Monday, January 9, 2012

Regular Joes

How nice of the mayor to make sure "regular joes" are appointed to the various boards and commissions.   I am not sure "regular joes" should be appointed to some boards/commissions. Some of these boards/commissions are highly technical and need people with knowledge, background and experience in the area the board oversees in order to serve with distinction. It is dangerous to put people on boards/commissions with no expertise or credible knowledge in a specific area.

The mayor went to great length to call out ordinary citizen Tim Stanga for his public input at the City Council meeting on January 9th. The mayor said it was "incredibly unfair to say its not an open process. It is true this mayor has made aggressive efforts to advertise openings on various city boards and commissions through press releases and advertisements in the local newspaper.

However, the mayor is the one who still reviews the applications and decides who to recommend for appointment. When I retired from city government service, I wanted to give back to the city by volunteering my time to serve on two boards that I felt I could provide credible and knowledgeable service. I immediately put in applications to serve on one of the two pension boards and the charter revision commission. I have never received so much as a letter or contact of interest regarding my applications. I also know of others who would have been credible and knowledgeable volunteers for the Charter Revision Commission who were also not contacted by the mayor's office.

Incredibly fair? Unbiased appointments? I think not. I do not view the current membership of the Charter Revision Commission as "regular joes." Two have political ties to the mayor. Two have professional contracts with the City of Sioux Falls and do business and receive remuneration from the city.

I would like to see the mayor publicly identify the criteria he uses to identify and evaluate the "regular joes" he recommends for appointment to city boards and commissions. What criteria does the city council use when they give their advice and consent to the mayor's appointments?  It appears it is just a rubber stamp process.

Andy Traub said it best at the city council meeting on January 9th. Parliamentary procedure should not be used to stifle public input and submission of proposals to the Charter Revision Commission. Why didn't the City Attorney speak up and advise the Commission that they were acting inappropriately by silencing the voice of a city councilor? Councilor Jamison was treated with great disrespect by Commission member Aanenson. Commission member Thimjon seconded his blatent misuse of parlimentary procedure to silence Councilor Jamison. The other members followed like sheep.

Councilor Entenmen is right - people who serve on city boards and commissions should be commended for their volunteerism and service to the community. However, board/commission members do not deserve recognition and commendation when they act to circumvent free speech and stifle public input by using parliamentary procedure in such an irresponsible and highly suspect manner.

Words are cheap. It's one's actions and how they conduct themselves in the public eye that establishes credibility. The current Charter Revision Commission has lost credibility by their actions. Frankly, I think this Commission should be disbanded or the members should resign and the Mayor and City Council should reappoint a brand new Charter Revision Commission.


  1. I'd be curious to hear why Brown and Karsky voted "no" on adjournment. What more was left to be said after Entenman read his prepared statement and MMM once again misrepresented the selection process?

    First, MMM claims city board and committee applicants are vetted by the sitting members on each committee. But that's impossible for the CRC as the term of the last committee members had expired more than one year ago! He failed to appoint the committee in a timely manner.

    Second, I can speak from experience as a member on one of these city committees. We have had zero input on the appointment of any new or renewing members during MMM's term. We never see an application and we're never asked for an opinion. The entire process is handled inside the Mayor's office behind closed doors.

    MMM - wonder why fewer and fewer people trust you with each passing week? Because actions speak louder than words. Your words tonight ring hollow; however, your actions in appointing political contributors and friends to do your heavy-lifting on the CRC are very loud and very clear.

  2. Just give the mayor enough rope.....

  3. The 2 councilors didn't vote yes to adjourn because a member of the audience tried to address the mayor after he talked to Tim for 5 minutes. It was the guy who called the Mayor a dictator in an earlier comment. After they adjourned the guy yelled, "Thank you for chastising us Mr. Mayor!". It was the most entertaining 32 minute city council mtg ever. AND they voted in solidarity to move the meeting day decision to MAY until there is a new council in place. Erpenbach basically gave a speech saying it doesn't matter if they move the day if they castrate the council through the charter revision's proposed changes. It was an 8-0 vote.

  4. Listen to the December 2011 Ask the Mayor video. The Mayor was asked by the moderator what he thought the Charter Revision Commission should consider. The mayor responded by saying he thinks they need to look at the roles and responsibilities of the mayor and executive branch and also the council and legislative branch. So who do you think is driving the agenda?

  5. I have applied to three committees and do not get a response either. But then I am not a yes man.