Ricketts Names Virginia Official To Lead DHHS

A social services director from Virginia has been selected to serve as the next leader of Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services.

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Tuesday he has chosen Dannette Smith to serve as the agency's new chief executive officer.

Smith was selected through a national search. The governor's office says she has more than 25 years of executive leadership experience, most recently as the director of the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services.

Ricketts says Smith is a "customer-oriented, results-driven leader" who will build on the work of her predecessor, Courtney Phillips. Phillips left the position to become executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Smith previously held jobs in Washington, Georgia and North Carolina. She will earn $220,000 annually in Nebraska.

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