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Sioux Falls City Council member concerned city employees being sent to a counseling firm directed by a felon on parole

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Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 9:16 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Imagine being a police officer, scheduling an appointment with a counselor to process a recent tragic event on the job, and then finding out that your counselor is a person with a new felony conviction. That is the situation of not only Sioux Falls Police officers but the fire department and all city employees.

At Tuesday night’s Sioux Falls City Council meeting, more information was provided about one of the two employee assistance programs the city contracts with for counseling services.

“...related distress or employees that may be experiencing issues related to stress, depression, grief, codependency financial problems, or addictive disorders.”

The question was raised about the director, who is also one of the counselors of Key Solutions.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr indicated constituents had contacted him regarding Director Tami Haug-Davis, who had accepted a plea deal last year while admitting to knowingly and intentionally making materially false statements to investigators regarding the creation, submission, and veracity of board meeting minutes and documents of the Missouri Valley Crisis Center in Chamberlain, where she was also a director.

Starr says he has concerns:

“The main one being is that the director of the program has some federal charges and is now been sentenced is finishing out the sentencing being on probation,” said Starr. “Counseling is a trust process.”

The Sioux Falls Director of Human Resources Bill O’Toole responded to the concerns at the meeting.

“That activity occurred prior to employment with key solutions happened with an entity out of Chamberlain, South Dakota,” said O’Toole.

We looked at the timeline and found that the dates didn’t line up as O’Toole had stated. She was the director of Missouri Valley Crisis center from September 2016 to February 2019, indicated by Department of Justice papers.

Haug-Davis posted on social media that she started at Key Solutions in November 2017, while the criminal activity was documented by the DOJ from Nov 2018 to July 2020.

The other EAP firm that also contracts with the city, Family Service, is not of concern to Starr.

O’ Toole provided a statement today to Dakota News Now:

“The criminal activity in question (making material false statement) did not occur in the employ of Key Solutions;

· The plea did not and would not result in loss of her licensure as a counselor;

· The plea did not involve activity involving patient care; and

· Keystone advised that they would not allow this event to jeopardize any services under the professional services agreement with the City.”

O’Toole also stated at the City Council meeting, “Her plea didn’t result in a loss of her license as a counselor.”

There is a possibility that the State was not yet aware of the felony. The South Dakota Department of Social Services describes the process of reviewing a license for a person such as Haug-Davis. Although they wouldn’t speak to her situation specifically, they offered how a person could lose their license. “When licensees file for their renewal, their criminal background is re-checked. To trigger an investigation prior to renewal, a complaint or self-report by the licensee would be needed.”

“If you can’t trust someone who’s lied to law enforcement in just not that long ago,” said Starr. “How do we get our police officers and our firefighters and our city employees to trust their counselor when there are charges against that person?”

We reached out to all City Council members who vote to approve the contract renewal. While several declined, deferred, or were busy, we did hear from Councillor Curt Soel who said the job of City Council is to not do background checks on contractors that are hired, and that the Council relies heavily on the departments arranging the contracts to ensure the work is properly fulfilled.

Dakota News Now reached out to Key Solutions on several occasions Wednesday, as well as parent company Keystone, and did not receive a response. We also sent messages to Haug-Davis before and after our on-air news story aired and continue to invite a conversation and interview.

Bill O’Toole, Director of Human Resources full statement regarding Haug-Davis:

“The City’s Human Resource Department was aware of this matter last year, and we engaged with the CEO of Keystone to express our concerns. Tami Haug-Davis is an employee of Keystone/Key Solutions, and they concluded the following:

· The criminal activity in question (making material false statement) did not occur in the employ of Key Solutions;

· The plea did not and would not result in loss of her licensure as a counselor;

· The plea did not involve activity involving patient care; and

· Keystone advised that they would not allow this event to jeopardize any services under the professional services agreement with the City.

According to Keystone, Ms. Haug-Davis’ performance has been acceptable and they are aware of no issues. Since this occurred, the City is also not aware of any performance issues under our professional services contract. Given the assurances from the CEO of Keystone and no other professional service concerns, the City agreed to move forward and pursue a one-year contract renewal. The City has the ability to terminate the contract with appropriate notice.”

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