Steve Allender says goodbye to title of Rapid City mayor

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Charles Michael Ray

After eight hectic years of guiding Rapid City through problems like COVID-19 and growing political polarization, former mayor Steve Allender returns to private life.

Jason Salamun is now officially the mayor of Rapid City, and “mayor Allender” officially returns to being “Steve.”

Allender said it’s time for the change.

“I could list a dozen reasons why it’s a good time for change," Allender said. "Jason has the energy, he has the vision, he has the drive to come here. I see myself eight years ago in him, he’s ready to take this thing on. There’ll be a lot of learning, a lot of ups and downs, but he’s capable and he’s qualified and we’re going to be just fine.”

He said he has no trouble saying goodbye to the title.

“I’m an ordinary citizen who put my name on a ballot instead of just complained – I did that for three terms and stayed here for eight years instead of staying home and gardening and going on long walks with my wife or vacations – I stayed here working," Allender said. "So, as I leave here tonight, I’m going to feel like I did my part.”

Allender said personnel management will be one of the new mayor’s secret challenges.

“With 850 employees in an organization he got a briefing on some of the pending or current personnel issues that are transpiring right now," Allender said. "Also, things that would never make the news, like the opioid settlement funds. We’re part of the recipients of this opioid lawsuit.”

Allender hasn’t made any announcements regarding next steps, and said he plans to enjoy time with his family after leaving the office.

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C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture