Gregoire policy chief Arnold-Williams is leaving

March 31, 2010 

The revolving door turns again in Gov. Chris Gregoire's upper management ranks. Robin Arnold-Williams is the latest, announcing that she departs at the end of April as head of the governor's executive policy office.

Arnold-Williams took over the job in December 2008 after a more than three-year run as secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services.

She announced the decision with this statement to leaders of Gregoire's cabinet:

It is with mixed emotions that I share with you a difficult decision that I have made to leave my position as Director of the Executive Policy Office at the end of April. It has been a true honor to work for Governor Gregoire and to serve with all of you in her administration for the past five years. Her leadership, commitment and endless energy have made it possible for us to make great strides in enhancing the quality of services we provide to Washingtonians. As I move on to new career opportunities, and a little bit of rest, I take with me memories of some of the most rewarding professional experiences while serving with all of you. I look forward to watching your continuing accomplishments over the coming years and continuing to be inspired by your efforts. I wish all the best to each of you.

Gregoire spokesman Cory Curtis said no replacement is yet identified.

"She served the governor extremely well and is ready for a break," Curtis said. "I know the governor was sad to see her go but knows she served in two fairly tough positions."

Arnold-Williams led a human-services agency in Utah before coming to Washington early in Gregoire's first term. She was not immediately available to comment late today.

Her departure comes on the heels of General Administraton director Linda Bremer's recent resignation and Gregoire deputy chief of staff Joyce Turner's move early in April to take Bremer's place.

UPDATE ON ORIGINAL 5:15 P.M. POST: I just talked to Arnold-Williams, and she said it is time for a break after a long public-service career. Now 54, she said this year's legislative session marked her 30th in a career that began in Utah and included eight years leading that state’s human-services agency under former GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt.

"It was kind of a watershed, a bench mark, for me," Arnold-Williams said. "I'm going to look at some consulting … I'm purposely giving myself a break."

Arnold-Williams said working for Gregoire was "exciting and energizing." During her time as policy head, she said she was proud of efforts to reform government. "It's never enough … But you know, we got a lot more boards and commissions dealt with this year," Arnold-Williams said.

At DSHS, she cleaned up a budget problem in the Children's Administration and oversaw changes soon after arriving to reduce the Child Protective Services' response times to calls involving child safety.

She said her family is staying in Washington. Arnold-Williams led Utah's Department of Human Services for eight years and served the agency 24 years before coming to Washington early in Gregoire's first term.

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