for the Sh!t Show Tuesday night, no one else.

The Sioux Falls City Election Re-Count fireworks could start next week

City Councilor Theresa Stehly has until 5 PM on Tuesday to file her re-count intentions. As far as I know she intends to do that. After that Jensen has 3 days to pick a representative (likely a lawyer) in which I’m not even sure if he has one yet, because who I thought it might be may have backed out.

The city clerk also has 3 days to pick an independent person for review (likely an outside attorney). Some names in that ballpark have been thrown around, but nothing definitive. One of the names I heard is a real rat, and I am being kind. Either way, Stehly and Jensen must both agree on the independent person, so that process could take a few days.

After that I suspect some silly motions in court to stop the recount before it starts on a technicality. I’m not sure if that would hold up in court since a recount can be called within a 2% margin and I believe the margin in this race was around .05%. There will also be a legal battle about what votes can be reviewed and looked at, like undervotes and spoiled ballots. There is also the possibility of absentee ballots that arrived on Tuesday before 7 PM that didn’t get opened and counted (I think these ballots are the lynchpin because Stehly won the absentee ballot part of the race).

Once the logistics of what votes can be counted then the counting can start, which I don’t think will last more than 2-3 days. But who knows at this point. I suspect the process all together could take 2-3 weeks. Stehly remains on the council until the process is finished and an installation ceremony is scheduled, which I suspect will be almost immediate, especially if Jensen wins.

While some don’t have much confidence Stehly can turn the tide, I actually am hopeful she can and been having a weird feeling lately that she will. I’ve never felt this confident about an election before. Of course all the stars will have to align, and we know that isn’t possible because of the hatred towards Stehly and her policy ideas. If the re-count happens, this will be more explosive than the fireworks at Mt. Rushmore and a historic moment in city politics. If anything, it will be a fun one to watch.

Mayor TenHaken says he will provide city board appointees bios ‘in the future’ if we want to see them

FF: 2:36:30

In a blatant disregard for openness and transparency, Paul has not provided city board appointees bios in the past two times they have been on the city council agenda. He did it tonight for the second time.

Councilor Pat Starr asked why those bios are not being provided any more and Paul said that if he wanted to see them he will provide them in the future. Pat reminded the mayor that he asked in an email yesterday for those bios. Paul responded, “From who?” Starr said that he sent an email request to COS Beck, City Clerk Greco and from the council operations manager, to no avail.

Now this is not something that has traditionally happened. I think the last administration started providing the bios when appointees were on the agenda, and Paul continued up until the last two times. Why did they disappear? I don’t know why, and I sent an email to councilors Brekke, Stehly and Starr last week to find out why.

I guess in some kind of weird defiance, the rumor going around is the COS didn’t provide them to Starr because “Scott was requesting them.”

Let me make it clear, when I ask for information, it isn’t for my own satisfaction, it is to post that information on my blog so constituents can see it.

I think it is insane that the administration thinks it is appropriate to stop providing these bios, they may be volunteers, but citizens have a right to know who the people are making these decisions for us, whether they are paid or elected or appointed.

Starr was the only councilor to vote against the appointments tonight. Bravo!

This constant fight for the simplest of transparent actions is getting old.

Sioux Falls City Salaries released

The numbers just came out this afternoon, so I have yet to fully review them. But after a quick look I was surprised to see that a lot of the mid-management got around $7,000 raises. I guess what surprises me is that sales taxes only went up about 3.5% from the year before (still waiting on final numbers).

Funny how the building permit numbers and raises come out almost instantly after January 1st, but we are still waiting on sales tax returns.

One surprise that stuck out was the City Clerk’s raise of $7,446. When Tom Greco was hired after retiring from the military, he was put at the top of the pay scale immediately, even though he doesn’t have a city clerk certification. In fact, after promising to get that certification, he still doesn’t have it. I guess I don’t understand that large of a pay raise when he still has to receive certification after 3 years. Also, his two assistant city clerks actually have more tenure, experience and certifications than their boss, go figure.

Here are the past three years of salary records;

2019-Wages

2018-Wages

2017-Wages

Sioux Falls City Council Clerk’s wife, Jennifer Greco is running for Harrisburg School Board

Well, unlike her husband, I hope she registered to vote before enlisting herself 🙂

As I understand it, Jennifer and Tom live in Sioux Falls but are in the Harrisburg School District.

Today, Harrisburg announced that the HS principal, Lein, resigned to take a job in Iowa, but it seems he may be embroiled with a little controversy stirred up by Mrs. Greco;

The next day, Lein was back at his desk, arm in a sling, hugging students and fostering the “Harrisburg Strong” mantra.

And Lein himself has been strong in the face of a group of Harrisburg High School parents rooting for him to leave.

The “Parents for HHS Change” Facebook group had about 150 members as of Wednesday morning.

The group is rooted in opposition of MOD classes and administered by Jennifer Greco, who is seeking a seat on the Harrisburg school board in the May 9 election.

“There is a little faction that exists of parents that were upset and certain folks that definitely had an ax to grind with (Lein),” Knudson said.

Greco said the main feeling among group members Wednesday was that Lein’s resignation was a positive for students who don’t participate in customized learning. She hopes to see change in what she calls a divided culture at Harrisburg High School between traditional and MOD students.

“Dr. Lein is clearly very invested in making customized learning work, and that’s fine,” Greco said. “But I just also want to make sure the traditional program works.”

Kind of wonder if Jennifer sent any middle of the night ranting email to Lein about her military service and sick kids like her husband did to Cameraman Bruce 🙂

She had this to say on her FB page about her opposition to CL;

Many know that my interest in running for a seat on the Harrisburg School Board was sparked by concerns about the divisive culture in the high school. After meeting other parents and hearing their concerns, I am afraid a similar atmosphere is permeating throughout the district as new curricula are being introduced in our other schools.

To run for an elected office focusing on ONE issue is never a good idea, but it seems South Dakota voters continue to elect those kinds of people (Republicans, Guns & Abortion). Hopefully the good people in the Harrisburg School District realize that ONE-ISSUE candidates are not qualified, kind of like a retired military official running a city clerk’s office, I’m just saying.