PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Two lawyers are leaving the South Dakota Legislative Research Council for jobs in the state’s Unified Judicial System.

Justin Goetz will be the state court system’s director of policy and legal services. Brigid Hoffman will fill a reorganized new position of administrative staff attorney for the South Dakota Supreme Court.

The Legislature’s Executive Board hired Goetz as code counsel on August 31, 2020. He was promoted last June to chief research and legal analyst, succeeding David Ortbahn, who retired after 42 years in state government.

John McCullough then was hired last July to replace Goetz as code counsel. McCullough now will replace Goetz again as chief research and legal analyst

The goal is to fill the code council vacancy by the end of May, LRC director Reed Holwegner told the Legislature’s Executive Board on Monday.

Hoffman was hired as an LRC staff attorney in fall 2020.

Suzanne Starr, the person who previously held the UJS job that Goetz will take, was paid $101,855.59. Goetz’s current salary at LRC is $116,875.00. Hoffman’s LRC salary is $72,598.80.

Goetz had replaced Wenzel Cummings as code counsel. Cummings held the post approximately one year and decided he needed to work in a different atmosphere.

Cummings was hired as code counsel June 10, 2019. Cummings succeeded Doug Decker, who retired June 8, 2019. Decker was hired as code counsel in 1998 and served 36 years in state government.

Representative Mike Derby, R-Rapid City, asked whether exit interviews are done. Holwegner said they are, including by him. Derby: “At what point would we as a board get to look at those?” Holwegner said there will need to be further discussion with the board.

The board’s co-chair, Senator Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, said that question could be put on the board’s next meeting agenda for April 25. Derby said he worked closely with both Hoffman and Goetz and that they did “an outstanding job.”

Schoenbeck said he’s known Goetz going back to when Goetz was a legislative page. “Sad loss,” Schoenbeck said.