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Legislative panel outlines 'third chance' for governor's daughter in licensing process

Gov. Kristi Noem and her daughter, Kassidy Peters.
Gov. Kristi Noem
Gov. Kristi Noem and her daughter, Kassidy Peters.

A legislative oversight committee finds Governor Kristi Noem’s daughter got an extra chance to obtain an appraiser license.

A unanimously adopted report says that was outside of the normal process.

Last year, the Government Operations and Audit Committee began looking into the firing of long-time state employee Sherry Bren, who headed the appraiser certification program for three decades.

Bren says she was forced to retire in March of last year. Bren settled with the state for $200,000 and signed a non-disparagement clause.

The firing centers around a meeting held in the Governor’s Mansion with Bren, and several top lawyers and advisers to the governor.

After the meeting, the report finds Gov. Noem’s daughter received “in essence” a third chance to pass the level of appraiser certification she was trying to attain. The report says that is outside of normal procedure, and she should have had to wait six months to reapply for the certification.

Republican Rep. Randy Gross chairs the committee. He says the report will head to the Government Accountability Board, which is comprised of three retired judges.

“They’re in some level of the process. I’m not involved in that and they don’t share how far into it they are,” Gross says. “GOAC does not have any specific plans to do anything further at this point.

Gross says the committee does not have authority outside of crafting the report.

The Government Accountability Board is seeking outside counsel before it proceeds on a pair of ethics complaints against Gov. Noem. One of those complaints asks the board to determine whether Noem improperly influenced her daughter's appraiser certification process.

That board has not set a date for a future meeting.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.
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