Assistant County Manager Michelle Lancaster leaving post

Assistant County Manager Michelle Lancaster is leaving her job in April to “pursue other interests,” County Manager Dena Diorio announced Tuesday.

Lancaster started with the county in 1998 as an assistant to county commissioners, but in 2000, former County Manager Harry Jones hired her as his assistant. Under Jones, she became a general manager and then an assistant county manager under interim County Manager Bobbie Shields after commissioners fired Jones in 2013.

Shortly after Diorio was named county manager, Shields retired and Diorio removed John McGillicuddy, another assistant county manager, from her executive team.

In a statement to county staffers, Diorio said that Lancaster will remain as assistant county manager until April 14. But Diorio will take over Lancaster’s duties as director of the county’s Consolidated Health and Human Services Agency. The agency includes the social services and health departments, Community Support Services and Provided Services Organization.

In an interview, Diorio said the county manager typically was the agency’s director, but when she reorganized she gave that job to Lancaster, who had spent years overseeing health and human services under Jones.

In addition, Deputy County Manager Chris Peek will oversee Child Support Enforcement and the Behavioral Health Division. He will also oversee implementation of a master plan to move services closer to customers.

Assistant County Manager Leslie Johnson will provide support staff to the task force finding solutions for economic mobility for the poor and Assistant County Manager Mark Foster will manage the reorganization of the Provided Services Organization.

Diorio said Lancaster voluntarily resigned.

“This is not a termination,” she said. “It’s just one of those things. I will make leadership decisions that are in the best interest of the county.”