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Shady Contracting Keeps Huether’s Job Marketing Program Secret from Council

Sioux Falls Has Jobs—the marketing campaign Mayor Mike Huether had to keep secret from the City CouncilSome of my Democratic friends wonder why I’m not enthusiastic about putting up Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether as a statewide candidate for our party.

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 (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

“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.


  1. Nick Nemec 2015-04-09 09:31

    Not to mention that the best way for employers to fill unfilled jobs is to improve the benefit package for those jobs and the most important benefit is wage paid.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-09 09:50

    No doubt! Mayor Huether appears to be pushing the same kind of corporate welfare that Governor Daugaard does and running the same sort of interference for employers who won’t belly up to the free-market bar and pay competitive wages. Would a Governor Huether represent any substantive change in how South Dakota does business?

  3. 96Tears 2015-04-09 10:19

    There can be only one reason Huether mucked up a good idea by hiding it from the Council. He wants it on the political ledger as his, and only his, idea.

    Huether seems to suffer from low personal self esteem which propels his manic need to shower himself every day with his own praise. He’s been like this since he took office, probably before when he was T. Denny’s errand boy. The location of the T. Denny auditorium to the most worthless part of Sioux Falls and his refusal to take anybody else’s thoughts seriously on its location is at the top of the list of self-inflicted blunders. This is just another one from a “not ready for prime time” hack.

    Bottom line, Mike Huether strikes me as creepy. Having nobody on a statewide Democratic Party ballot position would be slightly better than enduring Huether’s manic, self-conceited braying from Rowena to Rochford.

    Yep. That purty much sums up my opinion of the incumbent mayor of Sanford Falls.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-09 11:41

    Curious, 96: just how much credit is there to be had in copying an idea from the Republican governor, slapping your face on it, and co-opting it for additional free name/face recognition for whatever campaign you have planned next? What credit is there to be taken for encouraging people to look for jobs in South Dakota’s largest city, a city that is our largest city because for decades the I-29/I-90 junction, the railroads, the airport, and the proximity to the Twin Cities and Omaha have made it a natural place to find more job opportunities than pretty much anywhere else in the state?

    I still won’t brook an empty ballot. But if Huether dares, we’d better have a primary.

  5. Gayle 2015-04-09 14:49

    There is no one who can convince me Huether is not an elephant in a donkey suit because there is nothing about him that leads me to believe he is a Democrat.

    @96. I agree with you wholeheartedly. A few years ago, I had dealings with Huether and found him condescending and insulting. The only thing that makes him any different than Chris Christie is he has slightly better manners, but a bully is a bully. Ok that is the nicest thing I will say about the man!

    In the last 15 years I have had to look for new jobs because of mergers, downsizing, and I was forced to leave because I making too much money. After a few years constantly job hunting, you realize there are many companies, who always are looking for employees because they have such a high turnover. Many companies will not pay for experience, and do not offer much for bennies or any insurance. The attitude is “the help” is just a commodity, not an asset, and if you do not like how you are treated feel free to leave. Years ago an employee was considered and asset to the company, but not any more.

    I have worked for over 45 years. I have years of diverse experience, good work record and many skills, but don’t make much more than in the 90’s and fewer bennies. What a great right to work for less state!

  6. MOSES 2015-04-09 16:10

    Sanford Falls awesome almost as good as subprime Mike.

  7. Kurt Evans 2015-04-09 16:38

    Cory wrote:
    >”I still won’t brook an empty ballot. But if Huether dares, we’d better have a primary.”

    And remember that under SB 69 Democratic primary candidates for governor or either house of Congress in 2016 and 2018 would need 250 percent of the number of signatures they need under current law: more than a thousand extra signatures per candidate.

    At that rate, the SB 69 referendum would “pay for itself” in about 13 candidates, and its many other unjust restrictions would all be averted at no additional cost.

  8. Daniel Buresh 2015-04-09 17:25

    The city got hosed on that one. Simple mobile ready front-end plastered over an Indeed API. I could have built the thing overnight. 24k a day is not a bad rate. I even made the challenge to all the engineers I know on Facebook. One had it up and running for his area in Montana in under 2 hours. All I can think of is they spent all that money for 2 pie charts and a bar graph that were probably purchased controls to begin with. I want to know who got that check.

  9. Sam@ 2015-04-09 21:03


    I agree Mayor Mike is not a person to have running for state wide office. He is a democrat who believes in running with the elephants.

    He will not win any state wide office anyway.

  10. Darin 2015-04-10 08:50

    I see from the comments on this story that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Huether is not perfect but he would be an upgrade over Daugaard and the current agenda of the Republicans that control this state. If Stephanie Herseth does not take herself off the bench, Huether is the most electable Democrat to the governor’s office. And by the way, if you can’t work with Republicans in this state, you are not getting elected governor.

    When you guys get done tearing Huether apart and patting each other on the back for your petty slights, we can get back to electing the next Republican governor that agrees roads are a higher priority than education in South Dakota.

  11. Daniel Buresh 2015-04-10 10:42

    You should see what the current #1 job listing is on the site.

  12. mike from iowa 2015-04-10 12:50

    DB-is this supposed to be someone’s idea of a joke or maybe a law enforcement sting?

  13. Bill Fleming 2015-04-10 12:57

    MFI & DB, looks like someone’s actively spamming the site when I looked, the meth lab thing was gone, and something else funky was up. Now that one’s gone too, and an ad for Sioux Falls needing more “black people” was in its place.

    Somebody’s jerkin’ their chain.

    They need some security work. Must not have been part of the website design package, I guess, and it looks like maybe someone’s giving them a little demonstration of their vulnerability in that regard. Maybe some of your pals, DB.

    You know what they say, “the fox smells his own hole first.” LOL

  14. Daniel Buresh 2015-04-10 13:05

    No idea who is doing it. I just had that link sent to me, but I’m sure everyone will be getting in on it now that the Argus has posted an article about it and I’ve seen it on a few people’s facebook pages. It looks like they are using javascript to filter the results so you may see them come and go. This should have been their #1 concern using a 3rd party service. They have no control over the content and no one is going to be able to to account for every possibly inappropriate posting.

  15. Bill Fleming 2015-04-10 13:05

    FYI, here’s a direct copy and paste of the bogus ad rom the website:

    Black People Needed
    City of Sioux Falls – Sioux Falls, SD
    This town needs more black people. All you have to do is move here!

    Please, it’ll make us look better in the public eye!

    Required experience:

    being black: 5 years

    Indeed – 31 minutes ago – save job
    » Apply Now
    Please review all application instructions before applying.

  16. Gayle 2015-04-10 13:32

    I am still seeing the ones about the meth lab and black people wanted.
    This is the latest entry.

    Vaccinate Your Kids
    City of Sioux Falls – Sioux Falls, SD

    In the first six months of 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 10 measles outbreaks—the largest of which (21 cases) occurred in a Minnesota county, where many children were unvaccinated because of parental concerns about the safety of the standard MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella. At least seven infants in the county who were too young to receive the MMR vaccine were infected.

    This is embarrassing and I am ashamed of you. You are literally killing children with your ignorance. These troubling statistics show that the failure to vaccinate children endangers both the health of children themselves as well as others who would not be exposed to preventable illness if the community as a whole were better protected.

    The key facts parents need to know, are that vaccines prevent potentially fatal diseases, that vaccines have a high degree of safety, and that their safety is constantly evaluated and reevaluated in a system operating independently from the pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines. Unless this message gets spread widely and well, too many doctors and parents are going to find themselves in emergency rooms and isolation wards, watching children suffer with the devastating effects of measles, whooping cough or some other readily preventable infectious disease.

    Do not have children if you do not care, and don’t you dare harm mine.

    Required experience:
    •Intelligence: 1 year

    Indeed – 24 minutes ago – save job

  17. Bill Fleming 2015-04-10 14:06

    Yikes! It’s a runaway spam machine. Whoops!

  18. emmett r 2015-04-10 14:20


  19. grudznick 2015-04-10 14:48

    Mr. Fleming, they needed some hot pink ink on their blog didn’t they?

  20. Bill Fleming 2015-04-10 15:30

    Grudz, doesn’t everybody?

  21. Bill Fleming 2015-04-10 15:38

    p.s. Mr Grudznick, did you notice that Mr. Newland thinks your author/inventor is me? I find that at once, humorous, sad, complimentary, humiliating, and terrifying. In short, I’m underwhelmingly ambivalent about it. How about you?

    (p.s. I have assured him that such is not the case, and now, like the rest of us, he’s back to wondering who in the heck is writing your stuff. A complete waste of everyone’s time, I know, and no doubt what you intended.)

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-10 15:39

    Darin, I agree that we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I’m still waiting for the good.

    If the most electable Democrat in the state is a former banker who governs with the same crony capitalist outlook and lack of transparency as Dennis Daugaard, then we need to find new Democrats.

  23. mike from iowa 2015-04-10 15:42

    I sent the link to Juanita Jean and the mudflats for laughs. Hope it isn’t a virus.

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