Plain Talk: North Dakota deserves better than this grandstanding, exaggerating auditor


MINOT, N.D. — “She’s right.”

That’s what Chris Jones, the director of North Dakota’s Department of Human Services, had to say on this episode of Plain Talk about many of the complaints of one of our previous guests. Specifically Robin Nelson, the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Red River Valley, who said that child care operations like her are “drowning” thanks to difficulties with hiring and red tape.

“I don’t disagree that they’re drowning,” Jones said in an interview that addressed everything from delays in the background check process to a new web portal for licensing that hasn’t worked as well as it could have.

Also on this episode, co-host Ben Hanson and I discuss state Auditor Josh Gallion’s bomb-throwing toward the legislature , accusing them of attacking his office, and of being corrupt, after advancing a bill that would limit what his office can charge for audits and require that someone holding his office be a certified public accounting, something Gallion is not.

Gallion’s words are unbecoming for someone in his position, we concluded, and even counterproductive to the goal of holding state government accountable. An auditor should be level-headed and trustworthy. Gallion’s audits, and the press campaigns he orchestrates around them, have become so exaggerated, so theatrical, that a reasonable observer must take them with a grain of salt.

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