Wow. I didn't see that one coming.
Mayor Munson calls it quits.

Per the Argus Leader, and all the other media outlets tonight, Mayor Munson has decided to give up running for second term as Sioux Falls Mayor. Read it all here when you have a minute, but here's a snippet to whet your appetite:
Mayor Dave Munson said late today that he will not run for re-election.

He said he didn't want other candidates to be bogged down in controversy.

"I love the city so much. I want this to be a positive campaign," he said.

Munson said he reached his decision last night after talking with his wife, Linda.

"It was hard on her," he said.

Munson then called friends this afternoon to tell them he would not seek re-election.

The dramatic turn of events ahead of the April 11 election comes after several weeks of scrutiny over Munson's campaign finances.

In his conversation with Ray Trankel, a member of his inner-circle, he told him not to try and talk him out of it.

"I think he's just tired. It's a no-win situation. He told me, 'Regardless of what I do, people just continue to shoot at me,'" Trankel said.
It's not often you see political opponents and the media hound someone out of office. But i'm sure there comes a breaking point for most people where they end up saying "this isn't fun anymore."

In a way, this is too bad. I personally like Dave. I think he's one of the nicest politicians I'd ever dealt with. I never detected a trace of arrogance - he just always came off as a good guy. So, with a little sadness, the SDWC bids him good luck in his future endeavors.

Comments

mhs said…
Many will say in coming days it was a hostile, ambitious Council that brought him down, but, the endless parade of mistakes, shoddy work and questionable decisions show the cause was much deeper. The mayor was done in by consistenty bad staff work: in his office, in the City agencies and, finally, in his own campaign team.

His is an object lesson in the importance of loyal, hardworking staff. Anyone in professional politics knows that the quality of the people around them is really what determines the success of an officeholder. He made a number of staffing mistakes: 1) he did not bring in his own team immediately when he was elected, the one time when he can replace staff with little controversy, 2) He lacks still a qualified chief of staff to knock heads and drive his agenda, 3) He kept in place long-serving department heads who had little loyalty to him and, sadly for us, little ability to cope with the demands of a fast growing city.

The back to back floods two years ago were when the wheels first came off. The incredible incompetence and rear-covering by Lyle Johnson in the face of hundreds of heavily damaged homes shook confidence in the City badly. The mayor was silent while Johnson and his deputy Smith dug themselves in deeper and deeper with every interview.

When the over-spending on capital projects came to light, the Council had already lost faith in the Public Works department and now lost faith in the Finance Office. After that, even an honest disagreement like the fund-raising disclosure requirements quickly raised sinister suspicions.

In public office, there are times when somebody just has to get fired. There has to be accountability, the electorate demands it. Dave was simply too nice a guy to do so. Even when surrounded by a staff he couldn't trust, he didn't act.

That is the lesson to take from this sad chapter in a long public life.
Anonymous said…
I think we can add "getting Munsoned" to the political vernacular in SD.

"to have the whole world in the palm of your hand and then blow it. It’s a figure of speech."
--Kingpin

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