State water board chooses financial pros

The state Board of Water and Natural Resources, whose primary responsibilities are administering loans and grants for water projects and waste management projects, met by teleconference this fine Tuesday morning and chose an investment banking firm (two, actually) and renewed its legal services contract for a new round of bond issues. From a group of nine proposals the board selected JP Morgan as its investment banker with Wells Fargo Securities as a co-manager because of Wells Fargo’s wide presence in South Dakota community banking. The board also gave a new contract for bond counsel services to Bruce Bonjour and the Perkins Coie firm of Chicago. The board will pay Perkins Coie $80,000. The bond issue is expected to carry a par value of $69 million and be completed yet this calendar year.

Governor makes many appointments to “people services” boards and commissions

There are lots of names of people and panels to cover with the new appointments and reappointments recently made by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Reappointed to the state Board of Vocational Rehabilitation are Darla McGuire of Ethan, Leo Hallan of Yankton, Carol Kirchgesler of Aberdeen and Colleen Moran of Sioux Falls. The governor named three new members, too. Lisa Sanderson of Sioux Falls, Kimberly Holberg of Aberdeen and Kendra Gottsleben of Sioux Falls succeed Elaine Roberts, Joseph Rehurk and Craig Eschenbaum.

Reappointed to the Independent Living Council are David Miller of Sioux Falls and Isabel Trobaugh of Elk Point. The governor’s new appointees are Gillian Plenty Chief of McLaughlin and Dave Scherer of Sturgis. They succeed Lyle Cook and Patrick Czerny.

The governor named three new members to the Family Support Council. They are Darci Bible of Pierre, Shelly Means of Rosebud and Elizabeth Brown of Clear Lake. They succeed Kris Kratovil, Lois Gotheridge and Lora Barthelman.

The governor appointed two new members to the Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities. Bradley Saathoff of Rapid City and Angel Maggard of Pierre succeed Rebecca Carlson and Cynthia Roan Eagle.

All of the new terms run until June 30, 2017.

The Behavioral Health Advisory Council also gets two new members. The governor appointed Jacksyn Bakeberg of Spearfish and Tim Neyhart of Pierre. Neyhart succeeds Robert Kean. Bakeberg’s term runs until Oct. 30, 2016. No end date was given for Neyhart’s appointment.

A common denominator in MLB playoff races

Two statistics separate the contenders in the six divisions of Major League Baseball. Every division leader has a winning record at home and a winning record on the road. That’s not true of four of the six second-place teams, however.

The three American League leaders are Baltimore, Kansas City and the current tie between the Los Angeles Angels and the Oakland A’s. The three National League leaders are Washington, Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The second-place teams with winning home and away records are Detroit in the AL Central and Oakland/Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. There is a third-place team, too: Seattle in AL West.

Toronto, in second place in the AL East, has a losing record on the road. So do Atlanta in the NL East and St. Louis in the NL Central.

The odd division is the NL West. The Dodgers are one game above .500 at home. In second place, San Francisco one game below .500 at home.

Minnesota, by the way, played some interesting baseball during the past week as the new talent took the field and Joe Mauer returned at first base. The Twins nonetheless are 4-6 in their past 10. They stood 55-66 for the season after the 4-1 win Saturday night over Kansas City and have losing records at home and on the road. Their official attendance Saturday night was reported at 35,575. Nothing wrong with that.

Regarding coverage of 2014 election campaigns

A common bit of advice to other lawmakers from Jim Putnam during his 26 years as a Republican legislator from Armour was this: “Keep your eye on the ball.” That line came to mind this morning, as I considered how the South Dakota news media organizations have covered the election campaigns this summer.

Because I might need to report on some of them, I will withhold my personal opinions about some of the personalities. But their actions are triggering reactions and opinions in my head.

Some of what’s happening seems to be idiocy run amok. Some of it is self-inflected. Some of it leaves me speechless. Here are two examples from the past six weeks:

A Republican Party official proclaiming that Democrats don’t value voters when the Democrats leave ballot slots open for legislative seats — never mind that Republicans left slots open, too; and

A Democrat stating on Twitter about her candidacy that “I condone misogyny in all its forms” — and then wiping her Twitter account clean of the several tweets in which she said she condones misogyny, and showing nothing on her Twitter her account since July 16.

As for the Chad Haber and Annette Bosworth duels with Secretary of State Jason Gant and Attorney General Marty Jackley…


And people wonder why I spend so much time covering the actions of state boards and commissions and legislative committees.

It’s either that, or spending more time covering these election campaigns.

I put some time into the gubernatorial primary campaigns in May. I used a questionnaire format and went to some candidate forums.

I will shift more attention to the election politics come September and October.

During the primary season, I was stiffed by a major candidate in another race on questions about EB-5. I’ll take another run at that matter.

But some of this stuff we’ve been seeing this summer, well…

Gaming Commission considers rule changes

The state Commission on Gaming, which oversees Deadwood gambling casinos and parimutuel  betting on horse and dog races, holds a public hearing next month on seven sets of rule changes. Some of the proposed changes are to bring South Dakota into line with regulations in other states. There are two proposals that go farther. One would allow the sale of tip sheets and other printed matter in the grandstands at races. Another would reduce record-keeping to three years from the current rule of five years. The hearing is scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 10, starting at 9 a.m. MDT at Deadwood City Hall’s meeting room. The rule proposals and accompanying documents can be found at this link on the website.  The commission will accept written comments through Monday, Sept. 8, but has asked that written comments be received by Friday, Sept. 5, to “allow for adequate consideration prior to the hearing.”

For DSU, one thing led to another that led to another…

… and another and another. That’s the chain of events leading to the sudden resignation Wednesday by David Borofsky as Dakota State University president. A decade ago, the DSU president was Doug Knowlton and the executive director for the state Board of Regents was Tad Perry. When Perry did the retire-rehire maneuver, he angered more than a few legislators, and at least some of the regents felt they were held hostage. Perry retired for real in 2009. He supported the hiring of Jack Warner from Rhode Island. Warner came with a strong resume of leadership at colleges, universities and higher education systems in Massachusetts and Rhode island and continued as an active leader at the national level. By hiring Warner in 2009, the regents didn’t hire Knowlton, whom many thought would be a good choice from inside the South Dakota system. Knowlton left South Dakota in early 2012 after eight years at Dakota State University. He accepted what became a double role in the Minnesota state universities and colleges system as vice chancellor for academic and student affairs and subsequently as vice president for student success at Metropolitan State University. Knowlton’s departure from DSU came in the middle of the academic year. The regents hurriedly named David Borofsky as interim president. He had last been provost and chief academic officer for three years at Westwood College, a for-profit institution with operations in six states and on-line degrees. At the time of his hiring in January 2012, the regents emphasized Borofsky would be strictly an interim president at Madison, with the regents stating in a news release that he would be serving in “a temporary capacity through midyear of 2013.” Borofsky said in the same news release he intended to provide “a smooth leadership transition” to the next president. While this was happening, the regents faced the potential loss of another campus president, Bob Wharton at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Wharton, who had cancer, died Sept. 19, 2012. Nearly immediately the regents announced a search committee for Wharton’s successor. That meant the nine-member board would have two search committees under way. Borofsky meanwhile had quickly impressed townspeople and at least some of the DSU administration and faculty, and they made their opinions known to regent Randy Schaefer of Madison. The search committee began its work Oct. 15, 2012, on finding a new president for School of Mines. The full board announced one week later on Oct. 22, following a special meeting in Madison, that David Borofsky would be the full president of Dakota State University. The announcement included this set of statements:

“President Borofsky has done an outstanding job at Dakota State during this interim,” said
Regents President Kathryn Johnson. “We crafted a series of expectations for him as interim
president and he has far exceeded those. He has excelled at building relationships between the
campus and the Madison community and at raising private funds for the university,” Johnson
said. “President Borofsky has been building a positive momentum for Dakota State University,
and no one wanted to break that momentum,” she said.

During Borofsky’s time, the university changed out its athletic director, two deans and an assistant dean. The protests this summer by about three dozen students and university employees seemed to crystalize matters. Whether there is more behind the scenes, only those on campus know. On the same afternoon as Borofsky’s sudden resignation — he didn’t travel to Pierre for the regents meeting, or at least not for the public portions of it Wednesday — continuation of a major grant of $4.6 million from the National Science Foundation was announced for the university. It was also noteworthy, as mentioned at the blog on Wednesday, that the regents needed to add the resignation to its agenda right after an executive session over lunch break and that the interim president, Marysz Rames, a vice president at South Dakota State University, would fill in as interim president. She arrived at the regents meeting in Pierre at some point after 2 p.m. and was introduced to the board and the full room of officials from throughout the university system. Rames, who’s worked in Brookings for SDSU for 27 years, wasn’t asked to make a speech.


Regents accept DSU president’s resignation w/update

The state Board of Regents amended the meeting agenda this afternoon to accept the resignation of David Borofsky as president at Dakota State University in Madison. The regents appointed Marysz Rames, a 27-year veteran at South Dakota State University in Brookings, as interim president. She arrived at the regents meeting in Pierre about a half hour later.

Here is the statement that former president Borofsky said he sent to staff this afternoon:

To all,
During the two and a half years I have been the President at DSU, we have benefited from the numerous successes that have resulted from our team work. We have raised more money for the Foundation in the last two years than ever before, including the three largest donations to DSU ever…. Two at $2.5 million and one at $2 million. We have had two new masters degrees approved…. One in applied computer science and one in analytics, a collaborative degree with SDSU. We have had another doctorate in science in cybersecurity approved by the BOR and it is pending approval by HLC. We have an agreement in place…. And the money… to buy the Madison Community Hospital and turn it into the Beacom Institute of Technology. We received $900,000 from the SD State Legislature to expand computer science related programs. We have created, thanks to the faculty and administration in the College of Education, a successful year-long residency program for education majors. We have seen our arts and sciences faculty, most notably Nathan Edwards, Angela Behrends, Allan Montgomery, Justin Blessinger, Cassie Edwards, and Michael Gaylor, among others, have tremendous success outside the classroom in their respective fields. And we have created more and more partnerships with large organizations that benefit our students, our Foundation and our University.

With those successes has come a lot of change. Change that is not always understood or able to be explained. Some of it has been obvious; some of it not so much. This I can tell you… all of the changes that have occurred since I started have been well-thought out, discussed with the appropriate people, and put into place only after hours of discussion and exploring many different options. That said, change is never easy, especially when it is controversial and unpopular. Often, people do not understand the reasons for change nor do they have all the information that leaders have, so the change looks forced and ill-conceived. Nothing could be further from the truth with the changes that have occurred at DSU.

That said, a change agent of an organization can almost never be the healer… and DSU needs to heal. No one person, faculty or administrator, is more important than the University. Therefore, today I announce my retirement from Dakota State University, effective today. The Board of Regents has appointed an interim President. I want to thank all the employees of DSU, the students, the Madison community members, financial supporters of the DSU Foundation, and all the alumni who love DSU so much. You have made my stay here at DSU special, and full of long-lasting memories. You have a great University and your next leader will help you reach that next plateau, because there is another one just within your reach! I especially want to thank my staff, Kacie Fodness, Heather Beaner and Susan Slaughter. You are a great team…. as are the VPs…. Judy Dittman, Marcus Garstecki and Stacy Krusemark. The University is in excellent hands under your leadership.

Thank you.

Dr. David Borofsky

UPDATE: In response to a reporter’s questions, Borofsky said this evening that he will be in Madison through the end of September. Regarding what’s ahead for he and Mady, Borofsky said: “My wife and I are exploring options now to decide what’s next!”

Regents consider big changes for universities w/update

During the annual strategic planning sessions today and Thursday, the state Board of Regents looks at some highly ambitious management goals for South Dakota’s public universities. You can read the full document on the website but here is a summary of the goals to be reached by 2020.

Increase undergraduate degrees to 5,630 from current 4,800.

Increase graduate degrees to 1,820 from current 1,550.

Increase degrees earned by American Indian students to 220 from current 132.

Increases grants and contracts expenditures to $150 million from current $97 million.

Increase license agreements with start-up companies to 15 from eight.

Increase students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to 1,950 from 1,630.

Improve regional standing in tuition fees to fourth from current sixth most-expensive.

And here is the zinger. All of this would be done while trying to reduce student spending to $57,000 per degree from current $57,744.

UPDATE: Reactions from regents criss-crossed this morning. Some of the pieces faced more scrutiny than others. Regents presidents Dean Krogman of Brookings said the goals will be put on the board’s October meeting agenda but that doesn’t mean the document needs to be approved at that time. Regents executive director Jack Warner ran into pushback from some board members on some of the priorities. It will be interesting to see what Warner brings back to the board.


DOC proposes methods for projecting felony probationers

On Aug. 18 the state Department of Corrections holds a rules hearing regarding its plan to forecast the numbers of felony probation cases in each county. DOC intends to use the five-year average percentage increase through 2013 to set growth factors for each county, then apply those growth factors to the actual numbers in each county and create forecasts for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. You can see those numbers here in DOC’s original rules proposal. The public hearing is set for Monday at 1 p.m. CDT at DOC’s administration building on SD 34 at Pierre’s east edge. Written comments  Written comments must reach DOC by August 28 to be considered.

The purpose of the proposed rules is distribution of $1 million that was appropriated by the Legislature to aid counties in administering one piece of the Public Safety Improvement Act that was passed by the Legislature in 2013. Counties that surpass their trend lines will receive $1,000 for each felony probationer in excess of the trend line who is under county supervision. Counties that surpass the trend lines but don’t have a local jail will get $200 to cover transportation costs for each one in excess of the county’s trend line.

Quite a few counties would get a growth factor of zero under the plan. They include Aurora, Buffalo, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Jones, Lake, McPherson, Mellette, Miner, Sanborn, Shannon, Tripp and Walworth.

The growth factor is limited to 10 percent regardless whether a county averaged more than 10 percent. The counties set for a 10 percent growth factor form a long list: Bennett, Bon Homme, Butte, Campbell, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Codington, Corson, Day, Deuel, Dewey, Douglas, Edmunds, Faulk, Grant, Gregory, Harding, Hughes, Hyde, Jerauld, Kingsbury, Lincoln, Marshall, McCook, Meade, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington, Perkins, Potter, Roberts, Spink, Stanley, Sully, Todd, Yankton and Ziebach.

The first distributions will be made Oct. 1, 2014, after comparing actual and projected numbers for the state 2014 fiscal year that ended June 30.

For the statistically interested, counties that had more than 100 felony probationers as of June 30, 2013, were Brookings 144, Brown 302, Codington 177, Davison 168, Hughes 134, Lawrence 143, Meade 189, Minnehaha 1,284, Pennington 1,006, Roberts 106, Union 107 and Yankton 253.

Josh Willingham gets parole

The trade of Josh Willingham by the Minnesota Twins sent the outfielder to what became a first-place team as the Kansas City Royals moved to the top of the American League Central Division standings Monday. At his peak, he hit 29 home runs for the Oakland A’s in 2011 and 35 home runs for the Twins in 2012. He’s been a shell of that slugger last season and so far this year, batting .208 and .210. The Royals needed some power and at age 35 he might be the six-week stimulus. The Twins gave Willingham a three-year $21 million contract in 2012. He will be a free agent in 2015. If he has some oomph left and puts it on display, he might still be in the majors next season. Kansas City is trying to win its first division title since 1985, when the Royals took the World Series. They defeated Oakland 3-2 while Detroit fell to Pittsburgh 11-6 Monday night, as Kansas City moved ahead of the Tigers by a half-game in the Central standings. The Twins by the way received a strong pitching performance from Tommy Milone, whom they picked up in the Sam Fuld trade at the suggestion of catcher Kurt Suzuki, as they beat Houston 4-2. Kansas City sends a pitcher, righthander Jason Adam, to the Twins for Josh Willingham. Adam, 23, was selected from high school in Overland Park, Kansas, by the Royals in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. He spent the 2013 season at AA-level where he went 8-11 with a 5.19 earned run average. This year at AA he posted a 4-8 record with a 5.03 ERA as a starting pitcher; at AAA this year as a reliever he was 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in eight innings. As for Josh Willingham, he gave the Twins a dependable glove in left field and he did what an outfielder/designated hitter is supposed to do with the bat. He finishes his two-plus seasons with the Twins having a .232 batting average, 61 home runs,162 runs scored and 192 runs batted in during 324 games. A player whose runs and RBI together match or exceed the games played is a solid batter. He was that. His 11 years of statistics in the majors with Florida, Washington, Oakland and Minnesota, averaged over an imaginary 162-game season, were a.253 average, 28 homers, 79 runs and 90 RBI. Now he gets the chance for playoff baseball.