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Jan. 24, 2012
TOPEKA Pedro Moreno has resigned his leadership post at the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
Moreno, 50, came to Kansas from Florida 11 months ago with former SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki, who resigned last month.
Moreno’s departure was confirmed by Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the social services agency.
“He resigned yesterday,” de Rocha said. “He’s returning to Florida.”
Moreno headed disability and behavioral health services at the agency.
He’s been replaced by Gary Haulmark, who also serves as SRS legislative director.
SRS Policy Director Michelle Schroeder will assume some of Haulmark’s legislative duties.
Prior to his tenure at SRS, Moreno was deputy director for operations at the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Earlier, he’d started a now-defunct international group called the Father and Daughter Alliance.
Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, criticized Moreno during a Senate Ways and Means Committee meeting on Monday for his implementation of a new electronic verification system intended to track the working hours of those providing in-home services to the disabled. The system has been plagued by technical glitches since its launch last week.
“This has been a disaster to say the least,” Schmidt said.
Moreno also generated controversy last summer when he told members of the Mental Health Coalition of Kansas that he planned to ask judges to consider the SRS budget situation and the capacities of the state hospitals before committing people to the facilities.
“We want to go to judges and plead with them and tell them that when you make (commitment) decisions, please consider capacity issues,” Moreno told the coalition members.
Siedlecki later characterized Moreno's remarks as brainstorming and not representative of the agency's intentions.