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Politics

Bren outlines 'third opportunity' for governor's daughter on license upgrade

Bren conferring
Lee Strubinger
/
SDPB
Sherry Bren, along with lawyer Tim Rensch (center), confers with Sen. Wayne Steinhauer during a hearing recess.

The former head of the state appraiser certification program said the governor’s daughter received an additional opportunity to complete her appraiser license upgrade.

Sherry Bren made those comments Tuesday in front of the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee after being compelled by subpoena.

Bren attended a July 2020 meeting at the governor's mansion with Gov. Kristi Noem, the governor's daughter Kassidy Peters, and several top administration officials and lawyers.

Bren ran the state's Appraiser Certification Program for 30 years. Kassidy Peters was seeking an appraiser license at the time of the meeting.

When an appraiser seeking licensure upgrade submits their application it must meet federal uniform standards. If it does not, they can enter into what's called an agreed disposition. It's like a second chance to resubmit their work.

Bren said an agreed disposition was offered to Peters in the spring of 2020. When Peters resubmitted the application, it did not meet federal uniform standards.

"A review was conducted in accordance to the agreed disposition," Bren said. "On July 20th, or around that date, a proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and order were provided to the applicant."

That means Peters was issued a proposed denial. A week later, the meeting at the mansion took place.

Shortly thereafter, Kassidy Peters entered into a "stipulation agreement" with the Department of Labor.

Bren said over the course of her career she did not use stipulation agreements for appraisal licensure upgrades.

“I’ve not had any experience with a stipulation agreement," Bren said. "That would basically not be within the recognized upgrade procedures and would offer a third opportunity for review. I’ve not experienced that.”

Bren said a stipulation agreement is outside of the normal upgrade process. Peters' stipulation agreement required she take more classes before getting her license. She got her license in November last year, but has since given it up.

Gov. Noem has said her daughter did not receive special treatment in the licensing process. Noem has said she is trying to solve problems in the Appraisal Certification Program that are causing a shortage of appraisers.

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