A circuit court judge in South Dakota dismissed a lawsuit a trio of local companies filed against South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard that was intended to invalidate a $5 million contract the state awarded to Manpower earlier this year.
[caption id="attachment_17044" align="alignright" width="188" caption="Governor Dennis Daugaard"][/caption]
Three local companies, Careers Unlimited Staffing, Employment Edge and Reagan Enterprises, brought the suit, arguing the Manpower contract violated state and federal laws as well as the state's constitution.
The lawsuit contended the governor overstepped his authority and put them at a competitive disadvantage when he unveiled a plan to pay Manpower $5 million to recruit 1,000 skilled, out-of-state workers to fill positions in financial services, information technology, engineering and manufacturing. The plan was subsequently approved by the South Dakota Legislature.
Judge Mark Barnett, in the ruling you can read here, says the plaintiffs didn't have enough of a case. "Plaintiffs failed to state any facts which would support a plausible claim that the State's execution of the Manpower Contract exceeds its legislatively delegated authority."
"Plaintiffs failed to state any facts which would support a plausible claim that the State's execution of the Manpower Contract exceeds its legislatively delegated authority."
The lawsuit claims the South Dakota "Office of Procurement Management issued an RFP on November 2, 2011, for the procurement of services by a firm, or firms, capable of assisting private South Dakota businesses in identifying, screening and hiring candidates from outside South Dakota to relocate and fill one thousand permanent employment positions in South Dakota."
The lawsuit also notes, however, that the RFP was publicly announced in local newspapers nearly a week after the deadline for written submissions had passed.
Further, the suit claims the Manpower contract with the Governor's Office of Economic Development was an illegal and unconstitutional use of legislative power, and violated state and federal anti-trust laws as well as state competitive bidding laws.
Judge Barnett, in the dismissal ruling, acknowledged the contention of the local staffing firms that the Manpower contract "makes it more difficult to compete." But he says the state has a legislative mandate to create jobs by providing a more diverse and comprehensive work force. And that the "Manpower Contract helps facilitate the State's participation in the recruitment service market by providing the expertise necessary to allow the State to provide the recruitment service."
"The Manpower Contract helps facilitate the State's participation in the recruitment service market by providing the expertise necessary to allow the State to provide the recruitment service."
The decision was obviously welcomed in the governor’s office according to the ArgusLeader.
"The governor believes in this program and he’s pleased with the judge’s ruling,” stated Tony Venhuizen, Daugaard's director of policy and communications.
Steven Sanford, an attorney for the Sioux Falls firm Cadwell Sanford Deibert & Garry LLP is representing the local staffing firms. He said his clients have not yet decided whether they might want to appeal the decision.