Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday announced Gary Tennis will no longer serve as Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Deputy Secretary Jennifer Smith will serve as Acting Secretary.
No reason was given for the departure and Gov. Wolf did not thank Tennis for his service in his press release.
This is the second acting Secretary in the Wolf Administration. Patrick McDonnell is acting Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and was nominated by Gov. Wolf to fill the position permanently last year, but the Senate ran out of time to act.
“I look forward to working with Acting Secretary Jennifer Smith to continue my administration’s fight against the opioid epidemic. Though we have made great strides in our efforts, we still have much work to do. Jennifer Smith’s experience and expertise will be an asset to my administration as we move forward to help those in our Commonwealth who are struggling with substance use disorder.”
The Wolf Administration has made the fight against the opioid abuse and heroin use crisis a top priority and is committed to continuing his fight against the opioid epidemic and has prioritized it in his 2017-2018 budget.
Jennifer (Jen) Smith most recently served as the Deputy Secretary for the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.
Following her college graduation in 2004, she accepted a position in Pennsylvania’s Office of the Budget as an accountant where she focused primarily on monitoring accounts receivables, processing loan payments, reconciling accounts for the Public Utility Commission and the Pennsylvania State Police.
Through 2009, she continued to work in various accountant positions in the Office of the Budget, serving as the co-lead on an effort to train hundreds of employees throughout the state on a new process for recording revenue.
She also worked on an 18-month initiative to restructure and redesign business processes for Comptroller Operations, which is the largest office within OB.
During this project, Jen served as the Communications, Change Management and Training Lead, played a key role as the liaison between OB and all other agencies as it related to the changes being implemented, and in the summer of 2009 took over the role of Project Manager to oversee the final phases of implementation.
In 2009, Smith became the Director for Strategic Planning and Communications within the Office of the Budget. Three years later she was promoted to the Bureau Director for Planning and Management.
In November of 2015, Smith accepted the position of Deputy Secretary for the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.She currently resides in Jonestown with her husband of 14 years, their four children and two dogs. In addition to spending time with her family, she enjoys participating as an active member of the Annville Church of the Brethren.
Murphy: Wolf Dismisses Drug & Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis