A casual line toward the bottom of Eric Mayer’s* report on House Bill 1061 sends a truly alarming signal about how Kristi Noem’s appointee to the post of real estate appraiser certification chief imperiled the proper functioning and federal recognition of South Dakota’s entire real estate appraisal industry. Mayer indirectly quotes Aberdeen appraiser Amy Frink, who testified in favor of HB 1061 in front of Senate Commerce and Energy on Thursday:
Frink told lawmakers when she first spoke with Scott Amundson, who replaced Bren as the Executive Director for the South Dakota Appraisers Certification Program, he told Frink he was advised not to meet with current appraisers [Eric Mayer, “Appraisers Testify ‘Communication Path’ Needed,” KELO-TV, 2022.02.10].
Frink’s actual testimony was that Amundson said his supervisors didn’t just advise him but forbade any such meeting with the appraisers advisory council:
When the executive director that was hired recently was hired, I called him and asked him when could we meet, when can the advisory council get to meet him and when can we introduce ourselves and answer any questions that he might have, and he advised me that he was told by his superiors that we weren’t allowed—he wasn’t allowed to have a meeting with us [Amy Frink, testimony to Senate Commerce and Energy, 2022.02.10, transcribed from SDPB audio, timestamp 1:21:55].
Amundson’s direct supervisor is Secretary of Labor and Regulation Marcia Hultman. Secretary Hultman’s direct supervisor is Governor Noem.
The Noem Administration claims it was trying to reduce red tape in the real estate appraiser certification process. Yet the Noem Administration appears to have viewed interaction with real estate appraisers as mere red tape and forbade its new real estate certification chief from talking with the most knowledgeable people in the appraisal field. That order created a collapse of communication and cooperation with the appraisal industry. That collapse created “pure chaos” in the appraisal industry and opened the door for the state to deploy premature and possibly illegal rule changes that could have induced the federal government to freeze all real estate appraising in South Dakota.
The Noem Administration’s active dereliction of duty makes it all the more urgent that the Legislature pass House Bill 1061, codify the Appraiser Certification Program Advisory Council, and legally require whatever underqualified toady Governor Noem next puts in the appraiser certification chief’s chair to work with those appraisers to come up with safe, workable rules for this basic component of South Dakota’s housing and economic development efforts.
Correction 2022.01.13 08:25 CST: In my original post, I incorrectly attributed the KELO-TV story to Bob Mercer. As you can see below, Mr. Mercer corrected my misreading of the byline, and I have subsequently corrected my citations above. I regret the error and the suggestion that Mr. Mercer underplayed the import of Frink’s testimony.