State Human Services chief Mike Smith to retire

Human Services Secretary Mike Smith during a Zoom call in 2020. Smith is retiring at the end of 2021.

Secretary of Human Services Mike Smith is set to retire at the end of the year, after his second stint leading the state’s largest agency.

In announcing the retirement on Monday, Gov. Phil Scott said, “When I asked Mike to come back to his old job in late 2019, it’s fair to say nobody expected what came next. Just months into his return to state government, we were hit by a once-in-a-century crisis that demanded the very best of us all. Vermonters are very fortunate that Mike agreed to come back, because without him, we’d be in a much different place.

“Mike helped lead our world-renowned vaccination rollout, worked tirelessly with our health care providers to keep the system working, helped build our testing capacity and so much more. This is all on top of his day job, leading the largest agency of state government. Most importantly for me, Mike has brought wisdom, invaluable counsel, and a great sense of humor to the job. I wish him and his wife Mary nothing but the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

Smith, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and state House representative, expressed his gratitude to Gov. Scott for allowing him to head Human Services. “The pandemic has kept me here longer than I anticipated but leaving will still be difficult. There will never be a good time to leave. When I told the governor of my intention to retire this summer, I thought we would be well on our way toward the endemic phase of this public health crisis. The delta variant has made our jobs a bit more difficult, but nonetheless, we have testing and vaccination programs that are the envy of the rest of the country and we have protected many Vermonters from the more serious outcomes of this virus.”

In addition to its role in the pandemic response, the Agency of Human Services oversees six state departments, 12 district offices, and a network of community partners and providers. It is responsible for the implementation and delivery of all human service programs within the state.

 Smith also served as deputy state treasurer, secretary of the Agency of Administration and secretary of the Agency of Human Services under Gov. Jim Douglas.

Deputy Human Services Secretary Jenney Samuelson will serve as interim secretary following Smith’s departure.

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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