City Attorney’s Office Top Wins
- New Human Rights Attorney and Human Relations Specialist: The City Attorney’s Office added two new team members in 2017: Human Relations Assistant City Attorney Katie Dunn and Human Relations Specialist Valerie Schonewill. Each brings extensive experience, which will assist the City Attorney’s Office in all parts of our mission. Dunn has extensive experience as a public defender and protecting rights of those she represented. Schonewill has been part of the City team, as she previously worked for Siouxland Libraries, and has seamlessly integrated into the Human Relations office.
- Affordable Housing Division: The Human Relations Division’s continuing partnership with Community Development’s Affordable Housing Division proves to be successful. Human Relations provides outreach and training to landlords and tenants about fair housing issues as a proactive measure to educate landlords and tenants about their rights and responsibilities.
- Vicious Animal Ordinance: The City Attorney’s Office provided legal assistance to Sioux Falls Animal Control by drafting an ordinance related to vicious animals to better protect citizens of Sioux Falls from certain animals that cause harm or death of persons or pets. It also holds persons accountable for repeatedly allowing their animals to run at large.
- Compassionate Sioux Falls Initiative: Compassionate Sioux Falls celebrated its one-year anniversary in 2017. The Human Relations Division is leading the Compassionate Sioux Falls initiative, which is a public/private partnership involving City employees, private individuals, and community groups and organizations. The City recognizes the residents of Sioux Falls generally act with compassion. This initiative encourages the community to continue to act with compassion and become a community that is accepting and welcoming to all. Compassionate Sioux Falls has recognized 29 businesses and organizations and five individuals who demonstrate compassion in our community. It has also continued to partner with Siouxland Libraries for its “Living Library” program. In the summer of 2017, Compassionate Sioux Falls, the Washington Pavilion, and community volunteers joined together to hold Compassionate Kids Camps, which engage local youth in learning more about and performing acts of compassion. Compassionate Sioux Falls will continue to recognize community members, groups, and organizations that act with compassion and will also continue to host activities to raise awareness and raise the level of compassion within our community.
- Timely and Reliable Legal Support to City Government: The City Attorney’s Office performed extensive legal work associated with the City’s multimillion dollar capital improvement program (streets, utilities, and updates to City parks and City-owned structures), including comprehensive review of construction contracts, reviewing and negotiating easements, and compliance with state and federal bid laws, environmental requirements, and other regulatory compliance. Further, the City Attorney’s Office drafted, reviewed, and participated in negotiation of more than 1,880 contracts and other documents for all City agencies in 2017. The City Attorney’s Office staff of nine lawyers managed a caseload of 1,012 court cases, which included magistrate court, small claims court, and code enforcement cases in 2017, including proceedings in Minnehaha and Lincoln County circuit courts as well as filings with various state and federal regulatory agencies and the South Dakota Supreme Court. The City Attorney’s Office provided timely and reliable legal support on numerous issues to the entire City government team, including the Mayor, City Council, department directors and staff, and the citizen boards.