Agency RSS

Governor's Column: Appreciation For My Co-Workers



          Office of Gov. Dennis Daugaard

500 E. Capitol Ave.

Pierre, S.D. 57501






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, May 4, 2018

CONTACT:  Tony Venhuizen or Kelsey Pritchard at 605-773-3212


EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS:  Please consider the following column from Gov. Dennis Daugaard. For an audio recording of the Governor’s weekly column, visit http://news.sd.gov/player.aspx.   



Appreciation For My Co-Workers


A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:


Aaron Scheibe has been instrumental in getting companies like Agropur and Terex to invest millions of dollars in South Dakota’s economy, and he played a key role in the development of Foundation Park, the state’s first mega industrial site. The economic development deputy commissioner’s work has helped bring jobs and companies to South Dakota.


Aaron is one of thousands of state employees I am proud to call a co-worker.


I have proclaimed Wednesday, May 9, as State Employee Recognition Day to highlight the work of our great public servants in South Dakota. Unlike Aaron, most of these individuals will not be recognized as part of a million-dollar deal, but they provide excellent customer service, invaluable institutional knowledge and essential work to keep our state running from day to day.


For instance, the Department of Corrections’ parole division leans heavily on Jeremy Ortman’s exceptional caseload management skills. Despite having a workload of over 122 percent of the expected rate, Jeremy is always willing to assist when needed. In 2017, he attained some of the highest ratings possible in performance indicators – 100 percent contact compliance and 100 percent compliance with the issuance of incentives.


Then there’s Merlin Weyer who has given 43 years of service in Child Protection for the Department of Social Services. As assistant division director, he was instrumental in the development and implementation of review processes to centralize intake. He also authored the division’s Five-Year Child and Family Service Plan. When he retires in June, his service to South Dakota families will have spanned eight governors and seven division directors. It’s no stretch to say that children in South Dakota are better off thanks to Merlin’s work.


Jill Kruger is the face of the South Dakota State Employee Benefits Program, giving presentation after presentation to help employees understand their health plan and benefits. It isn’t stand-up comedy material, but she has a contagious passion for it, and will stay until every last question is answered.


The Department of Agriculture has always operated with a light, two-person central finance office; but Jennifer Schrempp has been managing the Department of Agriculture’s daily financial operations for the last eight months by herself because of the unplanned absence of a colleague. She has exceeded all expectations and shown unmatched grit to keep everything going.


These are just a few examples of the great people who work for the citizens of South Dakota. I could go on and on, and fill page after page with more.


A governor gets much attention. My name is in the newspaper each week and people shake my hand at the grocery store. But it’s the 7,000 Executive Branch employees reporting to my office who deserve the credit. They make fulfilling my oath to the voters possible.


If you have a state employee in your life or you find yourself on the phone with one this week, thank them for all they do. Let them know you appreciate the role they play in running the State of South Dakota.