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Legislative panel directs state and appraiser industry to settle differences over training


A legislative panel is again rejecting proposed rules for a first-of-its-kind program to get more home appraisers certified in South Dakota.

The Department of Labor said the program could alleviate an appraiser shortage. Critics argue the new approach isn’t rigorous enough.

The Department of Labor wants to offer an innovative alternative that supplements the original training program. It would offer a single mentor for multiple trainees in a course at South Dakota State University.

The Department of Labor also wants to cut the number of training hours.

Marcia Hultman, the state’s labor secretary said the goal should be more trained appraisers.

“Should the alternative path that we’re trying to create have higher standards set as the minimum than the traditional path? How is making something more stringent, longer, harder, while requiring the same assessments at the end prior to becoming license meet our alternative path objectives?" Hultman said. "How is this innovative?”

The idea for the program came from some in the appraiser industry. The former head of the Appraiser Certification Program, Sherry Bren, lobbied the program through the state legislature. Bren was called into a meeting with Gov. Kristi Noem, Noem’s daughter and several lawyers about questions over Noem’s daughter's appraiser license upgrade.

Noem has said her daughter did not receive special treatment and that she’s trying to fix the difficult process to become an appraiser. Bren said she was forced to retire months later.

Sandra Gretsch, president with the Professional Appraiser Association of South Dakota, said graduates under the new training program will struggle to find work.

“They’ll be a new appraiser, but not particularly hirable or employable,” Gresh said. “So they will have to go to the existing appraisers to try to get a job with them as an advanced trainee with a credential. ”

Sandra Gresh, president of Professional Appraisers Association of South Dakota
Graph showing the difference in proposed training hours

Lawmakers on the interim rules review committee, want the Department of Labor and appraiser industry officials to work out their differences on the training program.

Democratic Rep. Ryan Cwach said that’s what lawmakers expected to see this week.

“I feel that we actually—at the last meeting—kind of set out what we expected to see when they came back. We haven’t seen that,” Cwach said. “I don’t think this has been a good example of good government working.”

The interim rules review committee meets again in November. The new appraiser program is scheduled to begin in 2023.

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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