Officials of the South Dakota Retirement System, members of the Legislature and Gov. Mike Rounds and/or his designees will soon meet to decide how to replace Al A. Asher, the administrator of the $4.5 billion pension fund who resigned under pressure earlier this month. The officials will also address how to deal with the system's funding status, which has slipped to 97%, on an actuarial basis.
Gov. Rounds said at a press briefing that he encouraged Mr. Asher to step down because of Mr. Asher's poor relations with top state officials and the Legislature, a spokesman for the governor confirmed. Mr. Asher, who said he would leave no later than July 1, has been the top manager of the pension system since it was formed 33 years ago.
Elmer Brinkman, chairman of the system's board, said he had supported the request for Mr. Asher to resign after the governor and his staff said they would not support requests for additional employees. Mr. Brinkman said he had not been aware of problems between Mr. Asher and the governor before then. Budget requests to beef up staff have been turned down for the past four years "without any cogent reason" given, he added.