Acting Commissioner Ricker Hamilton oversees the largest agency in state government, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Credit: Courtesy of DHHS

Gov. Paul LePage announced Friday that his health and human services chief will retire at the end of August.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton has dedicated more than 40 years to state service, including working for DHHS since 1982, most of it in adult protective services. He became director of the Office of Aging and Disability Services in 2011 and took over leadership of DHHS in 2017. He was confirmed as commissioner by the Senate in October 2017.

LePage said in a prepared statement that Hamilton has been a valuable public servant and someone who has “dedicated his long career at DHHS to protecting our most vulnerable.”

Hamilton said he is proud of what has been accomplished during his short tenure leading DHHS, including measures to combat drug addiction and help people transition from social service programs to work.

“Though retirement is bittersweet, I am confident that I am leaving the department in the hands of a very capable and dedicated staff,” he said.

Hamilton also serves on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging and as an instructor for the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and the U.S. Department of Justice. He received the 2016 Children’s Advocate Award from the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

LePage will appoint Bethany Hamm, director of DHHS’s Office of Family Independence, as acting commissioner.

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Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.