Governor Pillen Announces Resignation of DHHS CEO Smith


Laura Strimple, (402) 580-9495   


Governor Pillen Announces Resignation of DHHS CEO Smith


LINCOLN, NE – Today, Governor Jim Pillen announced the resignation of Dannette R. Smith, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  Smith was appointed CEO in January 2019 by then Governor Pete Ricketts. She will assume a role with a national firm that supports health and human services agencies across the U.S. Her last day at DHHS will be August 4.

“CEO Smith has provided leadership to DHHS throughout the start of my administration,” said Gov. Pillen. “I am grateful for her public service and dedication to improving the lives of Nebraskans.”

“It has been my honor to serve as CEO of the state’s largest agency, alongside the people of Nebraska the past four years,” said Smith. “I have spent every day challenging myself and my team to work with passion, integrity, and intentionality because the people of Nebraska depend on us. Not only do I feel a great sense of accomplishment about what we have achieved, I look forward to taking the energy and the spirit of my fellow Nebraskans with me as I take on the new challenges in my next chapter.”

During Smith’s tenure, she oversaw a staff of 5,000 and managed an annual budget of $6.3 billion. Highlights included supporting state efforts to address COVID and the redesign of the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center (YRTC).

Gov. Pillen will announce the appointment of an interim director soon. That person will lead the agency while a national search is undertaken to find a permanent CEO.