PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The longtime director of South Dakota's Legislative Research Council has stepped down.

James Fry resigned on Wednesday, minutes before the presentation of a report critical of his office. The 65-year-old Fry says he was preparing for retirement anyway, and resigned because he disagreed with the plan Republican leaders have for the office.

Fry has led the Legislature's nonpartisan staff since 2000. The report from the National Conference of State Legislatures says there is poor trust and communication between state lawmakers and the Research Council.

Democratic members of the Legislature's Executive Board on Wednesday accused Republican leaders of pushing Fry out. Republican Sen. Ryan Maher says the council under Fry was not responsive to the needs of current lawmakers.

Chief fiscal analyst Fred Schoenfeld has been named the council's interim director.

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