Former Department of Health and Human Resources deputy secretary Jeremiah Samples has a new job in state government.
Samples is the West Virginia Legislature Joint Committee senior adviser, Ann Ali, deputy chief of staff and communications director for the House of Delegates, said Thursday.
Samples began reporting to the Legislature’s Joint Government and Finance Committee last week. His role supports Legislative Auditor and Manager Aaron Allred, Ali said.
It’s been a little more than a month since Samples left the department for reasons that neither he nor DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch have disclosed.
Samples, who declined to comment on his new job Thursday, said in a statement last month that his departure from the DHHR was an “opportunity to rededicate myself to serving West Virginia and our people.”
“Despite our challenges, I feel positive about the future and the many new ways that I can help our State,” he said. “I look forward to continuing this work with dedicated partners moving forward. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.”
Samples’ exit from the DHHR came less than a month after Gov. Jim Justice vetoed a bill that would have split the department into two entities — the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services.
On April 11, Justice said during his regular COVID-19 briefing that there were challenges and issues within the DHHR, saying “to hastily pump out a bill that could really ... we could have blown our legs off with it.”
The same day, Crouch said everyone in the department had to “pull the rope in the same direction.”
“This is a large agency, and we have to have everybody on board, in terms of what we’re doing,” he said.
Samples has a long history of working in state government. Before becoming deputy secretary, Samples worked as an assistant to then-DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling in 2013. Samples previously worked as director of health policy for the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner. He also was a legislative intern before working in the DHHR’s offices of Communications and Legislative Affairs, General Counsel and Deputy Secretary before becoming deputy secretary himself.
Samples also previously worked for the Governor’s Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning.