Knowing that any Democrat we put forward will face the usual assaults for liberalism, supporting an income tax, and whatever other traditional partisan pasta the GOP can throw at our wall, I don’t want the additional burden of a Huether candidacy forcing me to make excuses for Mayor Heuther’s tone-deaf, sneaky management practices that sound as bad as anything the Republican regime foists upon us. Let’s look at Joe Sneve’s report on the shady contracting behind Mayor Huether’s big new SiouxFallsHasJobs.com (self-)promotion:
According to City Attorney David Pfeifle, state statute requires all contracts valued at $25,000 or more go before the City Council. In this case, the city’s Community Development department paid a web developer about $24,000 to build the site. It then entered two separate contracts worth about $8,000 and $3,500 for kiosk and billboard advertising [Joe Sneve, “Spending Reform Talks Sparked by Jobs Website,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.04.09].
Those contract values look as shady as the lowball salary figures the Rounds Administration used to keep SDRC Inc’s EB-5 contract under the no-bid threshold in 2009.
To what possible end does the Mayor engage in this shady contracting? His community development director offers a thin excuse about the element of surprise:
Community Development director Darrin Smith said last week that they kept the campaign from the council until the launch to prevent plans from being prematurely leaked to the press and public. Smith did not immediately respond to a request for further comment Wednesday [Sneve, 2015.04.09].
Help me out, marketing mavens: if Sioux Falls Has Jobs, and if the city is preparing an ad campaign to let people know that Sioux Falls Has Jobs, how would letting the city council or even the whole darn town know that such a campaign is coming cause Sioux Falls Not to Have Jobs? What’s the secret here?
Councillor Christine Erickson appears to be shaking her head over that same question:
For Councilor Christine Erickson, an open dialogue between the mayor, department heads and the council, no matter what risk there is of derailing a project in its planning stages, is good policy that wasn’t adhered to during the preparation of SiouxFallsHasJobs.com.
“When you are spending taxpayer dollars and launching programs, I don’t see the negative impact in having those conversations” with the council, she said. “There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the concept of the project at this point, it’s just how we got there” [Sneve, 2015.04.09].
The shady contracting and secrecy surrounding Mayor Huether’s jobs marketing program seems to be equal parts dumb and arrogant. Dumb and arrogant are not on my checklist for Democratic candidates or for any kind of candidate who wants to run my community or my state.