Why did the SOS’s election supervisor leave suddenly?

“I’m outta here!”

While the departure yesterday was a bit suspicious, what made it even more suspicious was his interim replacement was hired almost simultaneously;

Elections Director Aaron Lorenzen resigned early Wednesday to pursue a job in the private sector, Gant said, but he did not offer further details. Gant hired Lorenzen in January 2011.

“He decided this morning to accept a new venture outside of state government,” Gant said.

Wasting no time, Gant hired former five-term retired Minnehaha County Auditor Sue Roust to serve as interim elections director through the November general election.

So let me get this straight, your election supervisor quits and you hire his replacement within a matter of hours? One can only wonder if his departure was in the making for awhile. I hardly doubt that Roust made the decision to fill in as interim supervisor from a single phone call from Gant. This decision had to have been in the making for awhile, but not according to Gant;

Gant told me today that he only found out about Lorenzen’s departure yesterday morning. By the end of the day he’d persuaded Roust — who’s on vacation — to agree to serve as interim through the election.

Makes you wonder if it stems from this comment left on a thread I posted about Lorenzen in July;

I know for a fact (aka direct knowledge) that Aaron does his job much better and with more integrity than that of Gant and PP. He takes his job seriously and loves what he does. The games that Gant and PP partake in Aaron disagrees with 99% of them.

To be honest, Aaron doesn’t have much of a say when he comes up with an idea. Gant and PP (especially PP) shoot down all recommendations that come into their office from fellow employees. Aaron and the rest of the staff wished none of the new electronic additions (Campaign Finance, Lobbyist, etc) would have gone live until 100% satisfied internally with the system. Gant and PP just wanted to push it and push it even if it’s a garbage system (which it is). Next be on the lookout for the new electronic filing system that business services is pushing. Trust me, it’s a great system once it works, but like the other systems, they will go live way too soon with too many defects.

I hate the fact his name got brought into something that he had no control over. Gant vetoes any and every idea that didn’t originate from PP. Maybe now that PP is gone, things will be for the better. One can hope.

Could this comment by one of Lorenzen’s ‘friends’ cost him his job? You know how these things work in government,

“You can either resign, or we will fire you and that could be very, very messy. Hey buddy, take one for the team like Pat did.”

This situation is getting stinkier by the day. If anyone has the real story, I would love to hear it.

18 comments ↓

#1 l3wis on 08.17.12 at 7:59 am

I’m hoping Sue will chime in and set the record straight on this.

#2 l3wis on 08.17.12 at 8:02 am

I found this comment on Aaron’s FB page on Wednesday to be, well, interesting;

“Heard sum AWSUM news 2day that was totally AWSUM that made my day even more AWSUMR!!!!! LOL!!!”

http://www.facebook.com/amlorenzen

#3 Guest Poster on 08.17.12 at 9:39 am

There seems to be the smell of old garbage drifting through the air on this one. First we get opportunist Pat Miller and now we get a surprise resignation followed by an interesting ‘Temp’ hire.

Since when to temporary contractor consultants get to be named ‘Deputy” SOS? This does not make sense. To hire a contractor to be a Secretary of State? Why not just hire a direct employee of ES&S to be your deputy Jason?

Sue has always had a very good relationship with ES&S. In the past, when asked, she could not find anything wrong with their equipment or business methods. She has been a strong proponent of stripping the local officials of their duties to run all elections.

Jason is in the process of doing to South Dakota what the rest of the GOP SOS’ are doing to their state’s voters. Just read what they are doing to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and more as they destroy the very fabric of our RIGHT to vote. Listen to the language being bantered about in the right wing press, it is filtering into the common language of the populace: RIGHT to vote versus the new term “PRIVILEGE” to vote.

In America it is a privilege to drive a car because car is not necessary for life. The constitution does not make voting a privilege, it is spelled out as a RIGHT. In fact it is spelled out in the US Constitution before guns are even discussed. We the people in order to continue our ownership of the government must continue the RIGHTs spelled out by having no limits to voting.

Jason made a big deal in 2010 damning the voting system and methods we have grown used to having. He and PP built a falsehood using ‘cute’ children. This falsehood claimed voter fraud, so we need to make voting a privilege when in fact the ALEC sponsors have been actively performing Election fraud. Under this guise, we citizen owners of the country now are guilty until we clean up Choice Point’s database for the state’s Real ID system. Until we clean up their system, we are guilty of their version of voter fraud, otherwise know as State Sponsored Election Fraud to restrict voting.

All reputable studies reflect no Voter Fraud and massive Election Fraud.

#4 Guest Poster on 08.17.12 at 11:44 am

My mistake, Roust will be be the elections director not Deputy.

It still does not finish addressing the issues I see in her being in the office at all and adds the concerns I have with Miller being there as the Deputy.

As Montgomery laid out in his post:

Gant’s old org chart looked like this:

Secretary of State

Director of elections
Director of operations
Director of business services

Now it looks like this:

Secretary of State

Deputy Secretary of State
(Interim) Director of elections
Director of business services

This still does not make me feel any better knowing how opportunistic Miller has been in her quest to carry the water for the right wing nuts of South Dakota.

#5 Ol' Timer on 08.17.12 at 12:55 pm

It is time to put these positions on the primary ballot and quit letting the political parties appointing who they want to run the office (STATE).

The problem with that is with the 80% straight ticket voters in SD, they will still get who they want.

#6 Stan Adelstein on 08.17.12 at 6:17 pm

I will be introducing a bill to require that the SoS be nominated by the primary election method. It is being drafted in LRC as I type here.

Stan Adelstein State Senator District 32

#7 l3wis on 08.17.12 at 8:52 pm

Way to go Stan. Many people have been suggesting this.

You should introduce legislation that requires the AG to investigate a constitutional officer for the complaint being filed against them instead of making up a crime they know they are already innocent of. Nice one Jackely.

#8 l3wis on 08.17.12 at 8:55 pm

I received this email tonight (edited version);

“I was just looking around the blogs again to see what the people are saying about Aaron Lorenzen’s resignation.

As far as I know, Aaron has been contemplating a career change ever since things started to blow up. Gant was sort of caught off guard by the resignation according to Aaron. He had no idea Aaron was even contemplating it. I find it shocking myself that Gant had already found a replacement. Aaron was shocked that it only took hours to find a replacement. With that being said, Aaron is very happy with his decision.”

While Gant may have been ‘shocked’ or pretending to be ‘shocked’ is yet to be seen. I still think the Roust hire was in the works before Lorenzen quit. I’m still waiting to hear Roust’s response to it also . . .

#9 Ol' Timer on 08.18.12 at 2:11 pm

Great Mr. Adelstein, I hope you do not stop at SOS. I think it is a crime that you have to be in the politcal inner circle to get your name on the ballot for these jobs.

Read Mercers column yesterday, tell me we did not hire a part timer in South Dakota for $10,000 a month when we were paying a full timer $60 a year? Double the wages for part time? You could have called Bob at Account Temps cheaper then that! My guess is she is already drawing a retirement from the state/county. Another case of hire/rehire and we can not figure out why we can not keep young people in the state!?!

#10 Ol' Timer on 08.18.12 at 2:12 pm

Sorry $60K a year.

#11 Detroit Lewis on 08.18.12 at 2:14 pm

$10,000 a month, no wonder she accepted so fast.

#12 Detroit Lewis on 08.18.12 at 2:18 pm

Can you link the story, I am having trouble finding it.

#13 Testor15 on 08.18.12 at 2:27 pm

Ol’ Timer what paper?

#14 Ol' Timer on 08.18.12 at 5:21 pm

“Gant said Thursday night that Miller will be paid $67,000 annually and Roust will receive $2,500 per week through the election. Miller will start Sept. 4 and Roust will begin “as soon as possible” and be in the office Aug. 27. Powers was receiving $66,950 and Lorenzen $51,500.”

Watertown Public Opinion article link is

http://thepublicopinion.com/news/local_news/article_01b98ac6-e88c-11e1-9d7a-0019bb2963f4.html

#15 Pigmar on 08.18.12 at 8:44 pm

Gant is a corrupt suckoid

#16 Senator Stan Adelstein on 08.18.12 at 10:51 pm

$2,500 per week is $10,833 per month – which cannot be in the budget approved by the appropriation committee for the SoS office. I will be exploring how this sort of behavior my begin to prove “malfeasance in office,” which is am impeachable offense.

What in the world is this idiot doing!!

Senator Stan Adelstein

#17 Detroit Lewis on 08.18.12 at 11:04 pm

Exactly, Stan. On top of that, how much of her expenses will be covered also? Like travel, training, hotel, meals, etc.

#18 Jeff Barth on 08.20.12 at 10:55 pm

Good work Stan!

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