ST. THOMAS — The Department of Human Services has lost, through resignation, two high-ranking and important employees in a matter of days, leading Senator Alicia Hansen to question the department’s commissioner on the D.H.S’s direction.
Jennifer O’Neal, who served as D.H.S.’s chief financial officer and resigned about a week ago, wrote a searing letter to Governor Kenneth Mapp detailing what she deemed as consequential issues that must be addressed with the sprawling department’s finances.
Today, Diane Capehart, former senator in the 30th Legislature, who served at D.H.S. as director of the Medical Assistant Program (MAP), resigned today, according to Mrs. Hansen.
Mrs. Hansen expressed concern at the back-to-back resignation of employees holding important positions at D.H.S. “My office is currently trying to aid in the response of MAP clients that are facing life-threatening issues, and addressing the employees that still have issues with their cost of living payments, of which I brought to your attention at the committee meeting on Human Services,” Mrs. Hansen wrote to D.H.S. Commissioner Felecia Blyden.
Mrs. Hansen’s release suggests that D.H.S. is unraveling, as employees become disheartened by low wages, which the senator says has caused low morale.
“I am calling on Commissioner Blyden to inform the community of the changes being made at her department, and how we can move forward in getting the clients and employees what they need to alleviate the stress that they face,” the senator concluded.