Panel keeps pushing for stronger S.D. agencies

Capitol News Bureau
KELO pierre capitol building

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A South Dakota government panel that serves as an in-house watchdog over financial practices of state agencies, contractors and subcontractors is gradually making an impact, six years after its creation.

The Legislature established the Board of Internal Control in 2016. Its seven members gathered Monday to get updates and look at progress since the group’s last quarterly meeting.

The board has brought a consistent approach to contracts and uses consultants to work with state departments and offices on assessing security of financial systems and identifying spots that need improvement.

So far six departments and one bureau have gone through the process: Bureau of Finance and Management, Department of Revenue, Department of Agriculture, Department of Tribal Relations, Department of Tourism, Department of Corrections and Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

The Department of Military is wrapping up a report to be delivered in 2022. Next up in January are the state Office of School and Public Lands and the Office of State Auditor. After that come at least a dozen others.

The meeting was the last for the board’s chair, Liza Clark, who is stepping down as state finance commissioner. “So thanks everybody for all your hard work on here,” Clark said.

Jeff Partridge, a financial advisor and former legislator from Rapid City, will step in temporarily while Governor Kristi Noem hires someone in a permanent role.

Panel member Brenda Tidball-Zeltinger praised Clark for her leadership and public service to the board and to state government as a whole.

“They’ll have lasting impacts for a long time,” she told Clark.

One small example Monday was news that state Department of Transportation officials have started looking at software that could help community transit services become consistent in their bookkeeping.

Clark thanked the roomful of finance people for their involvement.

“I know this is a tough board to be on. You’re kind of questioning your colleagues and yet trying to make sure we have internal controls for the state, and that’s a difficult position to be in. I really appreciate the work this board has done,” Clark said.

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