Pirner is stepping down as South Dakota’s DENR head

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Steve Pirner told staff in an email Friday morning he is retiring as Cabinet secretary for the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

He has held the post since 2000 when then-Gov. Bill Janklow appointed him to succeed Nettie Myers.

Earlier Friday, Pirner submitted his resignation letter to Gov. Kristi Noem, according to his email to staff.

The email began: “As you all know, DENR has been in a rebuilding mode for more than a year now. For example, we have many new employees, we have invested in new technology, and we have invested in new computers and Windows 10 as we speak. It is time for that rebuilding to extend to the Secretary as well.”

His note continued, “I have decided that 44 years of public service is probably enough. Some would say more than enough. It is time for new ideas to lead the next generation of DENR employees. This morning I submitted the attached letter across the street.

“It is each and every one of you who have made DENR the best department in state government, so THANK YOU for all you do. My parting words of advice are to keep getting the job done, keep on providing the best customer service you possibly can, and keep ‘Having Fun!‘”

He concluded: “Thank you all again.”

A 2004 profile said Pirner, who grew up in Rapid City, received bachelor and master degrees from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Pirner said in the letter to Herb Jones and Joshua Shields, the governor’s chief of staff and chief of communications, that his last day on the job will be Aug. 2.

His letter to Jones and Shields referred to a meeting they had Thursday and concluded: “Most citizens have no idea what a great bargain they get from state employees in DENR in return for their tax dollar. It truly is phenomenal.”

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