From Governor Hutchinson:
Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced that Cindy Gillespie will resign as Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.“Cindy Gillespie has given the state of Arkansas her experience, management capabilities, and the right ideas that have led us in a great direction,” Governor Hutchinson said. “She is a great friend, and she is truly passionate about making a difference in the lives of Arkansans every day.”Secretary Gillespie issued this response reflecting on her time in public service for the State of Arkansas.“In 2016, when Governor Hutchinson offered me the role leading the Arkansas Department of Human Services, I could not have imagined all that would happen in the coming years, nor did I realize how quickly Arkansas would become my home and the employees at DHS become my family. The last six years have been the most challenging and rewarding of my career and I am extraordinarily proud of all the incredible DHS team has accomplished over these years. “We care, we act, we change lives” is more than a motto at DHS – it’s truly the mission my co-workers live each day as they go to work in our facilities, our offices, and in the homes of families and individuals in need.The continuing focus Governor and First Lady Hutchinson have had on the safety, health, and future of children has guided so much of my work here, and I have benefitted from the Governor’s steadfast support, leadership, and the model of servant leadership he set. It has been an honor to be part of his Cabinet.I am also grateful to the members of the Arkansas General Assembly for their guidance and support over the years. Many of them spent countless hours working with me on policy, legislation, and issues, and I have appreciated their dedication to the constituents they serve and to ensuring Arkansans thrive.Although it is bittersweet to leave, I appreciate the Governor understanding that family must always come first, so I will need to depart in October.”Before joining DHS in 2016, Gillespie served as a Principal in the Washington D.C. office of Dentons’ Public Policy and Regulation practice and a leader of the firm’s Health Policy and Health Insurance Exchange Teams. Earlier, Gillespie served as a senior advisor to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, where she led the Commonwealth of Massachusetts interactions with the federal government and oversaw the development and implementation of the Administration’s executive branch initiatives, including playing a leading role in the development of Massachusetts health reforms.Prior to her government service in Massachusetts, Ms. Gillespie served as a senior executive for the not-for-profit Salt Lake Olympic Committee, responsible for hosting the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games, and as a director at the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, the non-profit hosting the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. She was recognized both nationally and internationally for her leadership in developing a unique public-private partnership between federal, state, and local government and the organizing committees for staging the Games in the U.S. She is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene College in Nashville, TN, and has a master’s degree from Auburn University in Alabama. She is a native of Columbus, Georgia.Governor Hutchinson will announce a successor to Secretary Gillespie at a later date.Secretary Gillespie’s last day in the DHS office will be October 7, 2022.
Others can comment on the successes and failures of DHS during the Hutchinson/Gillespie years. They haven’t yet solved handling disabled people in need of home care or treatment of youthful offenders with difficult treatment issues. And the governor has resisted some federal aid to the population DHS ends up serving. But administrations are to be changing and we may look back fondly on the Gillespie years if a Trumpster ascends to leadership.
As conduit for billions in federal Medicaid money, the Department has huge responsibilities and is guaranteed to face periodic difficulties from the at-risk population it serves. Tough job.