county commission

Kazmerzak named new commission chair

Commissioners dive into 2022 business

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At the Jan. 4 meeting of the Kingsbury County Commission, Doug Kazmerzak was voted commission chair and Kyle Lee, vice-chair. After Kazmerzak and outgoing chair Roger Walls switched seats, Kazmerzak thanked Walls for his service.

Speaking as the new chair, Kazmerzak stated, "It's important that we all have input. Don’t let me speed through anything, as I have a tendency to keep things moving.”

Kazmerzak and the other commissioners then discussed regular items on the agenda such as public comments and conflict of interest to clarify what each of these might entail.

The Kingsbury Journal and Arlington Sun were designated official newspapers for the county. Official financial institutions include American Bank & Trust in De Smet and Iroquois, First National Bank in Lake Preston and Oldham and Citizens State Bank and CorTrust Bank in Arlington. County Auditor Echo Steffensen explained that the county does not necessarily have money in all those banks, but they could be used.

When deciding committee appointments for the new year, Kazmerzak suggested looking at each commissioner’s area of expertise, rather than automatically assigning what the previous representative in each district did. All of the commissioners work in all areas, but each also has more responsibilities in certain areas. Appointments for 2022 include:

• Corey Lundquist, Ward 1: First Planning District and labor negotiations. Lundquist’s phone number is (605) 203-0522.

• Doug Kazmerzak, Ward 2: railroad authority, contract law, health insurance, courthouse assistant and emergency management. Kazmerzak’s phone number is (605) 651-3990.

• Kyle Lee, Ward 3: courthouse assistant, child protection, Interlakes Community Action Partnership (ICAP) liaison and health insurance alternate. Lee’s phone number is (704) 936-9171.

• Roger Walls, Ward 4: weed board, Glacial Lakes, South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance, 4-H and Kingsbury County Fair Board. Walls’ phone number is (605) 546-2211.

• Steve Spilde, Ward 5: courthouse, human services, labor negotiations and South Dakota Public Assurance Association. Spilde’s phone number is (605) 203-0122.

Highway Superintendent David Sorenson reported that the crew had been spending time recently tackling snow drifts. He stated he had been questioned about an inaccuracy in the paper regarding the town of Willow Lake, which is in Clark County. He wished to clarify that he was not working in the town of Willow Lake but that he had been driving on the Willow Lake Road in Kingsbury County. Sorenson also requested an executive session to discuss personnel. He and the commissioners went into executive session at 8:45 a.m. and came out at 9:31 a.m.

Commissioners discussed at length how to schedule employees’ yearly evaluations, and whether to do them on the morning of Jan. 12, as there is a special meeting that afternoon to consider a conditional-use permit for a hog farm in the county. Kazmerzak commented that each evaluation should not take much more than 15 minutes if the commissioners discuss them ahead of time. This comment was met with laughter. Walls stated that each evaluation would take at least 45 minutes. Both the commissioners’ discussion and the face-to face meeting with each employee is done in closed session. Walls explained that this takes some time, and sometimes things come up in discussion that need to be hashed out.

“We want to be able to acknowledge where the person has done well, and also where they might need to improve,” he said.

The commissioners decided they would review the employee evaluations amongst themselves on the morning of Jan. 12, but they would wait until the regular Jan. 18 meeting to speak with individuals.

Steffensen filled the commissioners in on the annual inventory audit that is to be completed in February. One or two commissioners will go into each office in the courthouse and will check off items that the department heads have listed in their inventories. These things might include chairs, filing cabinets, computers and printers. Each office will have made up their inventory list ahead of time, and a commissioner or commissioners will confirm that the list is accurate.

Steffensen said she and Deputy Auditor Rhonda Siefker will take an election training course online via zoom. She said she attended the training in Pierre two years ago and has some familiarity with it.

“We might just close our office; let Brian (Deputy Register of Deeds, Brian Tande) answer the phone,” she said. “We’re not driving to Pierre.”

“Close the office,” Lundquist agreed. “That makes sense - you can be more engaged.”

Commissioners had a conversation about salaries without naming names and will have further discussions when they meet with department heads.

Commissioners approved a request for travel expenses from Director of Equalization Tammy Anderson and her deputy Maggie Purintun for some upcoming meetings and schools. Anderson said some of these were approved last year, but that COVID messed with the schedule.

Anderson said the county boards are required to be open on April 12 for anyone wishing to appeal their property assessments. Notices will be sent out at the end of February, and people will have to go to the local board in March to file an appeal. Anderson said once the appeals process with the commissioners starts on April 12, they must stick with that task. There can be no interruptions.

The next public meeting begins at 1 p.m., Jan. 12 to consider a conditional-use permit for a proposed hog operation in the county. The next regular meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 18.

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