I worry that the Department of Social Services may be about to lose a really good lawyer.
Last May, I reported that the Department of Social Services had hired attorney Jeremy Lippert. My Googling indicated that there is a Jeremy Lippert from Washington D.C. who happens to have married one fellow Beltway politico Maggie Seidel, which happened to be the name of Governor Kristi Noem’s then recently hired spin-doctress.
Lippert’s starting salary at pay grade “Attorney II” was $80K in Fiscal Year 2020. On July 1, state employees got a 2% raise, so one would expect Lippert’s pay to rise to $81.6K; however, the Attorney II pay grade at DSS is currently rated at $74,989.02 to $80,409.37.
So Lippert was already making more than typical Attorneys II at DSS. But his lawyering must have really distinguished him from the local talent. The DSS staff and program directory lists Lippert as the director of the Division of Legal Services, meaning he’s in charge of all public recored requests:
And Open.sd.gov says Lippert has been promoted to Attorney IV, and his pay has jumped 20.5 percentage points above the standard 2.0% raise, to $98,000 a year:
$98K is the only pay rate listed for the Attorney IV pay grade at DSS; that’s also the lowest salary for that pay grade. Attorneys IV in Revenue, Transportation, and the Attorney General’s office are all making an extra digit, from $101,572.42 to $111,548.53.
But wowza: to get a 20% raise and a promotion in one’s first year on the job indicates Lippert must have some real skills. If Mr. Lippert really is Mr. Seidel, and if Mrs. Seidel’s new “incredible opportunity” takes both her and DSS’s director of legal services away from Pierre, it will be a darn sham to lose such high-powered, cash-worthy lawyering from state government.