Head of Texas Health Commission Out Amid Procurement Problems

Charles Smith on Thursday announced his retirement as the state’s top health official, ending a two-year run bookended by issues with the agency’s contracting process.

Tommy Williams, a former state senator who is currently serving as a senior advisor under Gov. Greg Abbott, will take up the post on an interim basis when Smith vacates at the end of the month.

Smith was named executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in mid-2016, after the discovery that the agency had awarded a contract without going through the formal bidding process. That scandal had forced out the former commissioner, Kyle Janek. Abbott vowed to clean things up, appointing Smith.

But the procurement issues popped up again over the last month, this time impacting several contracts, which the agency has since rescinded. The Texas HHSC has blamed a tool used to score the bids for the problems. A scathing report from the The State Auditor’s Office pressed the issue. Smith is the sixth person to be fired or leave the agency.