North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger has taken a leave of absence since I reported that he had been struggling with alcohol addiction, but since being appointed he’s actually had a pretty good attendance record at committee meetings.
One of the things Rauschenberger told me when he admitted to struggling with alcohol was that he’d been missing a lot of work. Given that Rauschenberger is currently running for a term of his own as Tax Commissioner (he was appointed by Governor Jack Dalrymple to finish off previous Commissioner Cory Fong’s term), and that he plains to continue his campaign after returning from treatment, how much work he’s been missing is a valid question.
Unfortunately, it’s not an easy one to answer for statewide office holders. Our elected leaders don’t have to punch a clock. They don’t have to keep a public calendar. There’s no really good way of tracking, through objective and verifiable means, how they spend their time.
But, as part of Rauschenberger’s duties as Tax Commissioner, he does sit on several committees and those committee meetings are public record. So I went through the minutes of the committees Rauschenberger sits on.
Those committees have had a total of 14 meetings since Rauschenberger was appointed on November 8th, and he’s missed a total of five of them.
Here are the committees Rauschenberger sits on:
- State Information Technology Advisory Committee
- State Board of Equalization
- Legacy Budget & Stabilization Committee
- Governor’s Property Tax Reform Task Force
Here are the dates Rauschenberger missed:
- December 9th, 2013 – State Information Technology Advisory Committee
- June 16th, 2014 – Legacy Budget & Stabilization Committee
- August 2nd, 2014 – State Board of Equalization
- August 7th, 2014 – Property Tax Task Force
- August 12th, 2014 – State Board of Equalization
I should note that there was an additional meeting of the Property Tax Tax Force on August 7th for which the minutes are not yet complete. Jeff Zent, spokesman for Governor Jack Dalrymple, is finding out for me whether or not Rauschenberger was at that meeting.
Missing 5 meetings out of 14 is about a 68 percent attendance rate. Not bad, and probably in line with the other elected officials who sit on these committees.
Obviously, this doesn’t provide a full picture how fully Rauschenberger has been carrying out the duties of his office, but it’s probably the best picture we’re going to get.