Shipbuilder Executive To Lead Washington Social Services Agency

Jan 11, 2013

A shipbuilding executive with no social work experience will head Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services. Governor-elect Jay Inslee announced that appointment and four other cabinet picks Thursday. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Inslee’s choice for DSHS Secretary is former Democratic State Senator Kevin Quigley. He’s far from an agency insider. In fact most recently he was a president with Vigor Industrial, a major shipbuilder. At one point Quigley ran the company’s Everett shipyard. Governor-elect Inslee readily acknowledges that Quigley does not have experience in social work.

Inslee: “What he’s had is the experience of empowering people like social workers to do their jobs and to design a process so that they have one hundred percent quality. We’ve got to have a zero defects culture in DSHS.”

In recent years, Washington has paid out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits stemming from the abuse of children in the foster and child protection system. DSHS is a mega-agency with more than two million clients, 18,000 employees and an $11 billion two-year budget.

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