DHS Director John Selig leaving department at end of year | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 8, 2015

DHS Director John Selig leaving department at end of year

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 10:37 AM

click to enlarge JOHN SELIG: DHS director to leave job at end of year. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • BRIAN CHILSON
  • JOHN SELIG: DHS director to leave job at end of year.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services
announced this morning that DHS director John Selig is leaving his position at the end of the year.

Selig's departure is huge news for the sprawling agency, which handles everything from Medicaid to child welfare to SNAP benefits. He's been in the top DHS job for a decade.

Originally appointed by Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, Selig also served for eight years under Democrat Mike Beebe, during which time he oversaw the implementation of the private option, Arkansas's expansion of Medicaid.

DHS has come under fire from multiple directions this past year, most recently from legislators unhappy with a variety of bungled or underperforming technology contracts.

Here's the release from DHS:

Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Director John Selig told employees Thursday that he plans to leave his position at the end of the year.

Selig, 55, began serving as director in 2005 under then Governor Mike Huckabee. He is the longest serving director at DHS and has worked for Arkansas state government for 27 years. All but two of those years have been with DHS.

“I have loved working at DHS because I truly feel it makes a real and positive difference in the lives of so many Arkansans,” Selig said. “It’s hard to leave, but I feel like the time is right. DHS may see some big changes next year, and I think that would be a good time for new leadership.”

Selig’s previous positions include serving as the State’s Director of Behavioral Health Services and Director of In-Home Health Services at the Arkansas Department of Health.

He is a graduate of Stanford University and received a Master’s in Public Administration from Princeton University. Prior to joining state government, John was on the staff of U.S. Senator David Pryor and served two years in the Peace Corps as a teacher in West Africa.

Sources in the governor's office tell the Times that the governor wanted Selig to stay on, and that his departure was entirely Selig's decision. Here is the official statement from the governor: 

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement regarding the announcement by the Department of Human Services director, John Selig, that he would resign his post effective January 1, 2016:

“Yesterday, Director Selig informed me that he wished to leave government service in order to spend some time in the private sector. I asked if he would be willing to stay on through the end of the year. I am grateful that John agreed to help us through January 1, 2016. John has given so much to the state of Arkansas through 25 years of service. I am personally appreciative of his leadership, friendship and wise counsel during a time of great change in the healthcare industry and during the first year of my administration."

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