Thursday, April 19, 2012

Council Working Session In the Works

I am hearing the city council will be holding a city council working session next Wednesday, April 25th at either 3 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. There is no posting of this work session on the city's website to date.

Although the requirement to post a public meeting is 24 hours in advance, it would be nice to get a notice of this working session earlier than 24 hours before the actual meeting. One of the agenda items is supposedly a discussion on the railroad relocation project.

It seems a BNSF spokesperson might be at this working session. If you live in the southeastern or central district of Sioux Falls, you might want to go to this working session. You will have to physically attend the session since working sessions are not televised nor are official minutes recorded by the city clerk.

It is also my understanding that the city council does not take any public testimony at this working sessions.

Below is specific city ordinance language pertaining to working sessions of the city council and when minutes are taken. It would appear that the city clerk's office prepares minutes of every meeting except the working sessions of the city council. Why is that? If there is a quorum present, it would seem this would dictate an official meeting, irrespective of the fact that no votes are taken. But clearly, the ordinance does not include city council working sessions as a meeting where minutes are required to be prepared by the city clerk.

So, if you want to know what the city council is discussing, especially as it pertains to the railroad relocation project, you might just want to attend the next scheduled working session of the city council - maybe next week.

Why would the council hold a working session to discuss such a controversial project where no public input will be allowed and no minutes will be published.  Shouldn't discussions regarding the railroad relocation project be an agenda item on an Information Meeting where the discussion is televised and minutes are taken so the public has an opportunity to see and/or review the discussion?

Any discussion regarding the railroad relocation project would seem to go far beyond "discussing matters pertaining to the affairs of the city council." This project affects the general public, specifically the southeast and central districts of the city,  not the affairs of the city council. Is this transparency in city government?

Sec. 2-5. Informational meetings and working sessions of the city council.
(a) The city council may meet in informational meetings and working sessions which shall be open to the general public to review and discuss matters pertaining to the affairs of the city council provided that all discussions and conclusions thereon shall be informal. All agendas for informational meetings and working sessions of the city council shall be posted with at least 24 hours notice.

(b) Informational meetings may be held the first three Mondays of the month and on the last Monday of the month. When the day fixed for an informational meeting falls on a date designated by law as a legal or national holiday, such meeting shall be held at the same hour on the next succeeding day not a holiday. Cancellations must be posted with at least 24 hours notice to the public.

(c) Working sessions of the council may be held as needed.

(d) The city council chair and vice chair shall determine the agenda, with city council input, for all informational meetings and working sessions.

Sec. 2-7. Minutes.
(a) The city clerk, or the city clerk's designee, shall prepare minutes of all regular and special meetings, informational meetings, committee meetings, and executive sessions. The minutes shall be maintained in the office of the city clerk. The minutes shall reflect:

(1) The date, time, and place of the meeting or session;

(2) The members recorded as either present or absent;

(3) A general description of all matters proposed, discussed, or decided; and

(4) Record of any votes taken.

(b) Approval of minutes of all city council meetings and informational meetings shall be considered at the next regular council meeting. Such minutes may be reviewed by the city clerk, or the city clerk's designee, to correct spelling, numbering, or other such technical defects.

(c) Minutes of executive sessions shall be sealed in the office of the city clerk. They may be reviewed periodically by the city council in executive session


  1. City Council Working Session to be held on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Carnegie Town Hall Multi-Purpose Room, 235 W. 10th Street.

    They will discuss the Railroad Relocation Project.

    The public is invited to attend. No public input will be taken.

    (City of Sioux Falls news release on

  2. Secrets secrets much for open government!

  3. Yea, so secret they "hid" it on the city's website on the world wide web, those secretive bastards!!!

  4. The plans have changed a bit. BNSF will not be attending the planning meeting Wednesday. Also, DTSF has asked all of their members to show up at the meeting.