With controversy swirling about legislators’ conflicts of interest, Senator Randy Deibert (R-31/Spearfish) decided to get out while the getting was good. No, he’s not leaving the Legislature; instead, last month, he tendered his resignation from the Lawrence County Commission.
Deibert doesn’t mention the conflict-of-interest question; he says he planned to resign all along but needed nearly a whole year to finish the county business he wanted to do:
Commissioner Randy Deibert resigned from the Lawrence County Commission Tuesday, effective immediately, in order to focus on his District 31 Senate responsibilities.
“Once I was elected to Senate, I always knew I would resign. I just wanted to resign at a time that was appropriate, and that is now because I’m no longer involved in all the appointed positions at the county and for the county, nationally and regionally,” Deibert, R-Spearfish, said. “I resigned because I was done with all the obligations” [Jaci Conrad Pearson, “Deibert Resigns from Lawrence Co. Commission to Focus on Legislative Duties,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2023.10.27].
On a 3–2 vote, the commission immediately picked planning and zoning chairman Rick Tysdal to serve the remaining year and couple months of Deibert’s term. According to the October 24 minutes, the commission rejected commissioner and former legislator Bob Ewing’s attempt to hand government power to Trumpist gasbag and former CIA operative Ron Moeller, who challenged Deibert in the 2022 District 31 Senate primary:
Commissioner Flanagan nominated Richard “Rick” Tysdal. Commissioner Sleep nominated Mike Whalen. Commissioner Ewing nominated Ron Moeller.
Moved-Seconded (Flanagan-Jennings) to cease nominations. Motion Carried.
Commissioner Sleep stated he felt Rick Tysdal would be better served as a City Councilman and felt there was already enough representation from the Spearfish area.
Commissioner Flanagan stated that Rick Tysdal is a lifelong resident of the area and raised his family here and has been on the Planning & Zoning board since 2004.
Commissioner Ewing stated that this puts him in a tough position as he knows each nominee personally.
Moved-Seconded (Flanagan-Ewing) to appoint Rick Tysdal to fill out the remainder of the term created by the resignation of Commissioner Deibert. Aye-Flanagan, McGruder and Ewing. Nay- Sleep and Jennings. Motion Carried [Lawrence County Commission, minutes, 2023.10.24, p. 7].
Deibert plans to continue volunteering for Lawrence County on the county’s natural resource committee.