Noem taps diocese chancellor as new social services leader

December 31, 2022 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem has appointed a Catholic administrator as the state’s next social services secretary.

Noem announced Friday that she has picked Diocese of Sioux Falls Chancellor Matt Althoff to repace outgoing Social Services Secretary Laurie Gill, the Argus Leader reported. Gill plans to retire on Jan. 8. She has served as secretary since 2019.

Althoff has worked as the diocese’s chancellor for the past 13 years. He helped develop the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, which helps homeless people in the Sioux Falls area.

Althoff told the Yankton Press & Dakotan in a 2017 interview that he also worked on a $16.2 million restoration project at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Sioux Falls.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Notre Dame and a master’s degree in education from the University of Portland. He ran cross country for Notre Dame and told the Press & Dakotan in the 2017 interview that he still ran still ran every day at 4:45 a.m.

“I don’t run anymore for distance,” he said then. “I run for time with God.”

He will begin his sting as social services secretary on Jan. 23.