How does an elected official get a severance when they resign?

I haven’t posted about the resignation of Minnehaha County State’s Attorney because I knew many news agencies would cover this and I was waiting for all the details available to me.

But what I don’t understand is ‘why’ would we give an elected official a payout to resign? First off, even if nothing was done wrong (let’s say he is leaving because of health issues – which is part of it) why would he need a payout for that? I’m sure his health issues are covered by his insurance.

But secondly, if he has done something wrong (The Public Assurance Alliance, the AG and the Commission are all investigating him for sexual harassment and other things) why would we pay him to NOT sue the taxpayers?

Some on the MCC (I’ve heard) have argued the payout is a lot cheaper then fighting a lawsuit, which on it’s face is probably true. But why would he be suing the taxpayers? If you are accused of wrongdoing, it would be your responsibility to pay for your defense – whether you are found guilty or not. He could sue later for being falsely accused, but would he?

Am I missing something here?

Then there is his staff members who didn’t report this to the MCC. Why?

But lastly, as I have said before, where was the MCC when McGowan was asking for all this extra funding? Wouldn’t they want to audit his department and see if everything was on the up and up?*

This was a failure of government on many levels. Government employees failed us, elected officials failed us (Both State and County) and the State’s Attorney failed us.

Has the MCC commission learned anything from the fairgrounds fiasco and embezzlement? We pay each member of the MCC around $25K a year as part-time officials. Is this not enough money to do their jobs? Maybe that is the real fraud here. Paying an elected body who are consistently in the dark because apparently their heads are stuffed somewhere, I’ll let you take your guesses.

Maybe this is why the MCC is consistently non-transparent, maybe because they don’t even know what is going on?

*Cindy Heiberger is the liaison for the State’s attorney’s office.

TenHaken interview reveals his lack of leadership

The first thing he does in this interview is blame the last guy for the problems with the Bunker Ramp. While there is ‘some’ truth to that, he could have put the brakes on immediately after he took office, instead he took a piece of toilet paper signed by developers that said they were good for the money.

Then he says he doesn’t want to do an audit until after it is finished, while that is SOP, and I get it from a financial standpoint, there is NOTHING stopping him from looking into what went wrong RIGHT NOW. That doesn’t take an audit to achieve, it requires him doing his job as the city manager and city employees boss (his main job according to charter) and putting a boot up their butts or at least a stern talking to and get them on investigating what went wrong before we sign on the dotted line for another developer to finish it.

He once again fails to lead.

I really believe one of the reasons the deal fell through towards the end is because of the Sioux Steel development and potential for a TIF funded parking ramp.

This is pure speculation of course, but think about it for a moment, what if they would have allowed the Bunker Ramp Hotel to be ‘scaled back’ and finished? That means a nice hotel in the center of our downtown would have opened at least a year before the Sioux Steel Hotel and Convention Center. Things that make you go hmmmmmm. I won’t get into all the players involved, but something smells funny here.

Towards the end of the interview, PTH continues to blabber about charging non-profits for police assistance, China and Kermit.

YMCA Youth Center is a great idea, but let’s be cautious

Before I even had a chance to allow the thought to pop into my head, someone said to me,

“How much you wanna bet this project will come to the city to help fund it, either in capital, operations, or both?”

I have yet to hear that, but seeing some of the players involved with this, I’m not going to hold my breath.

Half-Penny Sales tax increase was a bad idea from the get go

Noem keeps up with the tradition of past Republican Governors in our state, telling us how poor we are right before the legislative session, then once it is over they start spending money on pet projects (mostly corporate handouts). Oldest trick in the book. This even comes after added revenue from online sales and the half penny increase;

Noem announced her budget plans Tuesday, which urged state departments to tighten their belts as they head into a difficult financial year. That plan included not having any discretionary inflation increases for overall K-12 education, Medicaid providers and state employees.

But that means there will be no change between target teacher salaries from 2020 to 2021, making it the third year the state has fallen behind on its promise to keep teacher pay competitive if the budget passes

I said it was a bad idea to raise taxes because I knew this would happen, the money went straight into the general fund for the Governor and legislature to waste. Even after several years, it still makes me livid that the legislature didn’t find the money elsewhere (that they have in investment funds) to pay teachers more. Now we are back to square one, and an unneeded tax increase to boot. Don’t get me started. Our State government has been inept for decades, and gets worse by the day.

Someone needs to tell some state legislators that they take an oath to the US and State Constitution, not the Bible

This quote says everything you need to know why laws coming out of Pierre are so ‘whacked’;

“Is it perfect? There’s only one thing I know that’s perfect, and that’s called the Bible,” he said.

It was in reference to the proposed hemp legislation. I have told legislators in the past if you want to live in a theocracy, move to the middle east, and let us govern this state and country with laws that MAN created.

A Couple of Turkeys

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.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Dec 2-4, 2019

Audit Committee Meeting • 4 PM • Monday, Dec 2

They are planning to play a little catchup by planning on doing 12 audits in 2020. Two audits are follow-ups and four are carry-overs.

External Audit Discussion

Landfill Licensing Audit

City Council Informational • 4 PM • Tuesday, Dec 3

Events Center Campus Study Report

Presentation on the transit situation. I have not got an update on what happened at the meeting on Monday, but I hear they have been having troubles getting a contract with a technology contractor.

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM • Tuesday, Dec 3

Item #7, Approval of Contracts, another $700K to Pavilion. This place is constantly bleeding money. I heard recently one of the main reasons they have been able to break attendance records is because they would put on a frequent FREE event at the arts center. Imagine that, letting people in for FREE would increase attendance. Who knew? Maybe they should try that – wait.

Item #29, Deferred license for C-Store by Dudley House. I’m not sure how this will go. You know my feelings, we should not have allowed the shelter to be built at that location.

Item #36, Williquors is applying for a a delivery license. I wonder if other liquor stores have this? For instance, when you order grocery delivery from Hy-Vee can you get a bottle to?

Items #45-47, 2nd Reading, Ordinance. This is the Railyard Flats purchase. I find it interesting that the name of the developer and the project has been left off the agenda description. Why?!

Item #50, 1st Reading, Ordinance. Here we go, the first of a series of bonds for the water reclamation plant upgrades. Isn’t it fun watching the city borrow millions of dollars, it gives me kind of a tingly warm feeling inside. NOT!

Item #51, 1st Reading, Ordinance. Here we go with farting around with our old skool system of liquor licensing. Even with a reduced price, it really still leaves no room for family businesses to compete. It think the city should take a more proactive approach and lobby the legislature to change the system, and the Lincoln and Minnehaha County Commissions should jump on board to.

Item #57, City will approve a preliminary plan for Sanford Sports Complex expansion. I wonder if they want to put up any more nets?

Item #58, Annexation agreement. I find it a little ironic that the city would choose to make this the last agenda item on a very long meeting. Remember when they wanted to shove public input to the end of the meetings because ‘business’ needed to be taken care of with ‘business’ first? Funny how these things work.

Planning Commission Meeting • 6 PM • Wednesday, Dec 4

Item #5-A, Planning commission is recommending denial. Not sure what is going on.

Next time take an UBER when looking at Holiday Lights

When I saw this story it reminded of this song by the UK punk band, The Business. I got to toss back some beers with Micky and the crew when they played at the Pomp Room. I don’t think he was driving though.

Why is the City of Sioux Falls seeking bids for private property upgrades?

To tell you the truth, I couldn’t answer this question, I post this out of curiosity;

The City of Sioux Falls, SD, requests formal bids for Minnehaha Country Club and The Country Club of Sioux Falls Pond Improvements.

Now I know the city has helped with retention and detention ponds in the past on private property, but I’m NOT sure how the costs are worked out with the property owners. I’m really kind of clueless how that works. But I find it interesting that the city would be using decorative course ponds as detention ponds. I guess you are killing two birds with one stone. But also remember, these are private recreational clubs who benefit from having those ponds. It reminds me of the massive levees we built with Federal and local tax dollars conveniently along the country clubs.

Hopefully someone from the city will explain how this all works.