Arkansas Human Services head Cindy Gillespie stepping down

Department of Human Services Secretary Cindy Gillespie speaks in a video message on April 3, 2020. (Department of Human Services)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The head of the Arkansas Department of Human Services is stepping down next month after more than six years of running the agency, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday.

Hutchinson announced the resignation of Secretary Cindy Gillespie, who he named to run the department in 2016. Gillespie said in a statement that she would depart in October, and Hutchinson’s office said he would announce her successor at an unspecified later date.

“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,” Gillespie said in a statement.

Hutchinson said Gillespie “has given the state of Arkansas her experience, management capabilities, and the right ideas that have led us in a great direction.”

Gillespie oversaw the department during the state’s implementation of a work requirement for some on its expanded Medicaid program. A federal judge blocked that requirement, and President Joe Biden’s administration later rolled back the work requirements in Arkansas and other states.

Before heading DHS, Gillespie worked as an adviser for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and served as an executive for the nonprofit responsible for hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.