Smith resigns DHS post, Rhodes appointed

No reason cited for resignation

Published On: Feb 22 2013 10:17:58 AM CST   Updated On: Feb 22 2013 02:57:13 PM CST
Dennis Smith
MADISON, Wis. -

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith has resigned.

Gov. Scott Walker announced the resignation and appointed Deputy Secretary Kitty Rhoades as secretary of the department that is in charge of overseeing the state's Medicaid programs.

Smith had been at the forefront of Walker's opposition to the federal health care law and had testified before Congress on that issue.

Smith says in his resignation letter that he is accepting a job in the private sector that begins March 1. He did not say in the letter where the job was.

The resignation comes the same week a Dane County judge decided to seal the records in an attempted homicide case connected to Smith.

Andrew Spear, 59, is accused of pouring gas on his wife, Mary Spear, and lighting her on fire in August. Spear claimed his wife was involved in an extra-martial affair with Smith.

Mary Spear worked with Smith. Smith and Mary Spear have denied the allegation of an affair.

Rhoades has served alongside Smith as his deputy since Walker took office in January 2011. Prior to that Rhoades served in the state Assembly from 1999 through 2010.