Gov. Pete Ricketts has hired the Director of the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services as Chief Executive Officer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Dannette Smith, who has been with Virginia Beach since 2013, will replace Courtney Phillips, who resigned as CEO to take a similar post in Texas.
The governor’s office says the appointment concludes a national search which began in September.
“Dannette is the customer-oriented, results-driven leader Nebraska needs for the Department of Health and Human Services,” Gov. Ricketts said in a written statement released by his office. “Her focus on measurable results and experience with strategic planning will build on the great work the agency has been doing to deliver a higher level of service. The DHHS team has been making great progress, and I look forward to working with Dannette as we continue to move the agency forward in the coming years.”According to the governor’s office, during Smith’s tenure at Virginia Beach, she led several initiatives including:
· Integrating Behavioral Health and Developmental Services with the Department of Social Services.
· Developing an integrated healthcare system for children entering the child welfare system.
· Focusing on data-driven results with the creation of a data dashboard that measures the distribution and processing of SNAP and Medicaid benefits.
· Collaborating with law enforcement to provide a first responder approach to Behavioral Health Services in the community.
“I want to thank Governor Ricketts for this opportunity to serve the people of Nebraska,” Smith said in a written statement. “I look forward to collaborating with the entire team to move the agency forward to fulfill our mission of helping people live better lives.”
Smith also has served as Director of the Seattle Department of Human Services, the Director of the Fulton County Department of Children and Family Services in Georgia, and the Division Director of Youth and Family Services for the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services in North Carolina.
Smith starts February 25th. Her salary will be $220,000.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has five divisions and is the largest department in state government.