Chief of Staff Tim Bormann and Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Director David Natvig were fired Tuesday from their positions in the office.
“They are no longer employed by the Attorney General’s office,” Vargo confirmed to Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory.
…Vargo declined to provide a reason as to why the two were terminated.
“We are not commenting on personnel decisions” [Austin Goss, “Ravnsborg’s Appointees Ousted from Attorney General’s Office,” KSFY, 2022.06.28].
But elsewhere, Vargo makes his reason pretty clear:
Asked whether he plans to remove anyone else, Vargo said, “It is a last resort as far as I’m concerned.” He added, “I know most of them are dedicated professionals and I need to get out of their way” [Bob Mercer, “Vargo, as Interim AG, Fires Bormann and Natvig,” KELO-TV, 2022.06.28].
If you are a dedicated professional, Attorney General Vargo will keep you on and let you do your job. If you’re not a dedicated professional, who’s taking up space in Pierre only because you donated money to Jason Ravnsborg, pack your bags.
Natvig and Bormann were both maximum donors to Jason Ravnsborg’s 2018 campaign for Attorney General. Bormann worked for Ravnsborg’s 2018 AG campaign and his 2014 U.S. Senate bid. Ravnsborg appointed Natvig to run DCI, despite the fact that, unlike all recent DCI directors, Natvig had never worked as a law enforcement officer. Natvig’s tenure at DCI has raised concerns about staff turnover and declining efficiency. And Natvig appears to have lied to the House impeachment committee to cover his friend Ravnsborg’s abuse of office.
It’s harder to compare Bormann’s qualifications and performance as AG chief of staff because the AG never had a chief of staff until Ravnsborg decided he needed one.
Natvig was getting $125,228.53 a year to run DCI. Taxpayers were handing Bormann the exact same salary to hand Ravnsborg his papers. Vargo’s firings yesterday will thus save taxpayers an eighth of a million dollars this year. If Vargo’s elected successor follows Vargo’s lead, does without the unnecessary chief of staff, and simply boosts to DCI chief one of the two assistant DCI directors on whom Vargo is relying, this slimdown will save us a quarter million dollars a year, which could be used to hire four or five actual law enforcement officers to serve the public.