2021: A Year of Fond Farewells and New “Opportunities”

By: Dave Pfeifle, SDPAA Executive Director

On December 31, the South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance (SDPAA) Board of Directors witnessed the retirement of one of its most senior members: Jim Borszich, who had served the SDPAA with distinction for almost twenty years. His leadership of the SDPAA’s Finance Committee propelled the SDPAA from its more humble beginnings into a nationally-recognized public entity pool with a solid financial footing that will benefit Members and the citizens they serve. Jim also honorably served the City of Huron for twenty-three years in several capacities including City Commissioner, Mayor, then most recently as the President/CEO of the Greater Huron Development Corporation. Jim is always quick to share his vast wisdom which came from the lessons he learned by engaging in this contact sport we call public service. We will miss his leadership at the SDPAA. Thank you, Jim!

The SDPAA’s solid financial footing will benefit Members considerably during these challenging times in the public sector. The SDPAA Board has authorized the use of up to $1.5 million of Net Position in the SDPAA’s 2022 budget to soften the national increase in reinsurance premiums for Members and to address cyber liability concerns. The Board also contemplates using up to an additional $1.5 million in the SDPAA budgets for 2023 and 2024, or $900,000 and $600,000 respectively, to continue to phase in the uncontrollable increases in national reinsurance premiums. The savings will benefit local communities by freeing up those dollars for other community projects and services.

This past year local public servants engaged in the contact sport of public service while protecting their communities against increasing cyberattacks, facing the continuing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing medical marijuana, and redistricting for local elections, among many others. Any one of these “opportunities” could have presented an almost insurmountable task for any local government. Fortunately, 85% of the local governments in South Dakota are Members of the SDPAA who had additional resources from the SDPAA to address each of these opportunities. Those resources included free cybersecurity assessments from Dakota State University, model ordinances and policies, and expert legal advice through the Member Hotlines for Employment Practices, Government Practices, and Elections. The SDPAA also sponsored expert speakers at various conferences on cyber risks, marijuana, and redistricting, among many other topics. For their “routine” opportunities Members enjoyed the assistance of model policies, loss control surveys, various in-person and virtual training on hundreds of topics, and the hotlines.

The SDPAA strives to continue to offer the services and resources our Members need when they need them. The SDPAA’s Board of Directors and the internal team collectively possess over four centuries of public service experience in South Dakota so we can appreciate the coverages and tools your public entity may require to effectively address any of the “opportunities” on your plate.

If your public entity is not a Member of the SDPAA, please contact the SDPAA at 800-658-3633 option 2 or by email at sdpaa@sdmunicipalleague.org to inquire about all the services available to SDPAA Members.