Governor Abbott Announces New HHSC Leadership

May 3, 2016 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the departure of Chris Traylor, Executive Commissioner of Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Charles Smith, the current Chief Deputy Executive Commissioner at HHSC, will assume the role of Executive Commissioner effective June 1, 2016. Additionally, Cecile Young, who currently serves as Chief of Staff at HHSC, has been promoted to serve as the new Chief Deputy Executive Commissioner.

"Charles Smith is a proven leader ready for the challenge to take the helm at Texas' Health and Human Services Commission," said Governor Abbott. "Charles, Cecile and current Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor have been a great team in reforming and overhauling this system of agencies. I am confident that under Charles' and Cecile's continued leadership, HHSC will continue to improve the agency's efficiency and accountability to Texas citizens."

Governor Abbott also thanked outgoing Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor for his service.

"Chris Traylor's dedicated career of service to Texas is commendable and full of remarkable successes," said Governor Abbott. "I thank Chris for his leadership at such a critical time for this agency."

Charles Smith was selected by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Chief Deputy Executive Commissioner for the Texas HHSC on July 1, 2015. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Smith served as the Deputy for Child Support at the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Then-Attorney General Greg Abbott appointed Smith as Deputy for Child Support in 2013. In this role, Smith was responsible for the overall delivery of child support services performed by the division’s 2,700 employees. Smith served as the Division’s deputy director from 2004-2013 overseeing field operations. He led the Division’s transformation to become the top-rated child support program in the nation. Smith is recognized as a leader in personnel management, analytics, innovation, organization, streamlining processes and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. His work in this area has earned him multiple awards throughout his career, and under Smith’s leadership the Texas Child Support Division was recognized as the most efficient and effective program in the nation for two years in a row. He was re-appointed to his position by current Attorney General Ken Paxton in January 2015. Since arriving at HHSC, Smith has overseen the areas of Medicaid and CHIP, procurement and contracting, health policy, social services, women's health services, mental health coordination, medical transportation, and veteran services.  In March 2016, Smith also stepped in to serve as the interim assistant commissioner for Children's Protective Services while still performing the aforementioned duties. Smith is a graduate of Texas Tech University.

Cecile Erwin Young has thirty years of state government experience in Texas. Ms. Young began her state career as a lecture and research engineer at Texas Tech University. She served as the conference committee clerk for HB 7 which created the Health and Human Services Commission in 1991 and came to work at HHSC to implement the legislation. From 2007 to 2011 she served as Associate Commissioner for Health Coordination and Consumer Services at HHSC and returned as chief of staff in January 2015. In her career in state government, she has served four governors, an attorney general and a state representative. She has performed budget and policy work since 1987.