Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Important Deciding Vote - The People

It's over. Sioux Falls will be getting a new 12,000 seat event center that is estimated to bring over $36 million dollars annually to this community. I look forward to the boost in our economy and the results of the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce, Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Sports Authority, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, SMG, and Global Spectrum to bring the big events, trade shows and conventions to Sioux Falls.  I hope they can make good on all their promises.  The success of the Events Center depends on it.

People were engaged in this debate and the voter turnout indicates that people care about this city. It was an impressive turnout and everyone, no matter which side you were on in this debate should be congratulated, not scorned, for standing up for their convictions. Democracy isn't always pretty. But on any issue important to citizens, you need debate, opinions, and commentary in which to make an informed decision when you go to the ballot box.

This community was engaged in the debate. I am not regretful in getting involved in this community debate after many years of having to be publically neutral on issues facing the city of Sioux Falls. Getting involved means commitment. Publically taking a position and attaching your name to it means conviction for one's beliefs. Getting involved, commitment and conviction no matter which side you were on does not make you a loser. It makes you an involved citizen.

The mayor has fulfilled his vision and commitment to get an event center built and I congratulate him on his victory. He says he is committed to developing and further promoting the downtown area and if the achievement attained yesterday for the arena area is any indication, we should expect he will work hard to meet that promise and vision as well.


  1. I too look forward to the success of the events center as a city employee who just settled for two years with no cost of living wage increase. I am sure we will be pleasantly surprised in two years with generous cost of living wage increases as this revenue generator fires up!

  2. Congratulations for being a powerful voice. You are exactly right, citizen involvement is the sunshine so needed in government at all levels.

  3. @1:09pm....I'm a city employee as well so let's be candid and clear a couple things up first. Yes, we received no COLA the past 2 years during one of the worst recessions since the 1930's, but what many city employees fail to share with the public is the merit pay increases we virtually automatically receive each year through the first 10-15 years of employment. Frankly, a COLA is a foreign concept to anyone in the private sector who only gets annual raises if they are lucky, so please don't tell the public no city employees got raises, that's just not true as many have been receiving merit pay increases the past 2 years. A 2% cola combined with a typical 2-3% merit pay raise for most city employees really means a 4-5% pay raise. Not to mention a very generous pension that NO ONE in the private sector gets on top of a 4% retirement match if you are in a management position at the city, and there are several.

    So now I'll once again pose the same set of questions I posed the other day on this very blog responding to a city employee - while many in the private sector spent the past 2 years losing their job, taking pay cuts to keep their job, and accepting mandatory furlough days (unpaid forced vacation), how many city employees lost their jobs - NONE; how many city employees took pay cuts - NONE; how many city employees had forced furlough days - NONE. End of story, start telling the public the WHOLE truth.

  4. I also was involved with the zero, zero cost of living increase for the next two years. This is very acceptable to us in tough economic times but MMM is touting how financially sound the City of Sioux Falls is and how "it's time to be bold". This is what makes the no cost of living increase for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue personnel a tougher pill to swallow. We will be fine and we are fairly compensated, we are not saying that we are underpaid but for such a financially sound city to choose not to give cost of living increases to it's firefighters yet push a 115 million dollar project with some of the statements made seems somewhat hypocritical.

  5. Firefighters got COLA's on top of merit pay increases each of the past 2 years when city hall employees and police did not, in addition to no one I know in the private sector. You've done better than most.

  6. I was one of the No votes because of the fragility of the economy. The European Union is in peril. Our own economy has done nothing to correct the underlying problems that created the Great Recession in the first place, and we have done nothing to fix the "financial weapons of mass destruction" as Warren Buffet calls the derivatives.
    Our mayor is a master salesman, I will give him that. Now I expect nothing less from him than to sell this EC to the moneyed Corporations to provide for the ongoing expences of the EC. To sell it to tenants of all sorts, keeping it full of entertainment. Finally, to convince people from all over to come to the EC to spend the $36 million they said would come if we build it. This means Mr. Mayor, no matter what the economy is like, even if we end up in the Great Depression 2, it is YOUR job to make this profitable and make sure it's a success. Your reputation is on the line. It's on your shoulders now.

  7. On the heels of the BIN victory comes the news story of no raise for police this year. Partial truths or head-shaking irony?

  8. No new taxes but let's build it on the backs of the workers of the Great City of Sioux Falls.

  9. "this means Mr Mayor it's on your shoulders now" . Love that comment! Very true, he pushed this, he marketed it, he sold it and he will have to own it, success or failure. I hope it works, I really do for the sake of us all. History shows these types of facilities don't stand on their own without subsidy from taxpayer coffers so he better get out there and sell sell sell those luxury boxes and naming rights to keep the operating budget in the black.

  10. Wonder how his support will be amongst City Employees, including Fire and Police, in the reelection?

  11. City workers votes may not be the deciding factor in the next election but I can guarantee that 90% or better will NOT be voting for Mayor Mike.

  12. Record turnout I hear

    anyone hear yet why the city clerk was fired?

    ran across this article

    Sioux Falls Election to Use New E-Poll Book Voting System
    By Guest Author on May 6th, 2011


    Contact: Jason M. Gant (605) 773-3537

    Secretary of State Jason Gant announced today that the Sioux Falls School District will join the Yankton School District on Tuesday, May 24th to be the first two local elections in the state to utilize the State Election Reporting Systems for their local races. And, for the Sioux Falls School District, the election will also represent the implementation of a measure sponsored by Gant during his last year in the State Senate to allow a school district to conduct an election using voting centers and electronic records.

    In 2010, then State Senator Gant sponsored and passed Senate Bill 101, an act to authorize certain school districts to conduct school board elections during 2011 using voting centers and electronic poll books. This measure created a variance in State Law to allow certain school districts the ability to use voting centers in lieu of establishing precincts for the election, and to utilize electronic poll books interlinked across the school district.Secretary Gant noted “I’m very excited that as Secretary of State, I get to implement one of the bills I sponsored as a legislator. Sioux Falls will act as a pilot project for some of the newest innovations in election technology. Instead of designated precincts, voters will be able to cast their ballot at any voting center located through out the city for the election. The key to the process are the electronic poll books, which are interlinked. Once a person is recorded as having voted in one location, they are marked as having voted in all of them, preventing anyone from voting more than once.”.........

  13. Was I wrong or did not Fire Union president Gramlick say they were happy with no raise. This is a new better way of negotiating with the City, Its great team work to roll over, this isn't his father's Union who fought and scraped to get him what he has today. I am sure he will have a long fruitful career in management soon.

  14. Anonymous @ 9:27,

    Look at the history of the past chief (Hill) who's entire tenure in that position was filled with vindictiveness and the fostering of constant union/management strife via his selection of specific management "team" members (re. henchmen), to handle his work-load while he worked out twice-a-day, for 2hrs at a crack on our dime. A new chief (hopefully breath of fresh air) in the selection of Sideras should significantly improve the aspect of management/union relations. Now as to Gramlick "roll over" to obtain a management position, I don't buy it; he is approaching it from the common sense aspect with consideration of current economic conditions. The firefighters did (previous contract) receive raises through contracted negotiations completed prior to the full down-turn of the economy so, yes they got COLA's (again negotiated) when other city employees did not. I don't look at this current contract as being rolling over as much as being common sense acknowleging the current economic conditions and working cooperatively within the system. The unfortunate side to this is it was rumored most directors (not all management) received a COLA this year...if true this is truly disappointing and bears similarity to executive bonuses we all bitch about!

    Unfortunately our human nature has turned from what is best for the whole to "what's in it for me".

    Now, as to the previous "merit" pay increases mentioned in some of the above posts...the city does not have "merit" increases for general employees; which is unfortunate! If it did those truly productive employees earning their keep could be paid their worth. Nothing worse than a slack, bare-minimum, no initiative employee being paid the same as the energetic, selfless, productive employee. Given the civil service status, that slacker is damn-near impossible to get rid of...unlike the private sector where they would be gone or relegated to raises based on production!