Can the Rapid City Council move forward after months of argument - KOTA Territory News

Can the Rapid City Council move forward after months of arguments?

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After months of arguments about whether Rapid City's internal auditing committee meetings should be open to the public; a decision is made.

But there was still a lot of 'finger pointing' during a heated discussion at Monday night's City Council meeting.

It was created in late 2011; a watchdog of sorts over the city's finances.

"But it's caused enormous division," said Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker.

Instead the COMPASS Committee's become the center of controversy.

"We had a situation where a council member, Bill Clayton, said something supposedly offensive to Charity Doyle, and the chairman of the audit committee filed a complaint," said Mayor Kooiker.

The exchange happened behind closed doors, so Mayor Kooiker made a push for open compass meetings.

A move Alderwoman Bonnie Peterson says was motivated by the wrong reasons.

"Using the weakest link possible, you attempted to tie the COMPASS committee to the alderperson investigation," said Petersen.

"I think that the compass issue has been intertwined into other politics by the Mayor and the true story hasn't been told," said Jerry Wright, Ward 3 Alderman.

"I think a 6 year old, a ten year old, a 12 year old, anyone could put these pieces together and I think our mayor did," said John Roberts, Ward 4 Alderman.

The back and forth continued for an hour.

"I think that we've spent an inordinate amount of time on this and it's sad," said Wright.

Before finally voting to move forward with open COMPASS meetings.

"The Mayor can fabricate, and in fact has as you've heard, anything he wants to. So I feel it is best to document and open the meetings," said Charity Doyle, Ward 1 Alderwoman.

"I firmly believe that this is the best direction, for COMPASS meetings to be open," said Ron Sasso, Ward 5 Alderman.

But the Mayor hopes all the council's progress isn't overlooked.

"We passed 13 different ordinances streamlining processes and procedures. We've eliminated 43 different committees, streamlining government for the good of our citizens.

We have incredible growth happening in our community. That's what should be the focus, and not the middle school politics that we saw last night," said Mayor Kooiker.

While the bickering may be over for now, time will tell if the tension created by the controversy will fade.

"Hopefully we can put this mess behind us soon," said Mayor Kooiker.

"Let's please, please move this city forward as we have been and focus on the important issues," said Sasso.

After an investigation into Alderman Bill Clayton's actions, conducted by the City Attorney's Office, the city decided to take no action.

 

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