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Rep. Lee Kaldor, Rep. Shirley Meyer and Rep. Eliot Glassheim, Published October 28 2010

Jaeger’s charges baseless

Secretary of State Al Jaeger has accused his opponent, Corey Mock, of lying about his (Jaeger’s) record (Forum, Page C6, Oct. 10). Jaeger’s accusations are baseless and are intended to distract voters from the serious and factual inadequacies and examples of mismanagement that Mock has identified.

As members of the Government Operations Division of the Appropriations Committee, we heard testimony on the secretary of state budget this past session. We were informed in those hearings that indeed, Secretary Jaeger had spent $770,000 on an IT system for his office that had to be abandoned.

In contrast, the North Dakota Supreme Court was able to implement an IT system on time and under budget primarily because of the diligent work they did to develop a comprehensive plan that analyzed every transaction type within the Supreme Court.

Losing $770,000 on a $2 million project is not a victory, it is a failure. Now, as the interim IT committee has been informed, the new replacement system that Jaeger has adopted is yet again significantly behind schedule (Interim IT Legislative Council minutes, June 29).

Additional management problems were exposed during last session’s Appropriations Committee hearings when we learned that Jaeger had refused to comply with requirements to utilize the new PeopleSoft accounting software like every other state agency. As a result, the Office of Management and Budget increased the secretary of state budget to include one new staff accountant to ensure that the state system would be used.

There was even some indication that Jaeger’s spreadsheet bookkeeping actually caused more work for the OMB because of the need to manually input his numbers into the PeopleSoft system before final budgets could be prepared. Jaeger had no excuse except to say, “I was told there might be a way (to use PeopleSoft), but I have not had a chance to look” (House Appropriations Hearing minutes, HB002, Page 6, Jan. 13, 2009). Later in testimony, the OMB did report that there had been a duplication of effort because of Jaeger’s failure to learn the new system.

Jaeger has a record of service, but his recent record, filled with questionable decisions and management errors, demonstrates the need for change. We are happy to see Rep. Mock step up to the task. His campaign has identified the real issues of concern exposed last session and much more. It’s time for change.

Rep. Kaldor, D-Mayville, N.D., represents District 20. Rep. Meyer, D-Dickinson, N.D., represents District 23. Rep. Glassheim, D-Grand Forks, represents District 18.