Spencer Cox chooses workforce services director as his interim chief of staff

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Jon Pierpont at a meeting of Utah's Department of Workforce Services on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012.

The longtime head of Utah’s Department of Workforce Services is shifting into a new role as interim chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

Jon Pierpont has worked as executive director of the workforce services agency since 2012.

“Jon is a trusted leader and tireless public servant,” Cox, who is also running for governor, said in a Wednesday news release announcing the change. “His experience and background will be critical over the next several months as the state continues to address the different impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Cox made the interim appointment while his permanent chief of staff, Kirsten Rappleye, is on maternity leave. When she returns, Pierpont will continue working for Cox as a senior adviser, according to the release.

Over the past few years, Pierpont has helped lead the state’s overhaul of its homeless service model. That transition culminated last year with the closure of the downtown Road Home shelter and the opening of three new resource centers that provide a whole suite of services designed to help people exit homelessness.

Pierpont in the news release said he’s grateful for the opportunity to work with Cox and Gov. Gary Herbert as Utah faces “a critical time in its history.”

Two of the workforce services department’s deputy directors — Casey Cameron and Greg Paras — will take on Pierpont’s responsibilities overseeing the agency for the time being, the release said.