"We are working on the how. We are not working on the when."

That's what North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer said on this episode of Plain Talk. She was speaking about her department's efforts to come up with a plan for re-opening North Dakota's economy.

Parts of it, anyway.


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Kommer praised Gov. Doug Burgum's "extraordinary wisdom in not going to the shelter-in-place order" despite demands from some. She said that will allow North Dakota to be a bit ahead of other areas as we look to get back to business.

The Commerce Department is soliciting input from business and industry leaders on how they can safely re-open so that plans can be open when Burgum decides to back off the restrictions he implemented in response to the pandemic.

Kommer also addressed the conclusion of an investigation into alleged criminal wrong-doing in her department over the solicitation and implementation of a new state logo. State Auditor Josh Gallion's office had referred audit findings to law enforcement officials for investigation, but that resulted in no criminal findings.

Kommer says she objects to the way the report was handled, saying it was "paralyzing" for her office. She said the result brought "a certain amount of relief" but "also a lot of frustration and maybe a touch of anger."

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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.