Sturgis finance officer declines to certify petitions citing advice from City Attorney
STURGIS, S.D. – The City of Sturgis has declined to certify petitions presented December 16 seeking a change in the form of city of government.
City Finance Officer Faye Bueno released a letter late Thursday that explains the city’s action.
The petitions were presented by Justin and Tammy Bohn and Brenda Vasknetz of the group “Sturgis Citizens for Change.” Entitled “Petition to Change Municipal Government in the Municipality of Sturgis,” the petition sought to oust the current city manager. Bueno, who must certify the petition before an election can be held, sought the advice of City Attorney Mark Marshall as to whether the question posed was a proper subject for a referendum.
Marshall in December advised that a city manager is not a “form of government,” but is instead a special power granted to the municipal government to employ a city manager and was not subject to a referendum.
Bueno, in her letter sent to the group, cited a 1939 law revision by the South Dakota Legislature which afforded city managers due process and vested the municipal governing body with the exclusive power to hire and fire these individuals. Such administrative decision by governing entities are not subject to a referendum election.
You can see a copy of the letter here: Petition Decline Letter