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Petty Noem Canned Capable, Willing Director Who Created South Dakota’s Appraisal Certification Program

Lee Strubinger gets more details on Governor Kristi Noem’s apparently spiteful ouster of South Dakota’s Appraiser Certification Program director, Sherry Bren. It sounds like Governor Noem was so miffed at Bren’s sensible handling of Noem’s daughter Kassidy Peters’s application to become a certified real estate appraiser that she booted Bren without any effort to preserve the institutional knowledge Bren had accumulated over her 30-year career of building South Dakota’s appraiser certification program from scratch:

“I have been forced to retire by the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Regulation [Marcia Hultman] at the behest of the Administration,” Bren’s email said.

“The Administration has made it clear that it does not see a value to my experience, my involvement in ongoing projects or in a transfer of any of my extensive institutional knowledge and connections,” Bren’s email continued.

…Bren was the executive director of the program that certifies, licenses and registers appraisers in the state. She held that position from March 1991 until she left the position earlier this year.

…In 1989, Congress passed a banking reform act that required every state in the union to follow a uniform standard of appraisal….

Bren was hired to create the South Dakota program that oversees all aspects of appraiser certification [Lee Strubinger, “Noem Administration Pays $200,000 to Settle Allegation of Age Discrimination,” SDPB Radio, 2021.09.28].

Strubinger reports that Bren was also managing a $120,000 grant from the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to “address appraiser shortages by creating an appraiser training program that will satisfy the Appraiser Qualifications Board experience requirements for trainees to become licensed or certified trainers.” Strubinger reports Bren wanted to work through 2022 to establish that training program. The status of that grant and program under Noem with Bren booted is unknown.

This grant indicates that, while Noem’s office is trying to spin its canning of Bren (and the office has not denied that canning, or the involvement of the Governor in her daughter’s appraiser application) as cutting “bureaucratic red tape” to foster “economic growth”, dedicated bureaucrat Bren was bringing extra money to the state to support actual training and certification of more appraisers to help business move faster in South Dakota. (Plus, the state spent the equivalent of 167% of that grant to get Bren to settle her age discrimination complaint and never seek state work again: $75K to Bren in back pay, $75K to Bren for “non-wages and personal injury damages”, and $50K to Bren’s lawyers at Johnson, Pochop, and Bartling.)

The record shows other evidence that Bren was performing her job attentively. Bren’s office reported 112 disciplinary actions (see Appendix E, p. 64) against South Dakota appraisers from 2011 through 2020. That’s higher than the number of reported disciplinary actions in seventeen states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It thus appears that Bren was keeping an eye on the appraisers she certified.

The last time the ASC reviewed South Dakota’s compliance with federal regs for appraisers, in August 2018 (see p. 75), the ASC rated our appraiser certification program “Good,” along with Minnesota and eight other states. Only six states, including North Dakota, out of the 21 reviewed in 2018 scored “Excellent”, the next level up and the highest possible in ASC’s rubric. But “Good” is good enough to mean that the state was meeting a majority of Title XI mandates, had only minor deficiencies, and was correcting those deficiencies.

That’s the experience, skill, and desire to serve that Governor Kristi Noem threw away, all because her daughter Kassidy didn’t get her appraiser’s certification fast enough. That kind of pettiness is costing this state talent, money, and possibly economic development.


  1. Yeabut 2021-09-28

    Sounds like how things are run in most school districts. An adult of influence or power doesn’t like like how things are being done, they get the principal and/or superintendent to get rid of the teacher and/or coach.

    Their job or your job. Suddenly the teacher/coach becomes bad at their job and is not renewed.

    If the teacher/coach was smart enough to belong to the teacher’s union, they might have a chance to save their position or at least get a monetary settlement.

  2. grudznick 2021-09-28

    Sometimes ya just gotta prune us older branches out of the plum tree to restore balance and make room for new sprigs.

  3. jerry 2021-09-28

    If you eat prunes, you can restore your balance.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-28

    School boards that treat their teachers the way Yeabut describes should be voted out. So should Noem for her corruption.

  5. grudznick 2021-09-28

    You also shouldn’t treat your custodians like that, but most school boards do.

  6. SDBlue 2021-09-28

    Oh grudz, our Fascist Barbie didn’t prune a few old branches. She chopped down the entire old growth tree. For spite.

  7. Porter Lansing 2021-09-28

    Man. The toadies like grudz and John Dale are falling all over their false dignity to defend #NaziNoem. Why? She’d turn on anybody to save her skin. Even Pat Powers is giving her a “probably guilty”.

  8. Yvonne 2021-09-28

    Ms. Bren professionalism and intelligence is way over the league of incompetence that administers this states government offices, not all but most, which work there because they couldnt hold up in the real work force on the real world.
    A very competent woman whom was bombarded with a jealous Governor, her draconian attorney(s), and yes man/woman agency heads whom wanted to save their own heads from the chopping block if they didn’t heed to a dictatorship that believes they have all the power. A totalitarian only has power if it is given to them. She really has no power over Ms. Bren. To Ms. Bren…you should be commended and consider this a blessing cause you did your job with dignity in spite of the consequences. This state has a diseased system of government–a cancer right down to the bone.

  9. larry kurtz 2021-09-29

    How petty is she?

    In 2018 at my request a medical professional viewed a multitude of videos. The following is paraphrased from her assessment of Mrs. Noem’s psychological profile and medical history.

    She presents with symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder (now likely treated at taxpayer expense). Lately, her speech is laconic, measured: as if being she is being treated with psychotropics. Sometimes she seems to doubt her abilities (likely the outcome of meeting people towering above her intellectual limitations). At times, she seems exasperated or visibly annoyed.

    Her sometimes uncorrected shrillness reveals palling insecurities; but, she can quickly rein in her emotions (again likely from the benefit of extensive coaching and/or therapy at taxpayer expense). There is evidence of collagen injections, botox, and JUVÉDERM® (at an approximate cost to taxpayers in the five figures). Her hairline has been lowered possibly to mask scarring and it’s been obvious in recent photo ops that she suffers from periodic severe acne eruptions. There is evidence of cryosurgery especially around her lips; and, her gums and teeth show some signs of reconstruction.

    Indeed, she has been transformed into a walking, talking Stepford candidate for the extreme white wing of the Republican Party.

  10. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-09-29

    Since it is absolutely None Of My Business, I wonder who Kristi Lynn is when she’s at home.Betcha she’s a little treat and a shimmering ray of sunshine.

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