PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s state legislature’s government operations and audit committee doesn’t usually receive a lot of attention, but it did Tuesday morning.
Sherry Bren, former director of the South Dakota Appraiser Certification program, testified before the committee on a variety of topics.
Lawmakers hope her answers shed light on the timeline of Governor Kristi Noem’s daughter, Kassidy Peters’ pursuit of certification to become a residential appraiser in the state.
In 2019, Peters applied to be certified. On July 27th, 2020, she received a letter saying she had been turned down. On that same day, a meeting was held at the governor’s mansion with several people including Noem, Peters and Bren.
Bren testified she was surprised to see “other attendees” at the July 2020 meeting.
“This meeting’s a little bit of a fog to me,” Bren said. She says she was “nervous” and also felt “intimidated.”
Secretary of Labor Marcia Hultman was also at the meeting and has told lawmakers a training plan for Peters was in place before the meeting.
But the document outlining that plan is dated more than a week after the meeting at the Governor’s mansion. Peters did get her certification in November 2020, but recently announced she is giving it up.
Since that meeting, there have questions about whether Noem may have exerted influence on her daughter’s application. The Governor says at no time did her daughter receive special treatment.
There are also questions about Bren’s resignation and a $200,000 payment she received from the state.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Bren was asked by lawmakers if she was “asked to retire.” Bren says that’s not accurate. She says she was “forced” to leave the role she had worked in since 1991.
KELOLAND News will have team coverage of the government operations and audit committee in Pierre Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m.