PIERRE - South Dakota's next governor announced the nucleus of his new administration Monday morning.
Rather than route most decisions through a chief of staff as Gov. Mike Rounds has done the past eight years, Gov.-elect Dennis Daugaard said he will have six people in his senior management team.
"I will be a hands-on governor who will be deeply involved with all aspects of government," Daugaard said in a statement issued in conjunction with his morning news conference.
"This team-based leadership approach, which is common in the private sector, will allow me to employ top people to help me on my priorities, while working together with me to conduct the state's business," he said.
They will report directly to him and each will oversee a handful or more of Cabinet heads. Each will have at least one scheduled weekly meeting with the governor, and the management committee will meet at least once weekly as a whole with him.
Five of the six have been hired. They are:
Dusty Johnson. Currently chairman of the state Public Utilities Commission, he was elected Nov. 2 to a new six-year term. He will resign his PUC post to serve as chief of staff for the Daugaard administration.
Reporting to Johnson will be the central governor's office staff as well as the secretaries of game, fish and parks; tourism; agriculture; labor and regulation; environment and natural resources; corrections; military; public safety; and transportation.
Lt. Gov. Matt Michels. He is a former legislator who currently is chief legal counsel for Avera Health. He has been a registered nurse and was an attorney while in the U.S. Navy. In addition to the constitutional duties as lieutenant governor, Michels' portfolio will include state implementation of health-coverage reform.
The state director of tribal affairs, the commissioner of personnel and the secretary of veterans' affairs will report to Michels.
Deb Bowman. Currently secretary of social services in the Rounds administration, she will work with Michels on health care issues and be the Daugaard administration's chief lobbyist during the legislative session.
The secretaries of human services, social services and health will report to Bowman. She also will be responsible for initiatives involving First Lady Linda Daugaard.
Tony Venhuizen. Most recently campaign manager for Daugaard, who is his father-in-law, he is a lawyer and was the student member of the state Board of Regents, the panel that governs the state university system. Venhuizen will be director for policy and communications. Venhuizen is an Armour native.
Reporting to Venhuizen will be the secretary of education, the governor's press secretary and the commissioner of information and telecommunications. He also will serve as a liaison to the regents.
Jason Dilges. Currently the commission of finance and management in the Rounds administration, he will continue in that role under Daugaard and will serve as chief financial officer. The secretary of revenue and the commissioner of administration will report to Dilges. Dilges is a Mount Vernon native.
The sixth member of the governor's executive committee will be the secretary of economic development. That person hasn't been selected yet by Daugaard. The secretary will report directly to the governor.
Daugaard was in San Diego and Colorado Springs for the past week attending training and orientation meetings held by the Republican Governors Association and the National Governors Association. He has been lieutenant governor the past eight years.
Michels, Bowman, Johnson and Venhuizen are members of Daugaard's transition team.
Dilges is helping assemble Rounds' final set of budget recommendations to be delivered to the Legislature on Dec. 7. He then will work with Daugaard in putting together the new governor's budget proposals.
Johnson's resignation from the PUC will be delayed until at least Jan. 8 when Daugaard takes the oath of office as governor, so that Daugaard can then appoint Johnson's PUC replacement. Daugaard is expected to announce his choice for Johnson's replacement possibly as soon as Tuesday (Nov. 23).
Other key personnel who have been hired for governor's office duties by Daugaard include:
Jason Glodt, who was political director for Daugaard's campaign. He will return to his previous role as a policy advisor and will report to Johnson. Glodt is a Wessington Springs native.
Nathan Sanderson, who's been a member of the Agriculture Department central staff, will be a policy advisor. Kim Olson, who's been deputy secretary of tourism and state development, also will be a policy advisor and will oversee the clerical staff. Sanderson and Olson will report to Johnson.
Jim Seward, a Belle Fourche lawyer and former Butte County state's attorney, will join the governor's staff as general counsel. Staying aboard from the Rounds administration will be senior aide Jim Soyer and press secretary Joe Kafka. Those three will report to Venhuizen.
Daugaard also plans to announce later this week the Cabinet members who have agreed to accept his invitations to stay in their current jobs or accept other key posts in his administration. He is working on filling about half of the Cabinet with new personnel.