Citing family reasons, Hawaii’s Director of Human Services is stepping down

Citing family reasons, Hawaii’s Director of Human Services is stepping down
Pankaj Bhanot, Department of Human Services Director, will step down at the end of next month. (Source: HNN File)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Director of Human Services, Pankaj Bhanot, is stepping down at the end of August.

The Governor’s Office says he’s stepping down due to family reasons.

Medicaid and SNAP/EBT food benefits are among the responsibilities of the department.

On Monday, the state announced Cathy Betts as Bhanot’s replacement. She’s served as deputy director at DHS since October 2017.

Betts has also served in other administrative roles on the state level with the Department of the Attorney General and Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, as well community outreach services.

Bhanot’s stepping down is the latest position to be vacated by a state department head. Hawaii’s Departments of Taxation and Labor were also left without directors.

“Pankaj’s commitment to our community and his passion for providing a voice for those who need help, benefited countless people across our state. He will surely be missed. I wish him and his family the best always,” said Gov. Ige in a news release.

Betts assumes the role of DHS director on Sept. 1. Her appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

This story may be updated.

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