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Deputy secretary laid off at SRS

By Dave Ranney | May 20, 2011

Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Deputy Secretary Laura Howard has been laid off. Today was her last day.

Howard, who’s been with SRS since 1996, declined to speak on the record but has told colleagues she hopes to take the summer off before looking for “…other opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Prior to joining SRS, Howard, 50, was a researcher at the Kansas Legislative Research Department for 12 years.

She has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Miami University and a law degree from the University of Kansas.

Rochelle Chronister, a former legislator and SRS secretary from 1995 to 1999, praised Howard’s service to the state, calling her “brilliant” and one of the department's "best researchers."

While at SRS, Howard has had a hand in closing two state hospitals, privatizing much of the state’s child welfare system, implementing federal welfare reform measures, and overseeing Medicaid.

As deputy secretary, Howard has been in charge of health care policy and also served as the agency’s chief financial officer.

SRS officials did not respond to KHI News Service email seeking comment on Howard's departure.

Earlier this week, Ray Dalton, deputy secretary in charge of disability and behavioral health services, announced that would leave the agency later this month. He’s been at SRS since 1997.