Governor Daugaard’s “Anything But Education” Agenda

South Dakota Democratic legislators are looking for some accountability after Governor Daugaard’s $5 million Manpower giveaway is failing to meet expectations. Read the press release below to learn more about the issue.

Governor Daugaard appropriated $5 million for employee recruiter Manpower to fill 1000 open jobs across South Dakota within three years. More than a year into the program, Manpower has filled 83. And now the Governor wants to expand the program to other recruiters.

What’s at stake is the very role of state government. Is it our job to subsidize Manpower when we can’t even fulfill our basic obligations to K-12 schools and higher education? Should fund private recruiters going out-of-state to fill open SD jobs or invest in South Dakotans to prepare them for open jobs across our state? Should tax dollars from Custer subsidize job placement in Sioux Falls?

South Dakota’s schools are already struggling to afford the cost of Career and Tech Education programs that train our students for the kind of jobs we sorely need. Tech schools have responded to persistent underfunding by raising tuition between 5% and 10% year after year after year. Governor Daugaard’s approach, however, seems to be the “Anything But Education” agenda. And South Dakotans are losing out as a result.

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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SD Legislators Ask Governor Daugaard for More Information on Manpower contract

In an official letter to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, members of the South Dakota Legislature’s appropriations committees are asking for more information after disappointing results of a controversial employee recruitment plan are forcing Governor Daugaard to overhaul his original employee recruiting plan.

“Governor Daugaard dedicated $5 million to employee recruiter Manpower to fill 1000 open jobs within three years. One year later, they’ve filled 83 jobs that we know of,” says Sen. Billie Sutton (D-Burke), a member of the senate appropriations committee. “I hope Governor Daugaard’s administration will help us answer our questions about the program, so we can protect taxpayers and fill open jobs across South Dakota.”

In 2012, Governor Daugaard asked for a $5 million appropriation for employee recruiter Manpower to fill 1000 open jobs across South Dakota within three years. The terms of the contract provided a monthly $49,000 payment and additional payment for every job placed. Testimony from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development during the 2013 legislative session indicates only 83 jobs have been placed so far. Now, the state plans to change the employee recruiting plan according to an article titled “State tweaks recruiting program” in the Sioux Falls Business Journal.

With expenses mounting and potentially little to show for it, Rep. Susan Wismer (D-Britton) says taxpayers deserve to know more about the program and the Daugaard administration’s changes. “The Manpower appropriation came at a time our tech schools are raising tuition and K-12 schools are cutting Career and Tech Ed programs,” says Wismer. “We need to scrutinize every dollar we spend, so we’re protecting taxpayers and preparing South Dakotans for open jobs right now.”

Wismer and Sutton say Governor Daugaard’s office has helped answer questions about the Manpower program before, and in light of the recent changes to the employee recruiting plan, they expect Governor Daguaard to be forthcoming with all their questions again.

A copy of the letter sent to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development can be found attached. The text of the letter is below:

Commissioner Pat Costello
Governor’s Office of Economic Development
711 E. Wells Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501
Dear Commissioner Costello:

In light of recent changes to Governor Daugaard’s Manpower employee recruiting plan made public in the May 21st, 2013, Sioux Falls Business Journal article titled “State Tweaks Recruiting Plan,” we would appreciate very much your addressing some questions we have about the existing employee recruitment plan and the changes outlined in the story. We understand that it may take some time to gather this information, but we would appreciate your response as soon as possible.

What is the total cost of the program to date, counting state dollars only?

How many jobs have been placed through the program per month since the inception of the program?

Including the monthly fee paid to Manpower, what would be the total cost per job the state has spent on this program to date?

Could you list the locations, geographically and by occupation, of the placements to date?

What is the average wage of jobs placed?

What percent of the placements have been successful in remaining filled for the required time to earn 100% of the fee, and what is that period of time?

What employers have worked with Manpower to place employees through this program? What progress do you feel has been made with those employers in advancing their approach to hiring, e.g. using placement agencies, accepting the fees they charge, and furthering their understanding of the benefits placement agencies can offer? Do you feel any of those employers will continue to use placement agencies to fill positions without the benefit of this fee sharing program?

How much money was spent on defending the lawsuit by the placement agencies concerning the original Manpower contract?

Whose office paid for the legal defense?

Are taxpayers still making the $49,000 monthly payment to Manpower?

What are the state’s continuing commitments to Manpower?

Under the changes outlined in the article, what are the new terms of the contracts for Manpower and any new participating employee recruiting companies?

As members of the appropriations committee, with this information we hope to ease taxpayers’ minds that their taxes are being used appropriately in this new program. Governor Daugaard dedicated significant state resources towards the Manpower recruiting plan with the promise to place 1000 jobs in three years through Manpower. It appears that expectations have certainly not been met in that regard. We hope you can answer our questions, so we can work together to make sure taxpayers are protected and open jobs are being filled across South Dakota.

Thank you,

Senator Billie Sutton
Representative Susan Wismer

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