In an effort to change the Rapid City form of government, Mayor Steve Allender has turned to a City Manager and Home Rule structure, with hopes of removing state and citizen oversight of the Council’s actions.
In discussing the advantages of a Home Rule, Mayor Allender said in a Rapid City Journal article that he sees an advantage in that a Home Rule charter would “reduce the number of elected officials,” and has gone on to say in a KNBN News Center 1 interview that it would allow the City “more control” to do anything that is not explicitly prohibited by state law.
But Mayor Allender conveniently fails to discuss his idea of a City Manager, which under state law can have extra-ordinary powers granted them above what a Mayor is allowed to have under an Aldermanic or even Commissioner municipal structure currently. In addition, according to South Dakota Codified Law, City Managers are the Chief law enforcement officers of the City, have legislative powers, almost complete control over the City budget and its treasury, and hiring and firing power over almost all of City personnel. But what some say is the most distressing aspect of City Managers, is that they are not elected by the citizenry and are not legally required to live within the City they manage.
As the effort to over-turn the Rapid City municipal government, many are starting to oppose such efforts and calling it a form of local tyranny by Mayor Allender in his quest to remove what they call as necessary oversight of their elected officials.