Fixing the Court System
As a new Minnehaha County Commissioner in January of 2007, Jeff had already been a regular attendee of commission meetings and an observer of issues. He was already aware of the need to add more judges and more courtrooms to the Second Judicial District, which consists of Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties.
He encouraged a joint effort by all five commissioners that informed the public and secured help from architects and contractors to help solve it. An addition was constructed with zero public opposition, adding six new courtrooms to take care of the problem and provide for space for the burgeoning County population.
Minnehaha County now handles one third of all court proceedings in South Dakota with the fifteen judges that operate in the Minnehaha County Courthouse!
Discouraging Comission Salary Increases
When first elected to public office in 2006, Jeff was concerned about the salary increases his fellow Minnehaha County Commissioners had given themselves. Not because they don't work hard. His issue was that the amount is determined by the commission for the commission. Working at Qwest, Jeff had seen the abuse of that system by an errant CEO who wrote himself a fat paycheck. Aware of the low salaries many people in South Dakota make, as a commissioner, Jeff never voted to give the commission raises and donated increases exceeding his first 2006 salary to charity. Last year (2010) that amount was over $5,000.00.
Open Means Open
As a newly elected county commissioner, Jeff stopped the commission from meeting in private in violation of South Dakota's open meeting laws.