KELO: State Ed Board Member Duncan Got More Mid-Central Money, DOE Contract

Angela Kennecke gets the scoop and adds Kelly Duncan to the list of GOP cronies milking the state for six-figure moonlighting windfalls.

Dr. Kelly Duncan, 2014
Dr. Kelly Duncan, award for big ed-dollar moonlighting? (Photo from SD Counseling Assoc. newsletter, summer 2014.

I reported last week that longtime state Board of Education member Duncan got $51,000 in federal College Access grant money from June 2011 through December 2012 via the Department of Education’s money laundry machine Mid-Central Educational Cooperative. KELO-TV’s Kennecke caught up with Duncan for a terse, evasive interview on Monday.

Now Kennecke finds some more evasion. In 2013, Mid-Central stopped writing College Access checks to Duncan and started writing them to Dakota Plains Consulting LLC, which Duncan incorporated in June 2012. Mid-Central wrote Duncan’s consulting firm two $12,500 checks, in March and June 2013.

Gerta Bardhoshi, U of Iowa
Gerta Bardhoshi, U of Iowa

Kennecke also finds Dakota Plains Consulting pulling down a 2014–2015 contract with the Department of Education (See Contract 2015C-110) to train teachers and administrators in data analysis. This contract was worth $40,000, safely below the $50K threshold that would have required the DOE to put this contract up for bid. The contract indicates Duncan would split this part-time work with then-fellow USD counseling professor Gerta Bardhoshi, who now works for the University of Iowa.

Dakota Plains Consulting has also offered data assessment services to public school districts like West Central, which paid Duncan’s firm $1,055.55 in November 2014, and bookkeeping and accounting services under contract to the South Dakota Counseling Association in FY2015.

$51K, $25K, $40K… that’s $116,000. If Bardhoshi got a 50% cut of the DOE contract, Duncan didn’t quite make six figures to join the MelmerMooreGraves club. But $96K is still a nice private capitalization of connections to South Dakota’s public education establishment.

Kennecke asks the obvious question of conflict of interest and hears the standard line from the Department of Education:

The South Dakota Department of Education replied by email that it’s allowed because the board doesn’t approve or oversee Department of Education staff, expenditures or contracts.

The email also says she wasn’t given any favoritism because of her role on the board and that, “Dr. Duncan has significant knowledge, expertise and experience in developing and delivering training and using educational data to inform instruction and school leadership. That qualifies her to do this work, and it also makes her a good board member” [Angela Kennecke, “Board Of Education Member Also Has Contract with Dept. of Ed,” KELO-TV, 2015.11.18].

The organization relationship of the Board of Education and the Department of Education seems fuzzy. Expect attentive legislators to propose clarifying that relationship during the 2016 Session.

13 Responses to KELO: State Ed Board Member Duncan Got More Mid-Central Money, DOE Contract

  1. 90 Schilling

    Poor girl obviously could have used more of those dollars. Sitting in front of a $250 Target special Acer laptop, Cory.

    Dig it out Kurtz. Who’s sleeping with whom?

  2. I guess they don’t get it. Contracting – “privatization” of gov’t functions – is so commonplace in Pierre and has been for so long that it’s taken for granted. The DoE reply posits that Dr Duncan is well qualified to perform the work she was contracted to do. Could be. She also may be “a good board member.” The point is that she should not be wearing both hats. Pick one.

  3. And yet, “Mr. Phelps’ continued position on that board (State Board of Education) would be a distraction from the important work the board performs, given his involvement with Gear Up”, says DD in an Oct. 1, 2015 letter to Dan Dryden/GOAC. Nice picture of Vacant on the Board of Ed Homepage.
    All that’s missing from that letter is – “As always, should you or any of your I.M. force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds.” (The original MI TV series)

  4. It’s been boilerplate in government for decades to bid just under the limit for open bidding to get a sweetheart deal. You can jack up the cost later when you get into the project and discover, lo and behold, it wasn’t that cheap after all.

    Despite Daugaard’s pronouncement that corruption in his regime and Mike Rounds regime is not the result of one-party rule, the fact that they’ve been doing it so much in plain view and getting away with it year after year definitely is exactly what one-party rule produces. The worst result of one-party rule for nearly 40 years is a government that’s kept in a coma and fails to properly serve the public. No wonder they can’t solve real problems like education funding.

    The stupid remark that pops up here lately that less government is better government only sustains the coma producing dead and rotting governance. South Dakota’s state government leadership now consists of people standing in line to get their turn at the hog trough. Nothing else happens.

    And Gov. Daugaard and Tony V., that’s not a swipe at the rank-and-file state employees whose trust you’ve been abusing and buffaloing for the last six years. Stop using them as a human shield against the truth. The corruption starts with you. You won’t do anything about it. You deny its existence. The sooner you are out of office and replaced by honest leaders, the sooner the state can start to heal.

  5. I wonder if Kelly Duncan is related to lobbyists (for TransCanada among other clients) Dennis and Drew Duncan?

  6. “Waaaah! One party rule is bad! It is bad!”

  7. Funi grrdz whining about losers whining on a liberal blog. What a distractive whiner u r but thks for not sinking to the bwauau level. U r such a cute idiot

  8. lorahubbel

    Hmmmm…..nice work Cory….my only complaint is that had I said any of this 2 years ago, you would have hollowed with laughter and geeked out about me wearing a tin foil hat. Yet I DID have “corruption” as one of my 3 points when running against Daugaard. I even had a “corruption” press conference (you were absent). So….must I still wear that tin foil hat when you seem to be finally agreeing with me that there IS corruption n SD….or should I send it to you?

  9. Ms. Hubbel, I do not think Mr. H ever accused you of wearing your tin foil hat. Others did. Chief among them was I, the immediate past president of the Conservatives with Common Sense.

  10. Lora, never argue the hypothetical with me. Such arguments never move the ball in practical discourse. You can posit no firm claim about how any other person would have reacted if you had said “any of this” 2 years ago, because (a) you never did say “any of this”, (b) you can’t distinguish whether you would have said any of this or all of this, with sufficient evidence to persuade people to pay attention, and (c) you can never predict with certainty how anyone else is going to react. I could just as blithely speculate that if you had said any of this two years ago, no one would have paid attention, because they would have been too distracted (if not outright horrified) by your and your running mate’s re-enactment of the Westerhuis murders.

    I have agreed with you all along that there is corruption in South Dakota. I was writing up EB-5 before you announced your primary challenge to Governor Daugaard. But you and I both struggle with getting our message through the filter of partisans who cannot accept that their party does bad things.

    Remember, Lora, I’m not your primary enemy. Your own party is.

  11. Donald Pay

    Duncan and Bardhoshi did academic research work on counseling in schools, and published a number of studies in academic journals. I wouldn’t call it mind blowing research, but it was at least a work product that was peer reviewed and reasonably related to concerns that might be faced in rural or reservation settings. One paper focused on South Dakota school counselors. I’m not sure if this research was funded by any of the players here, or how it related to the overall goal of who was funding it. There is still the question of conflicts of interest, etc., but at least these women can point to something tangible they have been doing.

  12. the jist is that all the favored players hear the word at the watering hole, want their piece of a good thing-before yah know, the thing is high-jacked…and i’m betting they are mostly republicans. that may be why some professionals ARE republicans. spineless but fat&happy. jmo

  13. Dennis Duncan is brother and is her nephew