The First 90 Days
As a newly elected public official, the public arena may seem foreign. Not only are you charged with knowledge of your local ordinances and policies, you must feel comfortable with state statutes and policies. To assist both newly elected officials and those previously elected to office, the League publishes the Handbook for Municipal Officials. The handbook introduces newly elected officials to their new jobs and also serves as a reference manual throughout an official’s tenure in office. The handbook references state statutory law and Attorney General Opinions offering further commentary on state law.
To help newly elected officials get started and to help returning officials review their accepted duties, we have created the following timeline of: important actions to take within the first 90 days of office.
Your First 30 Days in Office:
Your First 60 Days in Office:
- Check with the finance officer about being covered by a bond – a bond is required of certain elective and appointive municipal offers (SDCL 3-1-5). (Bond amount is determined by particular office and city size.)
- Learn about the South Dakota Open Meetings law and become familiar with bid laws and surplus property laws. Cities must follow specific procedures to acquire, dispose of or exchange property.
- Become familiar with how your public office will affect your ability to become personally involved with areas of city concern.
- Request a detailed map of your city.
- Request and review a copy of the current city budget.
- Request a copy of the city code of ordinances and then review the table of contents so that you are somewhat familiar with what the code contains.
- Review city council meeting minutes from the previous three to six months.
- Meet your city employees.
- Review the most recent list of goals and objectives, if any, adopted by the city council.
- Talk with your fellow policy leaders and key staff members about the processes and methods used to effectively work together.
- Last but not least…get to know the League…we are here as a resource.
- Review the current city budget and the most recent city audit or annual financial report.
- Review a list of city employees that shows the name, job title, salary, and tenure of each person on the payroll. Compare this information with the salaries from surrounding communities of similar size. Are salaries reasonable?
- Read your city’s capital improvements plan or community builder plan or long-term projects list, if they exist.
Your First 90 Days in Office:
- Review the job descriptions on file for city employees.
- Review the city’s policy manuals and employment contracts. Do you have a personnel policy? Are you aware of any current human resource issues within the city? The SDML has Sample Personnel Policies available for purchase, contact April at 800-658-3633.
- Request a copy of the city’s zoning and district map for your reference.
- Review your city’s civil defense plan and/or disaster preparedness and emergency response plan, if one exists. If you do not have one, consider whether it is necessary.
- Read your city’s most recent water and wastewater inspection reports.
- Review your city’s urban renewal plans or urban renewal district plans, if any exist.
- Review your city’s comprehensive plan, if one exists.
- Review your city’s investment policy. As a great investment alternative, the League endorses the South Dakota Public Funds Investment Trust (FIT). Contact Carrie Harer at the League (800-658-3633) regarding FIT or for a sample investment policy.
- Review your workers’ compensation and insurance policies…we can help with this too! Contact Sandi Larson at the League office at 800-658-3633.