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John Davis to retire as head of DHS

John Davis Mississippi
John Davis abruptly resigned as executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services in July 2019
Photo courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Mississippi Department of Human Services announced today that Executive Director, John Davis, has decided to retire effective July 31, 2019. Davis has served in his current role since Governor Phil Bryant appointed him to the position in January 2016. Prior to his appointment, Davis served as Deputy Administrator for Programs, Office Director for the Division of Economic Assistance and worked on the local, regional and state level.

Davis was also appointed by Governor Kirk Fordice as the Director of the Lincoln County Department of Human Services in 1998 until his appointment in 2005 to the position of Director of State Operations for Department of Economic Assistance.

“I appreciate John Davis’ twenty-eight years of service to the Department of Human Services,” said Governor Bryant. “John has dedicated his life to serving others and has been a tremendous advocate for Mississippi’s children and families. We will begin a search for a new Executive Director immediately.”

Executive Director Davis has had many accomplishments and accolades from his years of service with MDHS. He was given the Award of Accuracy and Stewardship in the Food Stamp Program, Ranked 3rd in the nation and 1st in the Southeast Region for payment accuracy in the Food Stamp Program, Quality Control Star Award from USDA/FNS for commitment of public trust, FNS Excellence through Technology Award and many others.

Since his role as Executive Director, Davis has implemented mandatory work requirements for all Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (2016), partnered with MS Department of Employment Security to link participants to education, work and self-sufficiency (2016), created the Division of Workforce Development (2016) to assist Governor Bryant with his promise to Mississippians, “to make sure every Mississippian who wants a job can find a job.”

Davis developed the Gen+ initiative to stabilize the family and to treat the family holistically (2017). He also launched the Skills2Work Third Party Partnership Program to provide participants training, support and case management to gain skills to obtain a livable wage (2017), began partnering with Mississippi Community Education Center as Intermediary for KLLM Driving Academy (2018), and has become a champion for establishing new partnerships with companies and agencies like Ingalls Shipbuilding, Families First of Mississippi and a new partner, MDOT (2019), to utilize heat maps for Regional Transportation.

“It has been an honor to serve the wonderful people of Mississippi and specifically to work with such an amazing leader like Governor Bryant,” said Davis. “I am looking forward to spending time with my family and pursuing a new career outside of state government to do even more for the great people of Mississippi.”

In a release, DHS said during the three years as Executive Director, Davis played a critical role in leading the agency to adapt to significant changes and has helped make a better Mississippi

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