Sunday, April 3, 2011

More Changes?

Today the Argus Leader reports that mayor said his administrative reorganization still might continue.
"I'll never say it's complete, ever. Things are going to evolve. "But I'm excited about the team I've built around me," he said. "They are committed to getting results, challenging the status quo." Huether applauded team members' initiative to pursue innovation, even at the risk "of making a mistake or two."

For a person who is just entering his eleventh month in the office of mayor, he continues to say reorganization still might come.This from a man who comes from a marketing background and who, I am told, only had 3 direct reports, while working at Premier Bankcard. People don't know from one day to the next if they are going to have a job. What a leadership quality to drop that bomb publicly over and over again.  A culture of fear. The fun just never ends at City Hall.

If that little tidbit wasn't enough to get the hair to stand on end, the mayor goes on to say he did not know whether the city will have secured partnerships with private enterprise to offset some of the cost of a new events center by the time a proposal on an approximately $100 million project is put to voters. Some of the costs? He said he wanted $25 million to come from private enterprise.

That statement would seem to indicate that he is not having success in getting partners from private enterprise to cough up the $25 million he needs for that leg of his financing plan. That would not be good news to the taxpayers of this city. It would mean he would need to take more money from the general fund which is the primary operating fund for city government operations and more debt.

Just what does he think the vote is going to be in November? A vote on location only? The public needs to vote on the entire package. The decision on where the Event Center should be built is an important factor, but not as important as how he is going to finance the construction of the Event Center and then how he proposes to pay for the operation of the Event Center.

There is nothing to vote on if we don't know how it is going to be paid for from beginning to end.  I have always been of the opinion that the financing portion of this project should have come first, before we spent money on deciding where it should be built.

 It's only been eleven months. How many more changes can we stand from this mayor. I grow weary with worry.


  1. I really believe the Events Center is DOA for the City of Sioux Falls. This Mayor has bungled this project and it's not going to happen. How it's going to be paid for is the first and foremost consideration. I wish it was up for vote now so we didn't have to hear about it anymore from the mayor. It seems it's the only thing in his vision sight unless it's talk about which director he plans to fire next. I wish we were at the end of his term and not the beginning. Why is he hell bent on tearing down the professionals in department leadership roles who just happen to be the people with all the knowledge, education and experience about their respective departments. This is a dangerous man.

  2. Is this Spiking Thing for City Employee Retirement he told about today at Rotary true?

  3. "I have always been of the opinion that the financing portion of this project should have come first, before we spent money on deciding where it should be built. "

    I have told this to the current and past mayor and council several times. But are they listening? How many times and how much money do we have to spend on task forces before they finally get it? It's about the money, stupid. Put a budget on the table and vote on it. My guess is this current plan won't even make it to the ballot.

    South DaCola

  4. Like almost everything else in this process, we seem to be bass-ackwards in our thinking. Naming rights usually come along during the construction process and many times they keep it under wraps until they see who's stepped up and how bad they want their name on the place.

    A recent and ironic example is Bemidji, MN's Events Center that they opened in November of last year. It was announced in October that Sanford had given $2 million for the naming rights. That deal may have been done months before, but Bemidji was able to keep the option open for Mayo or someone else to come in and offer $3 million.

    Also, very few corporate types want their name on something that will either:

    A. Fail at the polls, or

    B. Succeed at the polls, but has the chance to be seen as a white elephant and a failed project.

  5. I have lived in SF for almost 20 years, one thing I have learned is that corporations are cheapskates when it comes to 'BIG' donations.

    We will NEVER get a BIG donor. That is a reality.

    South DaCola

  6. Spiking a city pension plan exists to this day. If you're a federal employee, you get a 'atta boy' at retirement time. If you're a state employee you get 25% of accumulated sick pay in the form of a one time payout. Nothing more. City employees? Back in 1974 city employee morale was low, so they tended to call in sick...a lot. Then mayor Rick Knobe cured that problem by allowing city employees to cash in their accumulated sick leave in the form of a one time payout. It did not stop there. That one time payout also went into figuring lifetime pension payouts. An example. A former Director retired with a base salary of $108,700 a year. His last years pay was that amount and another $54,000 spiked into that amount. That made his high three year average 108.7K plus 108.7K plus 162K.That's an average of 126K. Now take 1.5% times 30 years service times 126K. A cool $56,700 a year pension for life. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

    That practice stopped in 1997 under Mayor Gary Hanson. New hires after that point got I believe the same payout accorded state employees. But employees hired between 1974 and 1997 still enjoy the perk.

    Between January 1st 2004 and June 18th 2006, 68 city employees retired under this perk to the tune of 1.6 million. That's an average of $23,392. And it's the gift that keeps on giving, year in, and year out.

    Should the practice have been stopped? Probably. Mayor Hanson did the right thing. But he could not touch, nor did he want to touch, pension plans that were bargained for in good faith. The good mayor mike thinks he can undo a contract bargained for, and won in good faith. Good luck on that one Mr. Mayor.

    Jennifer. Correct me where I may be wrong in anything I have just stated. I trust you as a person of integrity. Spiking needs to be addressed. This should be left alone by the good mayor mike. Mayor Hanson already fixed this situation.

    Polly Amalo

  7. Polly, you got it right

  8. Ouch, should never have been done. Should have been corrected sooner. Bad.