AUSTIN – Executive Commissioner Charles Smith today announced his retirement from state service effective May 31.
"After nearly 30 years of service, it has been truly an honor. There is no higher calling than helping people in need," Smith said. "This is a job I have loved, and I know together we have made a difference for Texans."
Smith was appointed executive commissioner by Governor Greg Abbott effective June 1, 2016. During his time at the agency, Smith has been widely known for his thoughtful and deliberate nature, his absolute transparency and his roll-up-your sleeves approach to tackling problems.
Smith has been dedicated to improving the agency's efficiency and accountability, most recently steering Texas Health and Human Services through a major reorganization to produce a more efficient, effective and responsive system. He spearheaded efforts to help Texans more easily find the information, benefits and services they need.
"I will always be a friend to the agency, and the work of the HHS system will carry on," Smith said. "The agency has a big heart and strong leadership. We will be sure our employees and the people of Texas have what they need to continue to shine."
During his tenure, Smith oversaw the health and human services system's response to Hurricane Harvey. The agency's Disaster SNAP food benefits program served more than 1.5 million people who suffered damage, lost income or had to flee their homes. Smith's leadership helped ensure people had what they needed before and after the hurricane, including FEMA grants, food benefits, counseling services and health information. He also ensured the speedy and safe evacuation of 213 residents and 205 staff from the Corpus Christi State Support Living Center ahead of the storm.
Smith also was committed to an innovative approach in providing health care to millions of Texas Medicaid clients. He led efforts that were instrumental in securing a $25 billion agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that supports the state's efforts to continue a critical part of the state's Medicaid program over the next five years.
The agency strengthened its human resources and ethics policies under Smith's leadership, adding more accountability and guidance for employees. During Smith's tenure, the agency also established an incentive payment program for nursing facilities to improve quality and innovation.
Smith previously served as deputy for child support at the Office of the Attorney General from 2013 to 2015. Smith began his career in the Attorney General's office as a volunteer in the Child Support Division in 1988 and attained positions of increasing responsibility during his 26 year career within the division. During Smith's tenure, he led the division's transformation to become the top-rated child support program in the nation.
Smith is a proud graduate of Texas Tech University.