Former R.I. official Gary Alexander nominated for Pennsylvania job

Posted 1/12/11

HARRISBURG – The incoming governor of Pennsylvania has tapped Rhode Island’s former secretary of the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services as his nominee for Pennsylvania’s secretary of welfare.

Gov.-Elect Tom Corbett announced the appointment of Gary Alexander on Tuesday. Corbett, a Republican, takes office next week.

Alexander served as secretary of the health office from June 2009 until the end of Republican Gov. Donald L. Carcieri’s term. Before that, he was director of the R.I. Department of Human Services.

The Philadelphia Inquirer said that Alexander, 42, would oversee some 17,000 employees if the Pennsylvania Senate confirms him. That would be up from the 3,000 he oversaw in the Ocean State.

While in the Carcieri administration, Alexander was at the center of a controversial plan to secure a “Global Medicaid Waiver” that gave Rhode Island more freedom with how to spend federal Medicaid dollars. Supporters say the waiver redefined how the state delivered services and saved money. Critics charge the complex plan saved little and lowered care.

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