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Utah planning to merge four state departments into two

Department of Health to merge with the Department of Human Services; Department of Natural Resources to merge with the Department of Environmental Quality.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Utah State Capitol, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.

Plans are underway for Utah’s Department of Health to merge with the Department of Human Services and for the Department of Natural Resources to merge with the Department of Environmental Quality, FOX 13 reports.

FOX 13 said it received emails to employees of each agency that outline the plans for the mergers.

“The UDOH will likely look different in the future. Many of our programs, and the programs of other agencies, will likely be combined under the banner of one newly created Health and Human Services agency. Other programs will likely move to other agencies where similar services are already offered,” said Utah Department of Health Executive Director Rich Saunders in an email obtained by FOX 13.

None of the agencies plans to reduce its workforces, according to FOX 13.

FOX 13 first reported on the proposal to merge departments under Gov. Spencer Cox’s administration in December.

The Natural Resources and Environmental Quality merger was proposed in a state bill in January. Rep. Casey Snider, R-Paradise, said the goal of the bill was to promote government efficiency. However, some environmentalists told The Salt Lake Tribune that the Department of Environmental Quality should remain autonomous.

“We think DEQ needs its own leadership. It needs to have Cabinet-level status,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, in January. “I just don’t see that there’s enough savings here. Reorganizations are incredibly resource- and time-consuming.”

The Utah Academy of Family Physicians is opposed to the merger between the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services happening during the pandemic, according to FOX 13.

Read more at FOX 13.



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