In 3 years, Gov. Kristi Noem has had 5 people in the chief of staff position

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is on her fifth chief of staff since taking office in 2019.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is on her fifth chief of staff since taking office in 2019.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is currently on her fifth chief of staff since she took office in 2019. Her office previously described each of the departures from the office as amicable, according to the Associated Press.

Here's what to know about what the governor's chief of staff does, who has held the office and why they left.

What does the governor's chief of staff do?

This appointment is arguably the most important a governor will make, according to the National Governors Association. In general, a governor's chief of staff is the lead staff member of an administration and is responsible for implementing the governor's agenda.

The chief of staff manages the governor's calendar and develops the governor's cabinet and staff into a team. This person may also serve as a crisis manager, headhunter and personal confidant to the governor.

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Herb Jones, January 2019-October 2019

Noem's first chief of staff, Herb Jones, held the position for nine months. Jones served on Noem's gubernatorial campaign and participated on the transition team after her election.

"It takes a special set of skills to help get a governor's office up and running, and I will be forever grateful to Herb for putting in the hours to help get our office going," Noem said in a statement when Jones' departure was announced.

"I won't miss the four-hour commute from my house in Yankton, but I will miss all of the great people on the governor's team. It was always my intention to get things set up and then get back to being a grandpa," Jones said, also in a statement.

Joshua Shields, October 2019-January 2020

Noem announced Oct. 1, 2019, that Joshua Shields would replace Jones as her chief of staff.

Shields started with Noem during her first congressional campaign in 2010, when he served as her campaign manager. Following Noem's victory, Shields stayed on her staff for several years before leaving for the private sector. He went on to manage Sen. John Thune's 2016 campaign before rejoining Noem.

Shields served in the chief of staff position for just a few months, however.

“I am thankful for the opportunity the Governor provided me to help make a difference on behalf of the citizens of our great state,” Shields said at the time of his departure.

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Tony Venhuizen: March 2020-April 2021

Tony Venhuizen served as South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's chief of staff from March 2020-April 2021.
Tony Venhuizen served as South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's chief of staff from March 2020-April 2021.

Tony Venhuizen joined Noem's administration as her chief of staff in March 2020, after working with the governor's office on a temporary basis for several months. He had previously been a senior adviser to Noem before leaving to work at a Sioux Falls law firm in June 2019.

The governor's longest-serving chief of staff, Venhuizen held the position of chief of staff during the Noem administration for just over a year. The governor's office announced April 6, 2021, that Venhuizen had been appointed to the South Dakota Board of Regents.

"I always intended for my return to the governor's office to be for the short-term, and I am particularly honored that Gov. Noem has asked me to return to the Board of Regents," Venhuizen said at the time.

Venhuizen also worked in the administration of Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who is his father-in-law, including more than four years as Daugaard's chief of staff.

On Feb. 28, 2022, Venhuizen announced his candidacy for the state Legislature, vying for one of two District 13 seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs this year.

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Aaron Scheibe: May 2021-November 2021

Aaron Scheibe departed abruptly from Gov. Kristi Noem's cabinet in November 2021. He had been her chief of staff since May 2021.
Aaron Scheibe departed abruptly from Gov. Kristi Noem's cabinet in November 2021. He had been her chief of staff since May 2021.

Aaron Scheibe, a former economic advisor to Noem, was hired just two days after Noem appointed previous chief of staff Venhuizen to the South Dakota Board of Regents.

“I am honored the governor has asked me to rejoin her administration at this crucial time,” Scheibe said when his hiring was announced.

Scheibe departed abruptly from the governor's cabinet in November. Scheibe, who was in the position since May, was to remain a legislative consultant to Noem, but has since left state government entirely, according to state employee records.

The governor's office provided no details as to what led to his departure.

He had previously served in the Noem administration in 2019.

January 2022: Mark Miller is currently interim chief of staff

Mark Miller was named Gov. Kristi Noem's acting chief of staff in November 2021.
Mark Miller was named Gov. Kristi Noem's acting chief of staff in November 2021.

Mark Miller, a top legal advisor and general counsel to the governor, was named the governor's acting chief of staff in November. He is instrumental in Noem's efforts to carry out her administration's agenda during this year's Legislative session.

Miller is a New Jersey native who came to South Dakota from Florida. In 2021, he ushered to passage a series of anti-abortion bills.

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is on her 5th chief of staff since 2019