AR Briefly

Arkansas DHS chief of staff will replace outgoing Human Services secretary

By: - September 22, 2022 3:46 pm

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on Thursday the appointment of Mark White as the next head of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

White, the agency’s current chief of staff and chief legislative and intergovernmental affairs officer, will replace Human Services Secretary Cindy Gillespie, who announced last week that she would resign next month.

“I have the utmost confidence in Mark to lead the Department of Humans Services,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “His breadth of experience, working relationship with the legislature, and his close working relationship with transfer work within DHS makes him the perfect fit to lead a department that provides critical services to children, senior citizens, and provides health care needs to the most vulnerable Arkansans.”

Mark White (Arkansas Department of Human Services)

White has worked at DHS since 2013 in a variety of agency divisions, including the office of chief counsel. He also served on Hutchinson’s advisory board that helped establish the framework for a massive reorganization of state government in 2019.

White’s term will begin Oct. 8, and his salary will be $201,700.

“I am grateful to Governor Hutchinson for the opportunity to lead the Department of Human Services as we serve the people of Arkansas. The mission of DHS is to improve the quality of life for all Arkansans by protecting the vulnerable, fostering independence, and promoting better health,” White said.

“Secretary Cindy Gillespie has led DHS in making great strides to pursue this mission, and I look forward to working with the Governor and the Arkansas General Assembly in continuing that good work.”

White, an attorney, previously worked at the Arkansas Department of Education and the Workers’ Compensation Commission. He also served as an adviser to former Gov. Mike Huckabee.

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Hunter Field
Hunter Field

Hunter Field is a veteran Arkansas journalist whose reporting on the state has carried him from military air strips in northwest Arkansas to soybean fields in the Arkansas delta. He spent the better part of the last decade investigating and reporting on Arkansas government and politics. For three years, he covered education policy, medical marijuana and the Arkansas General Assembly as part of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Capitol Bureau. Most recently, he was the Democrat-Gazette's projects editor, leading the newspaper's investigative team. Hunter got his start in journalism covering sports for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. A Memphis native, he enjoys smoking barbecue, kayaking and fishing in his free time.