Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > Aberdeen Candidate Forum Part IV: The Brown County Auditor race

Aberdeen Candidate Forum Part IV: The Brown County Auditor race

October 6, 2014

On Saturday, September 27, the League of Women Voters Aberdeen Area and the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidate forum at the Hub Area Multi District Vocational Center. Due to a spate of illness going through my house I am behind on getting this posted, so I apologize to anyone waiting for this post. This portion of the forum included the two candidates running for Brown County Auditor. The incumbent Maxine Fischer (D) is being challenged by Tom Wanttie (R). The rules for this forum were simple, each candidate was given a three-minute opening statement and each candidate would have a minute to answer each question.

Part I of the forum with the District 3 legislative candidates can be read here. Part II of the forum with District 2 legislative candidates can be read here. Part III of the forum with Brown County Commissioner candidates can be read here.

As usual for posts of this type, I will pass on the parts of what candidates said that I find interesting. I probably won’t add too many of my own thoughts to this post. I tend to stay out of county business. This will also be a very short post. The whole auditors portion of the forum only lasted twenty minutes.

Maxine Fischer and Tom Wanttie at a candidate forum in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 09/27/14

Maxine Fischer and Tom Wanttie at a candidate forum in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 09/27/14

Opening Remarks – Each candidate was given three minutes to give a few opening remarks. Most of their opening remarks were filled with biographical stuff, I generally avoid that and will only point out anything I find interesting.

Maxine Fischer – Fischer noted she had first been elected to this position in 1990 (24 years ago). She believes she has brought the office into modern times. In particular she pointed out the state of the art voting centers. She also noted her department is working to get minutes of the previous Brown County Commission meetings put onto PDF’s, so they can be easily accessible by all.

Tom Wanttie – Wanttie noted there is need for a reach change in the Auditors office. He says the management practices utilized in the Auditors office are outdated. In addition, Wanttie said there are areas where efficiency can be gained in the Auditors office.

EZ Tickets – A question about whether the County Auditor should have been involved  with ticket sales for the Brown County Fair because of the EZ-Ticket debacle.

Wanttie – Yes, Wanttie thinks the Auditor should have been involved. He also believes there should have been more testing done. Wanttie comes from the financial industry and has seen first-hand how situations such as this negatively impact people’s lives.

Fischer – Yes, Fischer thinks the Auditor should have been involved. She then went on to apologize on behalf of Brown County employees and managers. Fischer then went on to say the fair was still successful and a new company would be used for online ticket sales next year.

Independent Auditor – A question about whether the candidate supports the proposal to hire an independent auditor, instead of using the legislative auditor from Pierre.

Fischer – No, Fischer does not support this. She contends the legislative auditors understand the law and help the smaller counties out. She does not see where the value would be added.

Wanttie – No, Wanttie does not support this. He believes what is being done is appropriate.

Public Access to Audits – A question about how the public can get a copy of the state audit done for Brown County.

Wanttie – Wanttie was unsure. This question was probably aimed at Fischer anyhow.

Fischer – Fischer said that Yes, the audits are available online. The state website has copies of the audits. She also noted the audits will likely be added to the Brown County  website in the future.

My Comment – The SD Department of Legislative Audit website is legislativeaudit.sd.gov.

Voting Centers – A question about whether the voting centers are working well.

Fischer – Fischer believes the vote centers were a huge success when used for the Primary Election this spring. The vote centers allow easy access to voting by everyone in the county. Plus it prevents voter fraud because people will be unable to vote twice.

Wanttie – Wanttie said vote center are good for rural voters, especially rural voters that work in Aberdeen.

Voter Turnout – A question about how to increase the number of people actually voting.

Wanttie – Wanttie said the biggest thing to do is “continue to get the word out”. He says at we need to continue the voting that happens in schools, that way they will grow up to be voting adults.

Fischer – Fischer noted a program that started in ’92 where Brown County was a pilot (she was Auditor then). The Kids Voting program is a curriculum that promotes voting in schools with actual ballots.

Changes – What is the key issue or process that you want to change in the Auditors office?

Fischer – Fischer would like to integrate the taxation software with the other main software package utilized. That would simplify transferring information from the Treasures office to the Auditors office.

Wanttie – Wanttie noted he is not sure what is currently used in the office, so if elected to the office he would look at what is there and what needs to change.

Closing Remarks – Each candidate was given a minute for closing remarks. Since these are usually thank-you-to-everyone type fluff, I’ll just pass on one sentence each.

Tom Wanttie – Wanttie believes he could bring a change to the office with new ideas.

Maxine Fischer – Fischer believes she has shown over the last twenty-four years she has accomplished a lot.

%d bloggers like this: