News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Brown County: the proud incubator of EB-5 and the latest CFU (commission f***-up)

It was emblazoned as the headline story Tuesday of the Aberdeen American News:

     $9000 in late fees concern officials


The "officials" are members of the Brown County Commission, some of whom are up for re-election.  The money concerns penalty fees for screwing up the routine tasks of processing the compensation and benefits of county employees.  The article says:

Brown County commissioners have enlisted the help of the South Dakota Department of Legislative Audit to resolve problems with the county’s payroll and benefits system that have resulted in more than $9,000 in penalties in the past month.
 
It’s not clear exactly what went wrong. 
Commission Chairman Doug Fjeldheim said the county had to pay late fees to the Internal Revenue Service and the South Dakota Retirement System for late payments and missing payroll reports.
The processing of payrolls is a constant routine.  County employees have been getting it done for decades.  They know the requirements and the schedules to be met.  So what happened?  The commission chairman said:


Basically, what it all stems from is we’re trying to outsource our payroll, but the issues started a little before that,” Fjeldheim said.
He said that by outsourcing the commission had hoped to save $25,000.  In that statement is a clue.  It reveals the intrusion of politics into the running of county business.  The county commission in recent years has become dominated by the GOP. Whereas once its members worked hard at making a limited budget do the work of maintaining the county, the GOP in good old South Dakota brought petty politics and cronyism to the county.  The GOPers like to limit government and turn it over to outside businesses to see if they can make money.  They claim businesses can run government more efficiently than government can.  They do not acknowledge how badly many businesses are run or that the most incompetent bureaucracies are in corporations.
Brown County commissioners at work

Fjeldheim said, “Everybody is pointing fingers at everybody else. So we’re going to let (Legislative Audit) figure out where the problem lies. We kind of know what happened, but we can’t undo it."


Employees of the county know who the screw ups are.  They could tell without equivocation who did not do their job.  Even from the outside, it is not difficult to figure out what probably happened.  When the GOP took over the commission, it had a crony who needed a job.  They fired an an employee and made the guy the information technology director.

The guy has made quite a history if problems.  When he imposed his systems on the county, the Brown County Fair had to deal with confusion and tongued-off patrons in its ticket sales.  That was something new for the Fair.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that some county officials had not been receiving G-mail messages to them.  An explanation was offered that made no sense whatever to people who work with and administer e-mail programs.

And now, the county suddenly has problems with its payroll and benefit system.  As the information technology
 director is specifically charged with the responsibility to "develop and maintain software systems to insure statutory compliance as well as the proper flow of County information,"  the obvious question is to ask why the systems and procedures for the payroll and benefits suddenly had a problem.  

Asking the state Department of Legislative Audit to examine the problem will simply obfuscate it with the usual political jabberwocky.  

The best way to solve the problem is to vote for county commission members and officials who can do the straightforward job of running the county, not imposing two-bit politics and cronies on the people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well Dr. Newquist, it seems there can be only one thing to do. Give the crony a raise and blame the error on Benda or some other dead guy. Republicans cannot govern, they have proven it over and over again. The only way Republicans can work with government is when they are in the minority. Give them leadership and they will find a way to corrupt it and finally break it.

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