Sturgis residents concerned about city government

In 2021, a petition was circulated asking for the City of Sturgis to hold an election on whether to keep the ‘City Manager’ position.
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 5:35 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

STURGIS, S.D. (KEVN) - The Sturgis City Council voted to keep their form of government, which is a ‘City Manager’ form of government. However, some Sturgis voters are concerned that this is taking power away from them.

In 2021, a petition was circulated asking for the City of Sturgis to hold an election on whether to keep the ‘City Manager’ position.

Although the petition got the required number of signatures, the election was never held.

There are now two cases in front of the South Dakota Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of not having that vote.

Despite the litigation, Sturgis’ City Council voted 8-1 to keep the form of government.

Mayor Mark Carstensen said the council has been open and transparent as to why they’re keeping the role.

“The process is in place, where elected officials make decisions for a group of people, and they’re empowered to make those decisions cause of being elected.”

However, Eric Davis, an attorney who’s leading a new petition effort to have a vote on the city’s form of government, said that citizens are rightfully concerned about how much power a city manager is entitled to.

“Can a person who is in that kind of appointed position, who’s been in office longer than any other elected official, any city council member, any mayor, is it reasonable to believe that a person like that could become so powerful and have so much access to information and so much control over the council, that the council has no de facto supervisory powers.”

Davis hopes to garner a thousand signatures in the next three weeks.