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Impact Of City Council's Closed-Door Session

September 16, 2011, 9:55 PM by Perry Groten

Impact Of City Council's Closed-Door Session
SIOUX FALLS, SD - A University of Sioux Falls political science instructor thinks the mayor and city council can weather any short-term political fallout over this week's controversial executive session that led to the firing of city cler, Debra Owen.

Earlier this summer, our exclusive KELO-TV Argus Leader Poll found both Mayor Mike Huether and the city council enjoying high job approval ratings.

The mayor and city council have been riding an early wave of voter goodwill in Sioux Falls.

"The first year is the honeymoon phase and then you go into the reality phase," University of Sioux Falls Political Science Instructor Bob Barclay said.

Reality hit with controversy generated over the council's closed-door meeting.

"Yes, it's one of their functions I'm sure they didn't enjoy," Barclay said.

Still, Barclay thinks the controversy might only be a small bump in the road for the mayor and council, unless other troubles lie ahead.

"If there would be something that comes out that is not good or did not follow proper procedure, it could have a long-term effect," Barclay said.

The dust-up over the executive session comes against a national perception of growing disfunction at all levels of government.

"I think local government has had somewhat of a pass in some areas because national government gets much of the news if something goes wrong or something's awry. But local government, when something goes awry, people's ears perk up, they look for what's going on," Barclay said.

Barclay says high job approval ratings can be hard to maintain amid the instant offerings of the Internet age when the next political controversy can literally be just moments away.

Barclay doesn't think this week's city council controversy will affect results of this November's events center vote. Barclay thinks most voters already have their minds made up.

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