The Charter Revision Commission met on January 4th. Charter Revision proposals have been submitted by the City Attorney, the Director of Finance, out of town citizen Joe Kirby, and Councilor Jamison.
This was a painful meeting to watch. The chair does not appear to understand or know anything about parliamentary procedure and the City Clerk and City Attorney didn't do anything at the beginning of this meeting to help clarify how this process should work. Interim Clerk Roust finally spoke up but, my goodness, this was like watching water boil. Painful lapses of silence, tentative direction from the chair, and silence from the board. Run these meetings like a council meeting. The proposals weren't read publicly even though the Assistant City Clerk attempted to correct the chair's omission to do it.
The city charter established a strong mayor, weak council form of government and it has been contentious between these two bodies every since regarding what they roles should be. The "tweaking" of charter language by the administration and the council attempts to deal with the strong mayor, weak council concept. Granted, some proposals are not substantive, just technical changes. But each proposal deserves in-depth study and discussion because changes to a "constitution" are serious and could have unintended circumstances later on.
I question whether in-depth study and discussion took place during this meeting. Who knows, maybe this group studied these proposals and discussed these proposals with the mayor or other councilors before they came to the meeting. I hope this group of citizens talked to someone because they are lay people who are not experienced in government or this charter. Proposals from Kirby and the City Attorney were passed with little or no debate and frankly, discussion only started once Interim City Clerk Roust got up and questioned what they were actually doing regarding Finance Director Turbak's proposals.
Then we come to Councilor Jamison. His proposals come from past history and controversy with the Mayor. Board member Aanenson shut down Councilor Jamison and Thimjon seconded silencing City Council Jamison. Why such a disrespectful display of behavior? Whose water is Aanenson really carrying? Knudson didn't want to offend her fellow councilor so attempted to postpone it to another meeting. Aanenson shut her down. They all voted to shut him down except Knudson.Whether you agreed with his proposals or not, Councilor Jamison deserved to be heard and his proposals deserved a proper discussion. Shameful behavior towards an elected city councilor member.
Pay attention to the business being conducted by the Charter Revision Commission. They will decide what charter language should be changed and submitted to the good folks of Sioux Falls citizens to vote on in April. This is serious business because it is the city's constitution. These people who were appointed to serve on this charter revision commission should be unbiased. I did not see that at this meeting and Aanenson was the king bully that day. He played the mayor's role very successfully.
This meeting was just an extension of what goes on between the mayor and the city council. I have never been a fan of this form of government. Electing a lay person to be the "CEO" of city government is a crapshoot. This form of government promotes the kind of territorial in fighting that has been going on since it was voted in back in 1995. I think this city is big enough for a city manager form of government.
Everybody has an agenda. Let's hope the agenda is good government. I did not see that at this meeting.