Archive for Saturday, December 9, 2006

SRS, commerce secretaries retiring

December 9, 2006

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— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is losing two department chiefs as she prepares to start her second term.

Gary Daniels, secretary of social and rehabilitation services, will retire Dec. 16, and Sebelius has named Don Jordan, the commissioner of juvenile justice, as his replacement.

Commerce Secretary Howard Fricke plans to retire at the beginning of the new year. Sebelius, who begins her second term on Jan. 8, hasn't started a search to replace Fricke or find someone to take Jordan's old job.

Sebelius announced their retirements during a Friday news conference and said she's not expecting any other departures from her 16-member Cabinet. She also said Lt. Gov.-elect Mark Parkinson won't lead a department but will handle special projects, such as developing energy policy.

"Two very important members of our team are retiring," Sebelius said. "Gary and Howard both were kind of on their way to retirement when I convinced them to make a little detour and join this effort."

Daniels, 63, took over SRS in November 2004, after having served as the director of the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center for the developmentally disabled. He has worked in social services for four decades.

His agency has a $1.49 billion budget and about 6,200 employees. It oversees five hospitals for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, administers social services benefits excluding coverage for the poor or elderly and manages programs for foster care, adoptions and child protective services.

His replacement, the 54-year-old Jordan, has served as juvenile justice commissioner since June 2005. His agency, which oversees both community programs and the state's four centers for young offenders, has a budget of $104 million and about 650 employees.

Jordan's new appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.

At the Department of Commerce, Fricke has overseen a $111 million budget and about 440 employees. The agency leads the state's job creation and retention efforts, as well as efforts to attract tourism and film companies.

Fricke, 70, joined Sebelius' team as secretary of administration when she took office in January 2003. Sebelius named him secretary of commerce in September 2004.

During her re-election campaign, there was speculation that Parkinson would lead a Cabinet agency, as some past lieutenant governors have done, including Parkinson's predecessor, Lt. Gov. John Moore.

Moore left his job as secretary of commerce, though, to work on special projects. Sebelius said Parkinson didn't want a Cabinet post and she believes it's tough for someone to hold down such a position and take on special projects.

"Energy is going to be an area that he's going to take a great leadership role in," Sebelius said.

Sebelius also said she also will ask the Senate to confirm Kathy Greenlee as secretary of aging. Greenlee has served as acting secretary since January.

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