Minnehaha County Treasurer Nelson gets butt chewed by the commission

The MCC decided to chew Pam’s butt yesterday because her office is behind on some tax collections/audits. While I can understand their frustration with the issue, they are the ones who bought inferior software for the treasurer’s office to begin with AND I kind of wondered why they didn’t ask sooner if they weren’t getting the monthly reports?

But what was even more frustrating is watching the mostly Republican commissioners bitch about other things going on in Pam’s office (who is a Democrat). While they had a legitimate concern over the tax collections, dragging the other topics out wasn’t necessary, it’s the same old, ‘the lines are too long, blah, blah, blah. People need to understand that their are other ways to get your tags. You can mail them in (I do that), you can use a kiosk, or you can do it online, but as Pam said, older people prefer to do it face to face. Old habits are hard to break.

And as I told a MC Commissioner, “Pam is elected just like you. You can ‘ASK’ her to fix something, but you can’t DEMAND her to do it.” If I was Pam, I would have responded with the line from ‘A Few Good Men’ where Jack tells Cruise, “But your’e gonna have to ask nicely.”


#1 "'Extremely' Stable Genius" on 08.07.19 at 11:45 pm

In my estimation, this is just a GOP Commission trying to mess with a Democratic Treasurer.

She’s up for re-election next year and this is their attempt to get her to retire, or to try to make her look bad for re-election.

I find it amazing too, that all a sudden the GOP cares about audits in this state, but they didn’t care about them with GEAR-UP or EB5, did they?


#2 Windows R Us on 08.08.19 at 7:29 am

As my retired parents told me once when asked why they didn’t combine trips to the courthouse “What would we do tomorrow if we combined the trips?” They needed something to do everyday and the trips to the different offices filled their time.

#3 D@ily Spin on 08.08.19 at 7:49 am

Her’s is a difficult demanding job. She’s handled it well for several terms. Many people come in to pay their taxes because their grumbling helps them write the check. I couldn’t listen to it. Pam keeps her smile and composure while also explaining as needed. At the same time, she’s kept the respect from her employees. They should also be respected. It’s not easy collecting from people who would rather spend their money on something else. She may retire soon. It’s not going to be easy to find another her. She deserves respect for her service.

#4 Michael L. Wyland on 08.08.19 at 8:16 am

Knowing political affairs and bureaucracy as we all presume to do, we know that this issue between the Commission and the Treasurer must have been percolating (festering?) for a long time in private before it broke into the public on Tuesday. The frustration that is new to us is nothing new to those who were doing the people’s work (or not) over the past year or more.

While it’s true that both commission members and the treasurer are elected, and there is (or at least should be) professional courtesy and respect between them, there is a complicating factor. These elected officials have state-imposed requirements/responsibilities that are dependent on the effective and timely work of each.

For that reason, they have to not only support each other, but hold each other accountable – in private if possible, in public if necessary.

#5 l3wis on 08.08.19 at 9:20 am

MW, totally agree, Pam needs to keep up with state law requirements BUT it was NOT Pam’s decision to buy outdated, obsolete Munis software, it was the MCC’s decision to that. They handed Pam a turd and expected her to polish it, then they wonder why it isn’t shiny.

#6 T on 08.08.19 at 10:06 am

Shoe string budget, and they want a Cadillac result. Not going to happen. They’d rather build a $50 million jail to house low-class offenders, than staff departments appropriately for the largest county in the state.

#7 Michael L. Wyland on 08.08.19 at 2:45 pm

I re-read the Argus Leader article. It made no mention of Nelson complaining about the quality or age of the Munis software. Given the other excuses she was reported as relating to the commissioners, it’s interesting that that one was left off the list.

Regardless, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to criticize her for sending only one staffer for training and then have that staffer resign their position. If the treasurer’s office regularly engages in cross-training, then the accounting software should be part of that. Add to that the passage of time. Whatever problems and shortcomings in the software, training availability, and personnel turnover, those problems should have been fixed months ago.

Both Nelson and another commenter here have raised a good point – what does employee turnover look like in the treasurer’s office, and how does that affect the success of cross-training efforts?

#8 l3wis on 08.08.19 at 3:30 pm

She does mention in the video that the software is hard to use, she has also told the MCC privately that it is a POS.

#9 Michael L. Wyland on 08.09.19 at 7:59 am

Wonder how the City of Sioux Falls likes Munis ? They use the same software the county treasurer’s office uses.

#10 Reliable Voter on 08.09.19 at 10:20 am

My understanding is: The Commission replaced an old system with an equally antiquated COBOL based program. The Commission spent our tax dollars on a system most often described as a “legacy” computer language used successfully in less populated SD counties, but has required revisions – and still requires revisions – to preform in compliance with Minnehaha Counties more complex assessments. Also – more time is used switching between screens to find and record transactions – so each transaction take more time. Anybody heard a different explanation?

#11 Reliable Voter on 08.10.19 at 12:23 pm

Michael : my understanding is the County purchased an older version of Munis also and I’m not sure the City is using the same older version. I believe the County bought the older version with the intention of upgrading in a couple of years.