Secretary Krebs in Aberdeen: Gant Left a Mess; I’ve Cleaned It Up

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs addresses the Brown County GOP's Reagan Lunch, Aberdeen, South Dakota, 2015.11.12.
Secretary of State Shantel Krebs addresses the Brown County GOP’s Reagan Lunch, Aberdeen, South Dakota, 2015.11.12.

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs continued her public relations tour around South Dakota with a speech at the Brown County Republicans’ Reagan Lunch yesterday here in Aberdeen. 53 people (BCGOP chair Char Cornelius made sure I got that count) came to hear what our Secretary of State is doing restore the public trust in her office so thoroughly trashed by her disgraced predecessor, Jason Gant.

Secretary Krebs offered her listeners a crushing indictment of the mess Team Gant left her. When she took office on January 2, 2015, her office was five to six weeks behind on processing business filings that state statute says must be processed within five days, 80 days behind on UCC filings, and 90 days behind on pistol permits. Secretary Krebs says her team didn’t get all of those filings up to date until two months ago. Her office is making future backlogs less likely by implementing a new searchable UCC system on Monday, November 16, that will allow her office to accept or reject filings within 24 hours. By next July, Secretary Krebs plans to have all business services online, while still accepting paper filings from South Dakotans who just don’t want to go all electronic.

Secretary Krebs outlined a plan to run her office more like a business. She said when she took over, she composed a zero-base budget. She ignored any budget numbers left by Gant and analyzed actual needs from scratch. She says her updates and efficiencies alone put $1.5 million back into the general fund in six months. She plans to ask the 2016 Legislature to allow her office to run entirely on the fees it collects instead of collecting fees, remitting most to the general fund, and then asking the state for a general fund appropriation.

That budget proposal could be overkill. Secretary Krebs says her office generates $5.9 million in fees. The FY2016 budget allocates $4.6 million to the Secretary of State’s office, 68% of which comes from federal funds.

Another task facing Team Krebs this year was simple organization. She said Team Gant appears not to have used any file cabinets. She found official documents simply stacked around the office in boxes. Petitions from the last two elections were just out, in no seeming order. Team Krebs thus spent a good portion of this year properly storing documents.

Secretary Krebs did not completely clean house. She says she kept about half of the staff who served under Gant, many of them from the venerable business services department, where she cited numerous employees with lots of seniority and (key word signaling management brains!) “institutional knowledge.” Secretary Krebs brought lots of institutional knowledge back to the elections division with people like her deputy Kea Warne, who served under Secretaries Chris Nelson and Joyce Hazeltine.

The institutional knowledge of another former staffer brought back by Krebs put us on the trail of the infamous stolen flag. When Deputy Teresa Bray returned to the office on January 2, she saw the flag base and plaque and asked, where’s the flag? Bray’s immediate question sparked the office-overturning search that led to the retrieval of the flag from Washington, D.C., and the arrest of former Gant staffer Garrett DeVries.

Secretary Krebs did not speak her predecessor’s name during yesterday’s event. But her description of the disarray Gant left and the efforts she has made toward rearray makes clear that she is determined to scrub any sign of his mess from the walls of the Secretary of State’s office.


31 Responses to Secretary Krebs in Aberdeen: Gant Left a Mess; I’ve Cleaned It Up

  1. Secretary Krebs has a bright future ahead of her in public service.

  2. larry kurtz

    Must have been a rug of Gantian proportions for Krebs to sweep all that dirt under. Shantel crowing about cleaning anything up is like the Catholic Church passing the plate while asking for prayers to absolve crimes committed by the clergy.

  3. larry kurtz

    I hope Gant spills his guts on why he covered up the crimes of the Rounds years but without someone rigging a shotgun in a tree to do it.

  4. larry kurtz

    Cory’s extolling of Krebs’ grandstanding is damned curious indeed.

  5. Corruption breeds incompetence. When will state government reach the bottom – the state is already like some third world country.

  6. Extolling or reporting? I’m saying what she said.

  7. larry kurtz

    Speaking of transparency: what about publishing contributors to your tip jar?

  8. The level is so low that we commend someone for doing the job they are paid to do. What a farce to think this is how our state government has now become. You get elected to do a job that you actually get paid good wages to perform and then you do the job and everyone thinks you are the greatest for doing the work your hired on to do.

    If Krebs is such a great public servant than she should give up the goods on her predecessor so he can be punished for the fraud he is. It appears that Gant should actually have an address change to Sioux Falls behind bars. Justice needs to start someplace and as long as Krebs has the pulpit, Gant should be the first in a long line.

    By the way, if the office is now self sufficient so it operates on its own, where was Chris Nelson on doing the same? Why do some think that he was such a golden boy? The bar we have here is pretty low.

  9. I don’t understand the b**ching. Shantel Krebs is doing a good job. Well done, Secretary Krebs!

  10. jerry,

    Gant would look cute in an orange jumpsuit! Unfortunately, it requires the state to have an Attorney General who isn’t part of the corruption machine.

  11. larry kurtz

    Oh, to be that fly on the wall when USDoJ and FBI leaned on Krebs, et al.

  12. I agree Rorschach. Secretary Krebs is going a good job. There is a county commissioner that I may disagree with politically but he is outstanding as a county commissioner.

  13. Cory,

    Shantel’s proposal to use fees collected in the SoS office instead of running its income through the general fund is not a good idea. If we’ve learned anything from Jason Gant it’s you can’t trust things will go neatly as planned with a successor. Another crook would find a way to divert that cash.

  14. larry kurtz

    Is what capital outlay looks like?

  15. 96, it is easy for me to forget about the law and order stuff when we are having a love in with Krebs. Maybe she should forsake her SOS job and become attorney general, then seeing all of these crooks and liars dressed in Halloween orange, would be a most welcome sight and a clean sweep.

  16. We don’t have all the answers yet on whether Gant should be wearing either orange or black/white stripes. Where’s the unaccounted for money? Where are the mini Ipads? Who benefited from contracting for an outside server for SOS records and was that somehow illegal? What other questions should the public be asking that we don’t even know to ask because the GOP machine has kept things secret?

  17. 90 Schilling

    I wonder if South Dakotans could bring charges against Garrett on the flag. Civil suit at least. I’d light the fire with $100. After all it was a huge emotional shakedown when I heard our flag was missing! I’m guessing Gant might have told him to get that damned old flag out of here.

  18. mike from iowa

    Doesn’t running state offices and grant programs like a business open the floodgates for fraud and theft of funds? Haven’t you seen this movie several times recently?

  19. sounds familiar: GW LEFT a mess…i cleaned it up (TARP)…another mess… (OBL) i cleaned it up…obstruction of ACA…another mess… I cleaned it up… another mess-Iran nuclear program… (0-5000 enrichment centrifuges)…i cleaned it up…47 republican signatures/netanyahu-another mess … i cleaned it up… another mess….guantanamo bay/iraq war/afghanistan war…i am cleaning them up…another mess…republican’s putin love affair…i am cleaning it up…another mess…Bengahzi/Syria/Eygpt/Africa…i am cleaning it up…the climate…another mess…i am cleaning it up…cuba …another mess…i am cleaning it up. social security/infrastructure/immigration…another bunch of mess…i am cleaning it up. EB5 in SD…another mess…I am cleaning it up.

    -Obama

  20. thank god for democrats every 8 years or more often as needed.

  21. oh…the burning well head in the gulf…i cleaned it up…sued BP…and it is still a mess.

  22. leslie, you sound like a mess, too. I’ll make a call to the White House and get you some help. ;)

  23. rich, have u been hurt by govt in the last 8 years? except by john roberts, i haven’t.

  24. So is anything going to happen or is everything done, as far as cleaning up the mess he left, for Shantel.

  25. Craig & Ronette Guymon

    Above “Title – Caption” should have read, “Secretary Krebs in Aberdeen: Gant Left a Mess; I’ve Cleaned Some of It Up and Chose to Cover Up the Rest!” Reference the roll Gant played in covering up election rigging acts in the 2012 Davison County Primary Election; Davison County Auditor selected and dictated the “Sample Votes” recorded on “612 Test Ballots” that were injected twice into ES&S M650 Ballot Scanner’s data base and not cleared in the June 5, 2012 election night results; and once in the June 7, 2012 official election results. A flaw in South Dakota’s election process that still exists today due to a lack of strong internal controls and weak oversight — another one-party rule “Just Trust Us” — “We Will Cast the Ballots — Scan the Ballots — Tabulate the Votes — In Honorable Manner”.

    Why the hell is this so important? Pull your damn heads out of the sand! How does the GOP retain its power and control? Simple, based on what happened in the 2012 Davison Primary, the outcomes of elections have been rigged and will continue to be rigged in order to retain power and control. What follows is a direct quote from the email we received from Krebs in response to two fact-based requests we sent by email to Krebs in Oct 2015 in which we asked SOS Krebs to request a formal investigation be conducted by SD’s AG Consigliere into the above RIGGED ELECTION:

    On Nov 2, 2015, at 5:27 PM, “Krebs, Shantel” wrote:

    Craig and Ronette,

    We have received BOTH of your emails from this morning. Our office does not handle investigations. Please request this investigation with the Davison County State’s Attorney.

    Thank you.

    Shantel Krebs

    Krebs is just another one-party rule puppet lacking the integrity, honor, candor and courage needed to serve all SD citizens in a nonpartisan manner as SOS when it comes to strengthening the system of internal controls and oversight with regards to SD’s currently flawed and tainted election practices and procedures – just another fence-straddling flapping jaw looking for another public appearance photo opt.

  26. Nice photo of what appears to mostly be a room of socialists — it’s likely most of those Q-tips are collecting social security and several likely are doubling-dipping by pocketing ag subsidies. Likely ready and willing to vote for those social security and ag subsidy cutting republicans at the drop of a hat. Go figure.

  27. VERY FUNY, FROM THE “BOOK” OF JOHN-THKS…sorry for the caps:)

  28. No, Leslie, I haven’t been hurt by the government over the last 8 years. My income has increased, my 401k has grown steadily and I have a nice roof over my head. No sour grapes here. ☺

  29. batting clean up:
    b. sanders-wall street’s business model is fraud-greed and fraud
    m. o’malley-citizen review board and black lives matter
    h. Clinton-trump’s kids don’t get free college; and its “radical jihadism”

  30. 96, that’s a good oversight question. Is it easier to siphon off fees that stay in office than it is to siphon them off before transferring them to the general fund?

    (Larry, you’re having more trouble than ever staying on topic. My financial supporters, like my sources, enjoy my confidentiality. What’s your point?)

  31. Kurtz is often over my head and deadly funi and mostly on top of it w breadth and cynic disdain and those that are most out raged deserve the heat. Go after the slimy Lobbyiest question cah financial loyalty to us like Bernie did last nite. question regents and powerful spouses nepotism. S’all gud! HST back from the dead? Rango-kurtz is not. Our side-he is.