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Wos Steps Down As DHHS Secretary; Brajer Takes Over

Rick Brajer
Dave DeWitt

Governor Pat McCrory announced Wednesday AldonaWos is resigning from her position as the secretary of the state's Department of Health and Human Services.

McCrory spoke through tears during the announcement at the Executive Mansion, calling Wos "the best secretary of Health and Human Services the state has ever had."  McCrory added that Wos brought "incredible passion" to the job.

Wos told the Governor about a month ago that it was "time for her to go home." Her last day on the job is August 14.

McCroryappointed Wos in 2013. Her time as secretary of the state's largest agency has been marred by criticism over hiring decisions, and her managing of two problematic software systems that handled Medicaid claims and public benefits.

Wos said she would not change one thing about how she did the job.

"The challenges were many and my goal was to take them and figure out how to fix them," she said.

Some of Wos's strongest critics were Republican lawmakers.

"We as a General Assembly have at times had different ideas and different directions and those have conflicted," said Sen. Ralph Hise. "But she’s someone who has always had the interests of the state of North Carolina, and the citizens we serve, at heart."

McCrory named Rick Brajer, a former biotech executive, as the new chief of DHHS. Brajer has no government experience.

"The reality is there are many more stakeholders that you need to engage with," Brajer said in contrasting the private and public sectors. "The good news is that I really enjoy building relationships, so I look forward to the challenge."

Brajer's challenges will include dealing with a General Assembly looking to make major reforms to Medicaid and in the middle of budget negotiations. 

Wos's resignation comes a week after Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata announced he would be stepping down.

A video of Wednesday's press conference can be found here through WRAL.

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Feature News Editor. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.
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