North Dakota's land department director departing

AP News
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Posted: Nov 23, 2009 1:54 PM

The administrator of the North Dakota Land Department is leaving.

Gary Preszler has been the agency's commissioner since 2001. Before that, Preszler was North Dakota's top banking regulator for more than 15 years.

In a letter, Preszler says he wants to retire by Feb. 15. He says he'll serve until April 30 at the latest.

The Land Department manages state land holdings. It leases pasture land to ranchers, and holds regular auctions for the rights to drill for oil on state property. It oversees a trust fund that benefits North Dakota's public schools.

The Land Department distributes grants to local governments to compensate for the impact of oil and gas development. It is also a repository for dormant bank accounts and other unclaimed property.

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The state Board of University and School Lands will choose Preszler's successor. Gov. John Hoeven is chairman of the board.

Its other members are state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, state school superintendent Wayne Sanstead and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.