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Pence Offers Little Explanation For FSSA Head's Ouster

Brandon Smith

Governor Mike Pence is offering little explanation about the pending departure of Family and Social Services Secretary Debra Minott. 

In a statement released Monday, Minott said she would be transitioning out of her role within a month or two and would work with Governor Pence to ensure that transition is orderly. 

In a separate statement, Pence simply thanked Minott for her service, while his office cited a desire to change direction at the agency as the reason for the move.  A day later, Pence was saying the same thing.

“She’s led FSSA with real integrity and real professionalism," Pence told reporters. "It’s just, as we look toward moving into more of an implementation phase, it’s my judgment as governor that moving to a different direction in leadership at FSSA would be appropriate.”

FSSA is currently developing a preschool pilot program.  And the state’s largest agency is also seeking federal approval for the governor’s healthcare expansion program, HIP 2.0.  Pence says Minott will continue to play a role in securing that approval until her successor takes over.

“I’m also very confident that, as we complete that waiver request to the federal government, that we’ll be able to move forward without disruption,” he says.

Pence says several people have expressed interest in taking over FSSA but that he’ll take his time in choosing a new leader for the agency.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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