Executive director of the Utah Department of Human Services Palmer DePaulis announced his retirement Monday, ending a 30-year career in public service in Utah, which included positions as Salt Lake City mayor and a Utah State Tax Commissioner.
"Retiring is one of the most difficult decision I've had to make," DePaulis said in a news release. "I do so with a great sense of accomplishment and appreciation to the many amazing people I have encountered along the way."
DePaulis has served as the DHS executive director since 2010. His public service career started in 1983 where he served as the Salt Lake City public works director for 18 months before becoming the city's mayor in 1985. He served for seven years. He also worked as a staffer under former Attorney General Jan Graham, served as a Utah State Tax Commissioner and worked as the executive director of the Department of Community and Culture before he was appointed as director at DHS.
DePaulis' retirement comes amidst a criminal investigation of Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, who is accused of trying to influence the outcome of a child abuse investigation of someone he knew personally.
In 2011, Bell ordered three auditors to look into the policies and procedures used by Division of Child and Family Services, which is overseen by the Department of Human Services, to investigate child abuse cases. That audit prompted DePaulis, who oversees DCFS in his executive director position, to write a letter to Gov. Gary Herbert, dated Dec. 17, 2012, complaining that Bell "involved himself in a DCFS case in which he had a personal interest."
"As a result, however, I believe that the Lt. Governor questions my integrity, the integrity of my DCFS director, and some of my staff," he wrote. "I now find myself at odds with the Lt. Governor, and he expresses no confidence in me."
In that same December letter, DePaulis mentions that he may be retiring soon.
A national search for a new DHS executive director is underway, and DePaulis will remain in his position until a replacement is named.