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South Dakota Supreme Court hears Sturgis Municipal Gov case Wednesday

STURGIS, S.D. – The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments today on a pair of cases involving municipal government and the city of Sturgis.

The two cases revolve around a petition brought forward by a group of citizens that asked for an election to decide whether or not Sturgis’ city manager form of government should be changed.

The city of Sturgis, however, said they couldn’t validate the petition because a city manager form of government doesn’t exist in state law. Rather, the city argued they have an aldermanic form of government that employs a city manager. A circuit court judge agreed and ruled against the petition gathering group.

Attorney Rob Anderson of May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing the city, says state statute is clear in that the governing body of the city has the authority to either employ or not employ a city manager.

Representing the petitioners was Kellen Willert of Bennett, Main, Gubbrud and Willert, who argued there is a right of the people to be heard.

Coupled with the petition case is a second suit brought by Sturgis Attorney Eric Davis, who says the city’s resolution to move forward with a new city manager following the resignation of Daniel Ainslie and the subsequent interim management team is not authorized and void.

The Supreme Court will take the consolidated case under advisement and issue a ruling later.


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