Good riddance, if you ask me.
Deputy Commissioner of Health and Human Services Gregg Phillips, a lightning rod for critics of the state's massive social services overhaul, said Friday he is resigning.
"I didn't anticipate this effort on my part would be a long-term deal," said Phillips, who has discussed possibly resigning from the state's No. 2 health post since last December.
Since his arrival at the commission in March 2003, Phillips has been intimately involved in the shaping and execution of House Bill 2292, a dramatic overhaul and consolidation of 12 state social services agencies into five.
His resignation is effective Sept. 3.
Phillips said he had no immediate plans and that a lingering health issue had influenced his decision. He did not wish to elaborate on the health issue, however.
The Texas Democratic Party, meanwhile, issued a statement calling the resignation "forced" and tying Phillips to a controversy involving HHSC's $20 million in overpayments to Clarendon National Insurance Co.
Clarendon manages the Children's Health Insurance Program in rural Texas.
The statement called the resignation an "effort by Gov. Rick Perry and his staff to limit the political damage by tossing a faceless bureaucrat to the wolves."
Perry spokesman Robert Black said the resignation was not forced and had nothing to do with the CHIP controversy.
"I don't know why he resigned," Black said, adding Perry has called the CHIP controversy "inexcusable" and is seeking two investigations that could result in refunds to the state.
Phillips also denied his resignation was related to CHIP or any other state contracting issue and added that he had no intention of working for any of the companies that have contracts with HHSC as part of a sweeping privatization of state government services.
He also said he will not return to his old job heading a company called Enterject, which has been awarded contracts from the Texas Workforce Commission.