I thought nothing could surprise me anymore. Then I watched the "Press Conference" statement by Councilor Entenman at the City Council Information Meeting today.
Having an ethics complaint filed against you as an elected official is serious business. You could tell that Councilor Entenman took the complaint personally. It is easy to understand the emotions he expressed regarding what he feels is an attack on his family's integrity.
However, I believe it is important to remember that his role as city councilor is much different than his role as a private business owner. This complaint was not against his business or how he and his family have run his business. This complaint centers on his second job, the job of an elected official as a member of the Sioux Falls City Council. These are two separate and very distinct jobs.
The job as city councilor requires a much higher standard of conduct than that of a private business owner. City ordinance spells out conflicts of interest and a code of ethics for elected officials and provides an avenue for citizens to express their concerns. The conflict of interest ordinance addresses both direct and indirect conflicts of interest. It is up to the independent Ethics Board to sort it out.
The conspiracy theories thrown out against Steve Hildebrand, President of Build It Downtown is just foolish on Councilor Entenman's part. Councilor Entenman himself started this conflict of interest issue when he stood up in public before the Public Services Committee of the City Council and while brushing Councilor Jamison off, stated he didn't care if he had a conflict of interest or not regarding his liquor license application. The fact that he owns property a block away from a parking lot proposed for the Event Center is surely open for conflict of interest consideration by the Ethics Board.
Councilor Entenman has chosen to publicly attack a private citizen who happens to be involved in a grass roots campaign to challenge the mayor's vision for a major project that will impact this community for decades to come. He has basically done to Hildebrand what he accuses Hildebrand of doing to him. It is certainly way over the top to accuse Hildebrand of attacking the integrity of his brothers, wife, children and deceased parents. This is not about his family. This complaint was filed based on his role as a city councilor, not his role as a private business owner.
It is any private citizen's right to file a complaint with the Ethics Board under city ordinance.
To use one's position as an elected official on the City Council to vilify the complainant is outrageous and shows political naivete.