PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Legislature’s Executive Board decided Thursday to ask Reed Holwegner to return to South Dakota and work as director for the Legislative Research Council.
The vote was 8-7.
Holwegner currently holds the position of principal policy analyst for the Kansas Legislative Research Department.
He previously was chief fiscal analyst for the South Dakota LRC from January 2003 through August 2006.
Before that, he worked three years as a fiscal analyst for the Kansas Legislature. He has bachelor and master degrees from the University of South Dakota and was assistant to the Vermillion city manager.
The Executive Board went into closed session Thursday to discuss four candidates but focused on Holwegner and Sue Cichos. She is deputy director for the LRC.
The board decided Cichos will serve as interim director after Jason Hancock finishes his duties Friday. Hancock, who served six years as LRC director, has accepted the post of Idaho deputy secretary of state in Boise.
“He’s done a phenomenal job,” Representative Spencer Gosch, a Glenham Republican, said about Hancock.
“I’m sad to see him go,” Senate Democratic leader Troy Heinert of Mission said.
Senator Brock Greenfield cast the deciding vote in favor of Holwegner.
“We have good candidates, no question about it,” said Greenfield, a Republican from Clark. He chairs the Executive Board. “I recognize the work Sue has done and really do respect her.”
He added, “Miss Cichos offers a different perspective and brings a lot to the table.”
Senator Jim White made the motion to offer the job to Holwegner.
White, a Republican from Huron, said Holwegner would bring “fresh ideas and a willingness to develop a team effort in the leadership of our LRC going forward.
“That was my basis,” White said.
Representative Steven Haugaard, a Sioux Falls Republican, and the board’s co-chairman said he respected Holwegner but wanted to maintain the continuity of the current staff.
After the 8-7 decision, Representative John Mills called for a unanimous vote of support for Holwegner.
“We want to be united behind our new leader,” the Volga Republican said.
Gosch agreed: “My vote was not in regards to being against the individual, but rather for another.”
The board decided Holwegner’s salary would be open to negotiation.
Said Hancock, “It’s been quite a ride.” He praised the LRC staff. “It just seems every year it’s gotten better and better.”