Rapid City’s Legal and Finance Committee approves revisions to the Code of Conduct for Elected Officials


City AttorneyRAPID CITY, S.D. – Rapid City is looking at revising its Code of Conduct for Elected Officials and the Legal and Finance Committee approved it Wednesday during its meeting.

The proposed revisions were made after several complaints were made about the current code, which was adopted in 2015.

The code revisions go before the council for final approval on Monday night.

The proposed policy

The new policy has a process where council leadership can decide if a complaint requires an investigation. It requires Council leadership to inform the rest of the Council what action, if any, is being taken on a complaint, but the council can still have a discussion if they want.

Unlike the previous one where the attorney’s office had to investigate every complaint, even if on the face of the complaint it doesn’t appear that the Code of Conduct was violated.

There is also a complaint form that people can fill out if filling a report on an elected official.

The complaint form

On the form, it’s simply just filling out your name, where you’re from and a narrative explanation of the violation.

“Well, I think it just provides consistency. In the past, we did require that the complaints be in writing, but I think every complaint somebody submitted something a little different,” Joel Landeen, city attorney of the City of Rapid City, said. “One of the last complaints we received, the complainants organized and came up with their own form. I think that caused some issues at the time because it had information that maybe wasn’t personal and it wasn’t a city form. But I suspect some of the people that actually filled it out thought it was a city form and it wasn’t. So it was just something that in discussions about how we could improve, it felt like having just a forum for people rather than trying to let them try to figure out what they needed to do to just provide them with a forum so they had a basis to get their complaint out.”

Why is it important to make these revisions?

“It’s smoothed out the process. It potentially saves some work and resources that might not otherwise need to be expended,” Landeen said. “We tried to do it and we have talked about it for a while, but we kind of wanted to do it at a period of time where we didn’t have any complaints and we had let some time settle since the last complaint. So hopefully that discussion wasn’t influenced by people’s experience with the last complaints. So we were just trying to find the time that felt right.”

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News