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Pennsylvania welfare secretary to return to private sector

| Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 1:40 p.m.

Gary Alexander will step down as state Secretary of Public Welfare next week, Gov. Tom Corbett's office announced Friday.

Bev Mackereth, a former Republican state representative from York County, will serve as acting secretary. The Public Welfare Department serves 2.2 million poor, elderly and disabled Pennsylvanians.

Mackereth, 55, has worked as deputy secretary for the Office of Children, Youth and Family Services since November 2011.

Alexander's last day will be Feb. 15. His 2012 base salary was $146,579. A Boston native, Alexander is resigning to pursue private-sector work and spend more time with his wife and children, who live in Rhode Island, according to the governor's office.

Alexander, 43, spent much of his time implementing and defending controversial budget cuts to social welfare programs. He and Corbett, a Republican, pushed an effort to eliminate “waste, fraud and abuse” in the 17,000-employee department, which has an annual budget of more than $26 billion in state and federal funding.

Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or jboren@tribweb.com.

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