Kenney taps Figueroa to lead city’s DHS

Incoming DHS Commissioner Cynthia Figueroa (right)greets Estelle Richman

Incoming DHS Commissioner Cynthia Figueroa (right)greets Estelle Richman

More than six months into his administration, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has made his final Cabinet-level appointment. 

After a national search, Kenney has chosen Cynthia Figueroa to lead the city’s Department of Human Services.  Kenney said the delay in making the appointment was due to finding the right person for a very difficult job.

“The most important part is that children’s lives are on the line.  That’s critical,” Kenney said Wednesday. “This department is as important as the fire department, as the police. It’s a public safety department.”

Figureroa, a former DHS deputy commissioner, said she’ll be asking for patience as she works to improve the department lately troubled by low morale, increasing demands and sanctions from the state.

“We didn’t get to some of the challenges we’re experiencing now overnight, and we’re not going to get out of them overnight,” she said.

Pennsylvania demoted the department’s license to provisional status earlier this year.  City officials said they are working with the state to make the changes necessary to fix that.

Figueroa, 43, will be paid $180,000 a year as commissioner.

The president and CEO of Congreso de Latinos Unidos since 2011, she will begin work for the city Sept. 6.


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