Response to Uninformed Nay-Sayers

To you who say there is a “good ole boys” network and an “ascendancy process” in city hall, let me relieve your anxiety.

There is no “ascendancy process” (your words). There is a “succession plan” which is present in every, and I mean every, soundly run organization in the business world, nonprofit world, and government sector.

In the case of the Mayor’s appointment of a new police chief, this plan was ignored—and maybe for good reason—we have no way of knowing.  But—and this is a big but—without any participation by the Board of Directors (in this case the City Council) there is no justification for jumping over two captains and an acting chief in the type of closed process the Mayor used. If you jump over them the Board should have notified (with due time to act—rather than by putting this on the agenda for a regular meeting). 

If there were good reasons for “throwing” those three hard working and carefully promoted and trained men “under the bus,” let’s hear them. The choice should be made public to the taxpayers who are being “end-runned.”

If such an abortive process has not happened before—at least not in the past thirty years—then the Mayor owes taxpayers and citizens an explanation for the unusual process he followed — and all of us, particularly the Council, are entitled to the information they need to assure themselves that the Mayor’s choice was the best possible one.  It’s not “his” police chief.  It’s ours.  All of ours.

The Mayor’s cadre of online yes men may not agree, or even “get it,” but that’s because they do not want to. But “Thems the Facts”—I did not make them up. I just love this town that I have lived in for nearly 83 years, and I care about those Police who have laid their lives on the line those 83 years.  They deserve the best chief and a selection and process that is above reproach.

2 thoughts on “Response to Uninformed Nay-Sayers

  1. A Voice from the East
    The Mayor appointed a Lt. As Police Chief of Sioux Falls. He to jumped “over” the Captains who all filed a law suit as they were working to rise in the system. They lost.
    One is a police chief in another city
    One retired and I forget what happened to the other(s). In less than one year the department lost 50 yrs of law enforcement in the Sioux Falls Community.
    That alone in its self is a tremendous loss in the community’s law enforcement knowledge base.
    This is one of those unintended consequences.
    Also the “New Chief” is now beholden to the Mayor.

  2. Honestly, I have nothing against “good old boys.” In some respects, on some issues, I am a “good old boy” myself. I understand that “good old boys” are often the ones who get things done. I also understand the value of “succession plans,” but that they need to be tempered by a governing body that actually makes decisions. I think that the difference between the phrase “succession plan” and the phrase “ascendancy process” is semantic–either way it is the department that ends up picking its own new head–not the politically accountable elected officials. State law says that the Mayor, who is politically accountable for his or her decisions, is the one that nominates department heads. Much of the criticism of this nomination is that the Mayor didn’t let the department pick its own new Chief via its succession plan, and I don’t think that is a legitimate criticism. Another criticism, which came from a Council member, and which I found disappointing, is that “I am voting against this for reasons I can’t say because they involve personnel matters.” That slander by innuendo is the lowest form of street corner gossip. It appears more and more that the City Council is far more interested in bolstering its factions, even if that means deferring important policy-guided decisions to city departments which are not politically accountable, than it is in actually making decisions. Well, what’s done is done, and we have an “Acting Chief.” Rapid City will soldier on, I expect, but will continue to be viewed with skepticism by its own Native populations, and by neighboring Native populations.

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