Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rush to Amend

Why is the Charter Revision Commission on such a fast track to get charter amendments ready for a public vote in April 2012? Maybe it's because this latest charter revision commission wasn't appointed until late 2011 and there is an agenda.

City Charter establishes a charter revision commission for purpose of proposing amendments to the charter. City Ordinance outlines the commission's duties. Chapter 2, Section 41 of the city code of ordinances says the following:

Sec. 2-41. Duties; public meetings.
The commission may deliver a report to the city election authorities framing and proposing amendments to the Sioux Falls Home Rule Charter which it deems advisable. The commission shall hold at least one public meeting each calendar year for the purpose of receiving recommendations from the public regarding revisions to the charter and to take action upon any matters before the commission relating to proposed charter revisions.

Charter Revision Commission members are appointed by the mayor, upon advice and consent of the city council. They serve 3 year terms. That usually means that the current mayor gets the opportunity to appoint a new commission every new mayoral term. It is something that just needs to get done procedurally.

The last Charter Revision Commission member terms expired June 2010. In spite of what is directed in the charter, this mayor did not appoint a Charter Revision Commission until late 2011 forcing a very fast timeline to get anything on the spring 2012 ballot. That's not to say that something needs to be on the Spring 2012 ballot. This commission has a lot of proposals before them and they seem hell bent on getting these proposals on the April 2012 ballot with little to no public discussion.

According to the 2010 Annual Report, the previous commission, which was appointed in 2007 by former mayor Dave Munson, held 4 meetings in 2008, 5 meetings in 2009 and 4 meetings in 2010. The commission delivered 2 proposed revisions to city election officials for the April 13, 2010 ballot.

Previously, voters have approved revisions to the city charter in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. So why the rush to get all these proposals on the April 2012 ballot without a meaningful study and public discussion? Why the rush to amend? Shouldn't amendments to the charter take time to study, discuss, and research all the implications of the changes? Why rush to put these latest amendments on the ballot after only two shallow meetings where no substantive discussion took place? The ink on their appointment to this commission is barely dry.

Commission member Gregerson is right when he says there is a concern that there may be too many amendments on the ballot which will just confuse the voters. This commission has until October 2014 to study the charter and make recommendations for revisions.

At least two of the current commission members are known "contributors" of the mayor. Thimjon and Aanenson certainly showed their "home team colors" at the January 4th commission meeting. The Charter Revision Commission should be made up of members whose agenda is good government, not to promote the agenda of a political crony. Their water carrying antics were so transparent we all got wet.

What we saw on January 4th, was political cronyism and payback and unsatisfactory performance by a supposedly neutral charter revision commission. Poletes, Knudson and Gregerson need to get some you know what or this entire commission will go down as one of the most outrageous and politically motivated commissions yet.



    Watch @ 1hr 18 min AND 1hr 33 min

    Thought you'd want to help people see the LOW lights from the meeting. I know you referenced it but pointing people to the spots where the abuse happens is better.

    Pathetic bullying and a slap in the face of Democracy

  2. This joke of a charter commission is no way prepared or ready to put any proposal to the public for a vote and to do so after this recent meeting display is a gross disservice to their City and it's citizens. Can the Mayor really want to be a party to this sham? Well, looks like it because he appointed the likes of Aanenson who has no government experience or knowledge of city operation except what he is getting fed by MMM.