Healey goes with interim secretary of health, human services

Needs more time to find head of largest executive office


GOV.-ELECT MAURA HEALEY will start her term as governor with an interim secretary of health and human services, acknowledging that she needs more time to find the right person to run the largest executive office in state government.

Mary Beckman, a Beacon Hill veteran who recently served as the chief of the Health Care and Fair Competition Bureau in Healey’s attorney general office, will run health and human services on an interim basis until a more permanent secretary of health and human services is named, Healey’s team announced Wednesday afternoon. Once Healey appoints her long-term secretary, Beckman will shift into the role of senior advisor at HHS.

Marylou Sudders, the secretary of health and human services for all eight years of the Baker administration, is going to serve as a temporary advisor to the incoming Healey administration to help arrange a smooth transition at the executive office.

“The programs and services of EOHHS are instrumental in providing the treatment, care, and support that our most vulnerable residents need. I am thrilled that Mary will serve as acting secretary to continue this critical work and lend her years of leadership and health care experience to uplift our communities and take on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” Healey said in a statement.

Yet the interim appointment is an acknowledgment that Healey, despite a fairly easy path to her election victory, is having difficulty assembling her team to run state government.

Beckman, a Milton resident, has led the attorney general’s Health Care and Fair Competition Bureau since March 2015 and had led the office’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division under Attorney General Martha Coakley starting in August 2011. Before joining the AG’s office, Beckman worked as a compliance officer and legal counsel at Children’s Hospital Boston, specializing in conflict of interest issues, compliance with documentation and billing rules, and industry relations.

Her time as acting secretary will not be Beckman’s first stint at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. From 1999 to 2002, she worked as assistant secretary for health policy under secretaries William O’Leary and Robert Gittens. Her resume says that one of her projects in that role was “advising Secretary and Governor on Harvard Pilgrim Health Care receivership” — a process that outgoing Gov. Charlie Baker was deeply involved in as CEO of the health insurer starting in 1999.

Beckman is also a former deputy legal counsel to both Gov. William Weld and Gov. Paul Cellucci, and she worked for about three years in the early 1990s at the health law practice of Ropes & Gray. The earliest job listed on her resume is as a social work associate at Mass. General Hospital from 1988 until 1990.

Healey’s team on Wednesday also filled more of its senior staff positions.

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Jillian Fennimore, a former editor of the Somerville Journal and the Watertown Tab who has worked in press roles at the attorney general’s office since 2012, was named Healey’s communications director. It’s the same role she filled for Healey at the attorney general’s office. Karissa Hand, who has spoken for numerous advocacy groups during her time at Melwood Global, will make the jump from press secretary to Healey’s gubernatorial campaign to press secretary for the Healey administration.

April English, who worked about 20 years in the attorney general’s office including as an assistant attorney general and chief of organization development and inclusion during much of Healey’s time as attorney general, will be the administration’s chief secretary. The chief secretary oversees an administration’s efforts to fill positions on boards and commissions throughout state government.

Healey also announced Marcony Almeida-Barros, who previously worked as chief of the Community Engagement Division of the attorney general’s office, as deputy chief of staff for access and engagement; Alicia Rebello-Pradas, a former chief of the Policy & Government Relations Division at the AG’s office, as deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs; Cecilia Ugarte Baldwin, a former deputy director of policy and cabinet affairs and deputy legal counsel for Gov. Deval Patrick, as deputy chief of staff for policy and cabinet affairs; Kristian Hoysradt, previously federal programs manager for the National Association of REALTORS, as deputy chief of staff to Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll; and Driscoll’s 2022 campaign manager Juan Gallego as assistant deputy chief of staff to Driscoll.