MARK SHIELDS: Thanks to the public partnership, private-public partnership, they keep track of a very interesting number.
And that is the number of Senate-confirmable important positions there are in every administration. There is 554 that the Senate has to confirm that every president appoints. As of this moment, 473 have not been appointed.
When determining if and how to compensate her for those duties, Human Resources Director Jodi Friedel approached the council during committee meetings for their input. The calculation for the wage was determined during a Legal, Finance, and Public Safety Committee meeting.
This committee, made up of Councilmen Dan Hodgs, Larry Klarenbeek, and John Lee, recommended the following calculation to come to the determination of wage proposed: The calculation involved taking the starting wage for the city administrator position, a grade 27, step 1, $49.13 per hour, times 2,080 hours, the measurement of 40 hours worked over 52 weeks of one year, which equals $102,190.40, and subtracting Boke’s annual mayoral salary of $22,759.67, which equals $79,430.73, divided by 2,080 hours, which equals $38.19 per hour. The committee then matched that number to a grade and step on the city’s current scale, rounding up to the grade 24, step 4, $38.77 per hour. This is the same grade used for the city’s public works administrator, chief of police, and finance officer positions [Kaija Swisher, “Interim Wage for Mayor Providing Spearfish City Administrative Duties Approved 4–2,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2017.03.22].
Now whoever does the work of city administrator, interim or permanent, should get paid a fair wage, so the salary itself isn’t ill-spent.
But hiring the mayor for a city job seems problematic. It fouls one of the basic checks and balances in Spearfish’s city ordinances, Section 2-120, which empowers the mayor to “remove any official whenever he shall be of the opinion that the interest of the city demands a removal.” Right now, if the interim city administrator is acting against the interest of the city, Spearfish can’t count on the mayor to remove the city administrator, because the mayor is the city administrator.
Spearfish’s city administrator position appears to differ from the city manager position envisioned in state law. However, state law says cities can’t appoint anyone “elected to membership on the governing body” of the city as their city manager until at least a year has passed after that person leaves elected city office. Even if that statute on city manager qualifications (SDCL 9-10-10) doesn’t apply to city administrators, the logic behind it would suggest that paying the mayor to be interim city administrator isn’t the most prudent choice.
Spearfish doesn’t have the city administrator position up on its job board yet. Approving the job description and posting the job is on Monday’s agenda. Polish your résumés, public admin experts! Spearfish will want to fill this position and relieve their mayor of this conflictual position as soon as possible.
Hold on, Senator Solano: let’s think through how calling a special session could check a gubernatorial abuse of power. To convene a special session, you need to get signatures from two thirds of the members of each chamber. Given that SB 176 targets tribally led protests of the looming Keystone XL pipeline, that means you need to find 24 Senators and 47 Representatives who are willing to stand with Indians against TransCanada. Legislative history on pipeline issues suggests the chances of fielding those numbers are pretty thin.
Even if you can gather the 71 signatures necessary to convene a special session, it’s going to take a few days to complete the petition and get everyone to Pierre. The Governor can arrest a lot of protestors, seize a lot of private property, and evict a lot of homeowners and landowners from the “public safety zone.” Your special session can’t act fast enough to keep the Governor from doing serious harm to the Constitutional rights of thousands of South Dakotans.
Your special session can’t order the Governor to stand down. You can write and pass a new law repealing the Governor’s emergency powers, but you’ll have to wrangle a bit to apply that law retroactively to the gubernatorial decision that provokes your special session.
The overreaching Governor will have at least five days to sit on the bill before he has to choose between standing his ground with a veto or surrendering and letting the Legislature take away his power. However, per Article 4 Section 4, to keep that wait period to five days, you legislators will have to remain in special session in Pierre, or at least recess with a clear declaration that you will come back within five days to continue. Then you’ll have to make sure that the two thirds who were willing to call the special session don’t waver and instead maintain their willingness to override the veto.
And if we’re dealing with a Governor willing to commit true abuses of power, consider the possibility that he could use SB 176 to snarl your special session. Suppose the Governor you challenge with your special session reads Section 1 of SB 176 and declares that your special session is “an event that may consume significant public resources,” (that’s an easy conclusion) “poses a threat to public or private property,” (take away the Governor’s emergency powers, and the protest he’s shutting down may swell into violence) “and poses a threat to the health and welfare of the public,” (ditto). Under SB 176, the Governor could reach a conclusion that the Legislature poses a threat to public safety and declare the Capitol and the one-mile zone around it a public safety zone, where he can have Highway Patrol set up roadblocks, check IDs, detain folks coming to testify in favor of whatever legislature you are proposing, and create all sorts of other complications to slow down or stop your attempt to check his power. If the Governor is willing to declare martial law to shut down Constitutionally protected protest, might he not also be willing to take extraordinary measures to stop the Legislature from taking away his power?
Senator Solano, your plan to pass SB 176, then check abuse of power by calling a special session sounds like saying, “Let’s lift the sanctions on Iran and let them develop nuclear technology. If they do build a bomb, we’ll just send in special forces to destroy it.”
Instead of giving the Governor too much power, then hoping the Legislature can take extraordinary measures to check abuses of that power, why not just prevent any abuse by not giving the Governor that excessive power in the first place?
Apparently Kristi Noem reads Dakota Free Press. Pointing to rising crime rates in Rapid City, Sioux Falls, and statewide, our Congresswoman calls on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to send in the Feds or something to South Dakota:
…As you begin your work, I write today to make you aware of an urgent matter in my state.
In his inaugural address, President Trump lamented the decaying state of public safety in our country, a theme he highlighted throughout his campaign. However, while the President has focused primarily on crime in America’s large cities, it is critical that we address issues in rural areas, as well. South Dakota’s small towns, for example, have traditionally been safe places in which to live and raise a family, but in recent years, our communities have been increasingly threatened by a precipitous rise in violent crime [Rep. Kristi Noem, letter to U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, 2017.02.21].
Rep. Noem points to FBI stats showing a 118% increase in the rate of violent crime from 2005 to 2015. Hewing to the argument offered by the Governor and others, Rep. Noem says that opioid and meth use and gangs are driving this increase in violent crime. She doesn’t mention refugees or immigrants as causes of violence in South Dakota; her S.O.S. to A.G. Sessions only mentions “Mexican drug cartels” as the source of our violence-driving meth.
Given law enforcement’s concerns, one might think that a logical response would be to make it harder for drug dealers and users to get firearms. But like her President, Rep. Noem proposes not even a sketch of a solution:
I have met with numerous state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers during my tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives. I fully support their work on the front lines. To supplement their work, I would like to meet with you as you evaluate the nation’s law enforcement needs so we can discuss the situation in South Dakota and other rural states. Additionally, I urge you to redouble your agency’s efforts to combat drug trafficking, gang proliferation, as well as the violent crime that all too often follows [Noem to Sessions, 2017.02.21].
Let’s talk, and do more of whatever you’re doing—no specifics, just a conservative Republican asking the federal government to expand its power and activity in South Dakota.
I kind of miss the days when Republicans were afraid of the federal government. Oh well—send in the Feds!
All of us who’ve enjoyed the bounty of our nation, our state, and our city have a responsibility to those who’ve been left out of the American Dream: the young mom taking care of three kids, the young man living at the Bishop Dudley House who maybe found a job yesterday, the staff at The Banquet or the Glory House or Kingdom Boundaries or all the agencies who serve the poor and the powerless, who try to do more, serve more people with diminishing resources.
3,000 years ago, a man tried to speak for those who were marginalized, and he was not well received. In frustration, he went out into the wilderness, where a great earthquake shook the land. There was no wisdom in the earthquake. And a great fire came, but there was no wisdom in the fire. And a great wind hit, too, gave him no help. But then he heard the still, small voice of God.
I would challenge all of us, you who are elected to lead and those of us who enjoy the bounty of this country, to be mindful of those who don’t enjoy the great success and privileges that we enjoy as citizens of this great country and this great city.
I commend you to listen to the prophet Elijah and the wisdom that he brings. May your decisions and your deliberation be mindful of those who are most in need of our help [Pastor Bob Chell, invocation, Sioux Falls City Council meeting, 2017.01.17].
One little mention of his particular god, sandwiched between his primary message of earthly economic justice. Send Pastor Bob Chell to the Inauguration to straighten out the billionaires and theocrats taking charge of our country!
Senator Ryan Maher (R-28/Isabel) provided me a little more background on his Senate Bill 58, a measure that clarifies and expands the Department of Transportation’s obligation to remove snow from state highways running through smaller towns.
According to Senator Maher, the Isabel Town Board signed an agreement with the state for snow removal on Highway 65/20 through Isabel in the 1990s. The board also had property owners along the highway sign easements, giving the state authority over everything along the highway from storefront to storefront. DOT would plow, Isabel would hire someone to push the snow out the driveways and other access points, and when DOT got time, DOT would send payloaders and trucks to haul those snowpiles out.
Evidently the state withdrew from the last part of that deal last year. State plows still clear Highway 20/65, but getting that snow out of the easement area is up to the locals. Hence, Senate Bill 58, which would have the state remove snow from the highway in all towns with population 2,500 or less and add the line, “including any paved portion of the street’s right of way.”
When Brinkman first started, the commissioners met at 10 a.m. each week and the meetings went through the afternoon. He says much of the time was spent taking care of the county welfare situation such as listening to people ask for money after certain hardships.
That all changed with the hiring of a county welfare director, which freed up the commissioners to handle more pressing problems. It also allowed the meetings to start at 9 a.m. and run much shorter. A typical meeting now days lasts less than two hours.
A 1982 Government Accountability Office report found, for example, that the federal hiring freezes imposed under Presidents Carter and Reagan led to the loss of 445 IRS revenue agent and auditor staff, which resulted in government losses of tax revenue of more than 20 times the amount saved in salaries and benefits [Linda Miller, “Cutting Federal Workforce Not the Way to Eliminate Waste, Fraud and Abuse,” The Hill, 2016.12.19].
Codington County’s welfare director shows us that investing in government workers can provide better service and save money. President Obama visited Codington County this year; perhaps President-Elect Trump should visit as well.
Legislature, help me out. Every time I post about the Deep Borehole Field Test—you know, that nice little engineering project to try drilling perfectly straight three-mile holes in bedrock to see if maybe someday the United States Department of Energy might finally, permanently dispose of the nuclear waste we’ve been generating since the Manhattan Project—almost everybody on my blog, right and left, except for nuclear engineer (mad scientist?) Robert McTaggart, says Good God no, they’ll drop nuclear waste down those holes! Despite the assurances of everyone involved that no nuclear waste will be used in the Deep Borehole Field Test—the contract says so!—but on this issue, my readers trust nobody.
Dakota Free Press Bill 2017–01: Submitting Long-Term Nuclear Waste Disposal to a Public Vote
FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to submit nuclear waste disposal to statewide public vote.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. No person, corporation, public agency, political subdivision, or other entity may store nuclear waste anywhere in South Dakota without first obtaining a nuclear waste permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Section 2. Any entity seeking a nuclear waste permit shall submit an application to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources including the following information:
the source, amount, and composition of nuclear waste to be disposed;
the entity’s plan for containing, disposing, and monitoring the waste;
a description of the disposal site, including exact location and assessment of the geology, hydrology, land usage, cultural and economic features, and other relevant information;
the entity’s plan for remedying any leakage of the nuclear waste into the environment; and,
proof of financial resources to carry out all transportation, disposal, and clean-up activities associated with the plan.
Section 3. All items submitted in relation to a nuclear waste permit are public record from the moment of filing.
Section 4. The Department of Nuclear Waste may reject any nuclear waste application for incompleteness or deficiencies in scientific analysis, engineering, or financing.
Section 5. If the Department of Environment and Natural Resources does not reject a nuclear waste permit application, that application shall be submitted to a statewide vote in the next general election or, if deemed necessary by the Governor, a special election.
Section 6. If a majority of voters approve a nuclear waste permit in a statewide vote, the Department of Environment and Nuclear Waste may issue the permit.
Section 7. An entity receiving a nuclear waste permit must begin its nuclear waste disposal project within four years of certification of the public vote on that permit. If no physical work on the permitted site takes place within four years of issuance, the permit expires.
Section 8. Nuclear waste permits may not be transferred to entities not named in the initial nuclear waste permit application.
Section 9. Approved nuclear waste permits may not be amended. Once approved, a nuclear waste permit applies only to the type, amount, and location of nuclear waste specified in the final application.
Section 10. Whereas, this Act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, and this Act shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage and approval.
Readers, as always, I welcome your amendments.
South Dakotans had this public-vote power over nuclear waste thanks to a voter initiative in 1984. We used it once to reject a nuclear waste dump at Edgemont; then the Legislature took our power away in 1987.
Rep. Lana Greenfield threw political grenades last spring when the Borehole threatened her skeptical constituents in Spink County. Now that the Borehole proposal has moved from District 2 to District 27, will Reps. Elizabeth May and Steve Livermont and Senator Kevin Killer be as attentive to the fears of their Haakon County voters? If so, Rep. May, Rep. Livermont, and Senator Killer, DFP Bill 2017–1 is your first item for the hopper. Give voters the guarantee they crave that no one will sneak nuclear waste into the Boreholes or anywhere else in South Dakota: restore power over nuclear waste to the voters.
In his odd little press conference yesterday, Mayor Mike Huether repeated his assertion that government at all levels should be run like a business. As South Dacola points out, Mayor Huether couldn’t give specific examples of what running Sioux Falls like a business rather than as government looks like.
Some consensus has developed among scholars about the fundamental ways that running a government is different from running a business. Here are a few:
Government is about this thing called the “public interest.” There is no such animal in the private sector. Private firms care about their stakeholders and customers; they do not generally care about people who do not invest in their businesses or buy things from them. Thus, accountability is by necessity much broader in government; it is much more difficult to ignore particular groups or people.
Private-sector performance is measured by profitability, while performance measurement in government needs to focus on the achievement of outcomes.
Compromise is fundamental to success in the public sector. No one owns a controlling share of the government. When Gov. Rauner and the state legislature refused to negotiate, it resulted in Illinois operating without a budget for a full year. The notion of a separation of powers can be anathema to effective private management. It is central to the design of government, at least in the United States.
Government must constantly confront competing values. The most efficient solution may disadvantage certain groups or trample on individual or constitutional rights. In the private sector, efficiency is value number one; in government, it is just one of many values.
Government has a shorter time horizon. In government, the long term may describe the period between now and the next election. Thus there is a strong incentive to show relatively immediate impact.
Government actions take place in public, with much scrutiny from the press and the public. There is no equivalent of C-SPAN showing how decisions are made in the corporate boardroom. Corporate leaders do not find it necessary to explain their every decision to reporters [Philip Joyce, “The Enduring Myth That Government Should Be Run Like a Business,” Governing, 2016.12.14].
Mayor Huether refused to say whether he is running for Governor in 2018, but come on—the only reason the mayor’s party switch from Democrat to independent is press-conference-worthy only if it is part of a larger gambit to run for higher, partisan office. So saddle up, Democrats: our gubernatorial nominee will have to tackle two pro-business Republicans for Governor on the November 2018 ballot… and it will be up to us to explain to the voters that we love business, too, but we recognize the difference between running a business and serving the people.
The 16% of American counties that voted for Clinton generated 64% of American economic activity in 2015. Trump’s third of the map includes far more tiny boxes; I can slide 49 counties over from Clinton’s side and completely cover all 2,650 of Trump’s counties.
I wrote on first viewing that this split between high-output and low-output counties appears to align with the split between new-economy counties and old-economy counties. Donald Trump doesn’t even understand that divide; his business is wheeling-dealing for land and buildings, not providing goods or services. He doesn’t even know what “the cyber” is, let alone how it has fundamentally reshaped economic activity. He doesn’t grasp the global economy; he wants to throttle it and have us retreat back into some fantasy shell of isolationism that will tank the entire U.S. economy and leave other nations free to trade and innovate and grow, leaving us to become the next Portugal. Trump isn’t promising anything to put his lower-GDP counties in a better situation; he’s just promising to drag the bigger-GDP counties down.
Sharing my concern, the Brookings Institution’s Mark Muro and Sifan Liu write that a Presidential focus on boosting the GDP of those low-output counties is fine, if the Administration can look forward and accept change:
Given the election map we revealed, the Trump administration will likely feel pressure to respond most to the desires and frustrations of the nation’s struggling hinterland, and discount the priorities and needs of the nation’s high-output economic base.
On one hand, more attention to the economic and health challenges of rural and small-city Rustbelt America could be welcome, especially if it focuses on the right things: realism about current economic trends, adjustment to change, improving rural education and skills training, and enhancing linkages to nearby metropolitan centers. However, Trump’s promises to “bring back” the coal economy and “bring back” millions of manufacturing jobs (that now don’t exist thanks to automation) don’t speak wisely to real-world trends in low-output America. They look backwards and speak instead to local frustrations [Mark Muro and Sifan Liu, “Another Clinton-Trump Divide: High-Output America vs Low-Output America,” Brookings Institution, 2016.11.29].
Muro and Liu worry that focusing on economic development in lagging rural areas could leave high-output urban areas on their own in sustaining and building the education, research, and infrastructure that makes them successful. I’ve advocated a similar focus in South Dakota economic development: let our big, rich towns take care of themselves while focusing government intervention in places where the free market isn’t meeting economic needs, like the reservations.
But in a way, we already do that. Last March, WalletHub measured state dependency on the federal government, based on federal funding as a percentage of state revenue, the ratio of federal funding to IRS collections in each state, and the share of federal jobs in each state.
Of the ten states most dependent on federal funding and jobs, only New Mexico went for Clinton, by a margin of eight percentage points. The other nine most Uncle Sam-dependent states all went for Trump by double digits (19 points in Missouri to 42 points in West Virginia). Of the ten states least dependent on federal funding and jobs, nine went for Clinton (though it was close in New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Nevada). Only one of those more self-sufficient states, Kansas, went for Trump, by 21 points.
Real Republicans and Libertarians could read these maps and conclude is not that we need to understand the emotions and fears of the Trump voters but that we need to get them off their couches and off the dole and get them contributing to the new economy instead of dreaming that the Trumpist government will give them the things they used to work for.
Related Reading: Loren Collingwood of the Washington Post tests county data and finds a distinct correlation between Trump votes and loss of manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2014. However, Collingwood finds a slightly stronger correlation between Trump’s vote share and change in Hispanic population over the same period:
I also found evidence consistent with the “racial threat” hypothesis. As shown by the orange dotted line in the graph, Trump’s vote was higher in counties where the number of Latinos has increased significantly since 2000. This suggests that some voters may have supported Trump as a way of expressing white identity in an increasingly diverse nation [Loren Collingwood, “The County-by-County Data on Trump Voters Shows Why He Won,” Washington Post, 2016.11.19].
Collingwood finds even stronger negative predictors of Trump turnout in percentage of blacks, percentage of Hispanics, and, the strongest, percentage of residents with college degrees.
Trump may have played to economic anxiety, but he played more to uneducated white fright.