SALT LAKE CITY - Governor Gary R. Herbert has appointed Palmer DePaulis to head the Utah Department of Human Services upon the planned departure of Lisa-Michele Church, who is returning to work in the private sector.
"Lisa-Michele epitomizes good public service," Governor Herbert said as he announced the personnel change at a Thursday Cabinet meeting. "She has led Human Services through some incredibly challenging times and has done a wonderful job under difficult circumstances. We're sorry to see her go."
DePaulis is a former Salt Lake City Mayor and current Executive Director of the Utah Department of Community and Culture. Governor Herbert's selection of DePaulis is based on his familiarity with local and state government, as well as a dedicated history of community involvement.
"Those who know Palmer know him to be a skilled leader and a compassionate individual, which makes him uniquely suited to tackle the tough issues that Human Services staff see on a daily basis," the Governor said. "I'm confident in his ability to take the leadership that Lisa-Michele has shown during her tenure at the agency and continue to improve upon her efforts."
Former Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. appointed Church to lead the 4,350-employee Department in January 2005. She will return to private law practice on July 1.
"It's been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Utah for these past five years," Church said. "Every day, I came to work motivated to help improve the lives of some of Utah's most vulnerable citizens. The Human Services staff members are the unsung heroes in this agency, and I know their dedicated work will continue."
The Department of Human Services includes the Divisions of Aging and Adult Services, Child and Family Services, Juvenile Justice Services, Professional Licensing, Substance Abuse and
Mental Health, People with Disabilities and the Office of Recovery Services.
DePaulis has served as Executive Director at the Department of Community and Culture since his appointment by Governor Huntsman in June 2006. New leadership at the agency will be announced at a later date.
"Leading an agency whose mission it is to preserve and promote Utah's community and cultural atmosphere has been a very rewarding assignment," DePaulis said. "But I appreciate Governor Herbert's confidence in me and look forward to moving on to this next challenge at the Department of Human Services."
The Governor's appointment is subject to approval by the Utah Senate.