$200,000 appraiser settlement paid by DLR, documents say

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation is responsible for the $200,000 settlement payment made to Sherry Bren, the former Executive Director of the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program, according to a copy of the settlement agreement stemming from Bren’s complaint.

Bren’s complaint said she was forced to retire because of her age. The complaint said DLR Secretary Marcia Hultman had asked for Bren’s retirement because of “(Bren’s) inability to shift gears.”

Although Hultman pressed Bren for a retirement date and said she could not be at her job for more than six months from December, she did want Bren to help train her replacement, according to email exchanges between Hultman and Bren.

“I know there is much knowledge and information to transfer, and would therefore like to begin the process as soon as possible for cross training purposes,” Hultman said in a Dec. 15 email to Bren.

Bren, 70, left her role with the state in March after the settlement was reached, according to the Associated Press.

The settlement agreement said the DLR’s payment does not mean it admitted Bren’s claims were valid or that it was liable for any of her claims.

The payment was broken into $75,000 in wages, $75,000 in non-wage and personal injury payment and a $50,000 payment directly to Bren’s lawyer, according to the settlement.

Hultman asked in December for Bren to give a specific retirement date, copies of emails exchanges between Hultman and Bren said.

Bren’s complaint said Hultman did not want Bren’s immediate supervisor Amber Mulder or the appraisal office’s attorney Graham Oey to know Hultman had asked for Bren to leave her state job.

Copies of emails from Oey and Mulder indicate that they were apparently not aware that Bren’s departure was at Hultman’s request.

Mulder wrote in a Dec. 17 email “Congratulations!!. Thank you for giving us time to find someone, too. You’ll be hard to replace!”

Oey wrote in a Dec. 17 email “Congratulations! Thank you for all your hard work and putting up with me over the past year. You’ll be missed!”

Bren had said in a Dec. 11, 2020, email exchange with Hultman that she planned to retire in two years.

Hultman had asked Bren for her specific retirement date on Dec. 15, 2020, and said she could not give Bren more than six months on Dec. 11, 2020.

Bren had met with Hultman on Nov. 24 to discuss some of Hultman’s concerns about the appraiser certification program, Bren’s complaint said. On Dec. 1, Hultman asked Bren to leave her state role in six months, the complaint said.

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