A former Yankton County commissioner has followed through on filing an ethics complaint regarding actions of the current County Commission.
Last Wednesday, Todd Woods filed a notarized complaint with the Yankton County State’s Attorney’s Office. The complaint concerns actions taken by the present county commissioners on Oct. 1. During this meeting, an agenda item read “Appoint Acting Zoning Administrator” with no further elaboration.
Deputy Zoning Administrator Jessica Atkinson was named acting zoning administrator.
Commissioner Joe Healy was also appointed to guide Atkinson and, further, the motion established that the Planning Commission would be authorized to act as zoning administrators in cases of zoning enforcement. Neither of these items had been alluded to in the commission’s agenda.
Last week, Woods appeared before the County Commission at its regular meeting to go over his concerns.
“But as for public agenda items, for the public to be engaged, we should know what other items may or may not be on the agenda,” Woods said. “Giving authority to the planning and zoning board was not a published agenda item.”
He gave the commissioners an opportunity to reverse its decisions from Oct. 1, which they did not.
Woods told the Press & Dakotan that he moved forward with the complaint because the board chose not to act on the concerns raised.
“I asked the commissioners to reconsider their vote because it wasn’t a public item on the agenda,” he said. “They said no and I proceeded to file a complaint. What I want them to do is follow the proper procedure.”
Woods said that it’s now up to the state’s attorney moving forward.
“The ball’s in his court,” he said. “He’s got a signed and notarized complaint, and he said in the meeting he was going to forward it on to another state’s attorney. I’m just going to have to go with his word that that’s what’s going to happen.”
Multiple attempts to reach Yankton County State’s Attorney Rob Klimisch late last week were unsuccessful.
Woods said he’s looking out for the rights of the public.
“I’d like to make sure the process is followed with open meetings laws,” he said. “It’s the commission’s responsibility to provide to the public what they’re going to be voting on. How can the public be engaged if they don’t know what’s going to be voted on at the meetings. That’s all we ask of the public that was asked of us when I was on the commission. It’s the commission’s responsibility to be open and provide that information to the public so the public can be informed, and if the public wants to step up and communicate, they can. If the public does not, that’s their right.”
Woods has also alleged that video of his appearance before last Tuesday’s meeting had been altered.
“I find it interesting that the video from the meeting on Tuesday is already up on the YouTube page, but there is already an edit on it and some information that has been cut out when I was talking to the commission,” he said. “Why was it cut out?”
The next meeting of the Yankton County Commission is Nov. 19. The agenda for that meeting will not be available until later this week.
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