Huether On Sideras Case: “We’re Mad, We’re Sad”

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For the first time, Mayor Mike Huether is speaking at-length about the child pornography case against former fire chief Jim Sideras.  Huether described the alleged crime as a ‘tragic situation’ during a 45-minute news conference Wednesday.

Huether wouldn’t mention Sideras by name, but Huether made it clear that this child porn investigation against the former fire chief has taken a toll on the entire community. 

Huether says he’s relished responding to the political challenges and city emergencies throughout his administration.  But the child porn case against Sideras is a challenge of an entirely different nature.  

“I have had no satisfaction out of this one, none,” Huether said.

Huether says he, along with the rest of the city, has had a hard time processing the troubling allegations against Sideras.

“We’re mad, we’re sad, we’re confused, we’re hurt.  We don’t want any of this to be true,” Huether said.

Huether says he hasn’t spoken to Sideras since the case came to light.

“He’s not reached out to me and I’ve not reached out to him and I have no plans for that,” Huether said.

TIMELINE: Ex-Fire Chief Jim Sideras’ Career, Child Porn Charges

A selection panel has interviewed eight candidates from within Sioux Falls Fire Rescue to replace Sideras as fire chief.  

“We have one of the best fire rescue teams in the nation and we still do and my gut says we always will,” Huether said.

As Fire Rescue moves forward under new leadership, Huether says the rest of the city must also heal from the legal troubles of a once-trusted city leader.

“Something tragic happened in the city of Sioux Falls involving someone who no longer works here.  But we’re going to get through it; the cloud’s going to pass,” Huether said.

Division Chief Brad Goodroad is serving as interim fire chief.  Huether will interview the finalists for the post, and the city council will vote on the permanent replacement.  

Meanwhile, the city is making chaplains and mentors available to each fire rescue shift to help firefighters work through any issues they may have with the Sideras case.

We also learned that Sideras will collect his full retirement benefits, even if he’s convicted of the child porn possession charges. 



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