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Sioux Falls Mayor proposes $2,000 bonus for full-time city employees

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Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 4:15 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - City employees may soon be getting a significant bonus.

Sioux Falls Mayor PaulTenHaken has brought forward what he’s calling the “Employer of Choice Plan,” which is designed to retain and attract employees.

The most eye-catching part of the plan would give full-time city employees a $2,000 bonus. That money would mostly come out of the general fund, and add up to a price tag of nearly $2.5 million.

It’s all being discussed by the Sioux Falls City Council Tuesday.

In addition to a bonus, the proposal would modify sick leave for more flexibility and increase vacation time.

New employees would start at no less than $17.50 per hour, and current employees would get another $500 bonus for successfully referring someone to a full-time position.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Greg Neitzert sees a need for the move.

“City employees provide critical city services, so it’s really important that we have top-notch, quality employees, and that we don’t have turnover, and that we don’t have unfilled positions, because they’re providing services to our citizens,” Neitzert said.

However, there are some reservations about the Mayor’s plan.

“It’s a lot of money, so we need to hear about it,” Neitzert said.

City Councilor Pat Starr is unsure how the administration landed on the number 2,000, and if that amount is the correct size for a bonus. He also feels the council has been backed into a corner.

“How do we say no? Because, the Mayor’s promised employees a $2,000 bonus,” Starr said.

An ethics question is also at hand with the Mayor up for re-election this spring.

“This could have waited until June,” Starr said. “I think what’s unfortunate is that we’re promising things to employees, it becomes public, and then it’s really just a campaign promise, other than the $2,000 bonus.”

Councilor Neitzert disagrees.

“I certainly don’t think giving, potentially, some sort of incentive to city employees is something that is necessarily going to win a lot of votes, so I don’t think that’s an issue,” Neitzert said.

Either way, employment will be a large topic moving forward.

“It’s good that we’re going to get a chance to finally discuss where we’re at with our employees,” Starr said.

In order to move forward with the Employer of Choice Plan, the Sioux Falls City Council will need to approve two associated ordinances. Those will both be voted on at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. If passed, they would go to a second reading next week.

For more information on the Mayor’s plan, click here.

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