Lt. Gov heading up agency which will review grants and contracts for conflicts

The Rapid City Journal is highlighting Lt. Governor Matt Michels for his new position in heading up a new state entity which will begin the arduous process of reviewing state contracts and grants for potential conflict of interest and to help improve public disclosure:

Matt MichelsClear requirements for financial reporting, ethics and public disclosure will be put in place and will apply to grant recipients and sub-recipients at every level where the money flows.

The Legislature established the new board in state law at the request of Gov. Dennis Daugaard.


Michels said they saw a gap in state government’s handling of grants and other money awarded to non-state entities.

Daugaard assigned Michels to lead the project. Michels developed the model with the state Bureau of Finance and Management where he tapped decades of expertise within the staff.

The bureau is widely perceived as the hub of state budgeting. Michels saw the agency didn’t have legal authority regarding daily financial decisions in state departments and agencies, including the administration of grants.

The bureau, which is an arm of the governor, also didn’t have clear authority to deal with financial inconsistencies among the 30 or more state departments, bureaus, elected constitutional offices, state universities, court system and legislative branch.

That led Michels to propose a Board of Internal Control that would cover the executive branch, the state universities and the courts.

Read it all here.

I don’t think anyone disagrees that this is a good move on the Governor’s part.

One question is how this might affect the profile of the Lt. Governor? Could this be a quiet way to raise his profile as a government reformer as we inch towards 2018?  He’s not often mentioned as one of “the big 3” being looked at for Governor in ’18 on the Republican side, but something such as this could help raise his profile in anticipation of the race.

What do you think?

17 Replies to “Lt. Gov heading up agency which will review grants and contracts for conflicts”

  1. Anonymous

    Why did Daugaard’s administration leave the Attorney General off of this list of people to serve on this new agency?

    1. Anonymous

      You need separation so that, if wrongdoing is found, the attorney general can investigate it. If the AG is on the board there could be, ironically, a conflict of interest.

  2. Anonymous

    Jonathan Ellis of Argus Leader fame said a few weeks ago on one of those online shows they have that he asked Michels if he would run and Michels said “No. He would not be running.” Again I don’t know why Ellis didn’t report it because it seems like news when the #2 in the state says he’s not running for the #1 position and when no one else has reported it then it’s called breaking news.

    I agree with you that Michels would be a favorite among many and probably the frontrunner between the AG and the future Speaker if he ran.

  3. Anonymous

    We need a new state entity to review contracts for conflicts of interest? Isn’t there something in place to prevent this already? If not, why not?

  4. Can we have a dialogue?

    From RCJ article:

    As the legislation progressed through the Senate and the House, Michels was the only witness who testified at the two hearings.

    Attorney General Jackley said he wasn’t asked about the legislation and wasn’t involved in its formation.

    “We were not included in those discussions,” Jackley said. He wants stronger deterrents put in state law.

    “It’s a start,” Jackley said about the Board of Internal Control. “I think it’s a good thing but we have more work to do.”

    1. Can we have a dialogue?

      In the past few years we have had two situations where there have been suicides and murders that connect back to the misuse of state funds and the Attorney General wasn’t included on the formation of legislation for this agency or the conflict legislation that Mickelson put together. HE’s THE TOP COP IN SD – THE CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER!!!!!!!!!! And he’s not consulted? Personally I think it looks very disrespectful.

      From the outside looking in it appears there is a deliberate effort by the Daugaard administration to not include Jackley even as a courtesy.

      I’m not going to let Jackley off the hook though. As AG he should have stepped forward and put his stamp of approval on this or worked to make it better during this last session. This legislation wasn’t a big secret and he could have inserted himself at anytime with concerns or improvements or a great work people… But he chose to sit it out. The lack of communication and ability to work together is maddening to me looking at state government – especially after what has transpired with Benda and Mid Central.

      The fact that this is the second time in – two sessions – legislation has been passed in response to Benda or Gear Up that Jackley says doesn’t go far enough and wasn’t consulted on and he didn’t offer to make it better is embarrassing for him, his office and the people of SD.

      The I wasn’t consulted thing might have worked once but the second major piece of legislation makes him look like he’s really dropped the ball and has some serious work to do.

      Mickelson was way ahead of the game on this stuff – TWO sessions ago. I give Mickelson credit for seeing this as a problem when he brought forth conflict legislation. I think this makes him look like he’s on top of things and willing to have an opinion on matters that are important to SD.

      Doesn’t mean I will vote for him but he looks like he’s on top of things a lot more than the AG.

  5. Anonymous

    I agree with you. Jackleg’s excuse that he wasn’t “consulted” is specious at best. I assume he has the ability to monitor all legislation and as he has proven in the past, he hasn’t been shy to offer his opinion upon other legislation. I believe he failed to comment or testify on this legislation was purely for political purposes, so he could criticize without responsibility. Craven politics at its worst.

    1. grudznick

      That’s right. Mr. Jackley or you or I could have testified because it is our right. It is our right, and he defends it for us.

  6. Ed Randazzo

    Somehow we are supposed to think that we have taken a positive step toward the truth when we expand the government still again to investigate the very same government and appoint a member of the very same government to do so?
    How deliciously clever. Now the government can declare the government pure and pristine and sanction the continuance of the same behavior in perpetuity.
    How deliciously corrupt.

  7. Troy Jones

    Whether it be running a business or government, doing it responsibly requires control functions- auditors, process review procedures & protocols, etc.

    Control functions to a business or government is not an “expansion” but good governance. And, to suggest control functions should be purely external is stupid. I guarantee it is easier to misappropriate when oversight is delegated externally.

    1. A No. 1

      Troy is your son Trevor? Nice guy.

      I agree with Ed. This doesn’t do much other than make us believe the government that screwed up will be the government that doesn’t.

      Good people but solutions can’t always be to give those with power in government more power.

  8. Troy Jones

    A No. 1,

    Based on what I read this is a pretty standard business response to a “quality assurance” or “compliance” issue. Let me give an example:

    A manufacturer develops a quality problem ( for exampleproduct failure goes from 1% to 3%) with its output. They decide to change their manufacturing process. To insure the new process is followed they institute a quality check mechanism that reviews two things: Is the change in process delivering the expected results and are the workers following the new process?

    What they don’t do is institute significant bureaucracy because the “cure could be worse than the disease.” In this instance, we still need the various agencies to do their jobs to serve the public. But, at the same time, have control procedures which insure policies are followed.

    While not promising perfection (won’t screw up as you said), it is a balanced approach to insure it will do better.

    My point: This looks like a prudent response. The alternative is to do nothing or to do so much the wheels of government become even slower.