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Gov. Pete Ricketts has hired a search firm to find a replacement for Department of Health and Human Services CEO Courtney Phillips. 

The governor said Ford Webb Associates Inc. will conduct the search. Previous national searches have yielded what Ricketts said were "transformative leaders" such as Phillips.

In the past, the state used the firm to find Phillips, former Medicaid Director Calder Lynch and Medicaid Director Matthew Van Patton, who started March 1 and was hired at a salary of $155,000.

The state will be looking for a "talented and customer-oriented leader who will help improve the operations of the agency and fulfill the agency’s mission of helping Nebraskans live better lives,” he said. 

Ted Ford Webb of Ford Webb Associates Inc. has recruited more than 100 cabinet members for 49 governors, 250 nonprofit chief executives, and Fortune 500, startup and mid-size corporate CEOs, Ricketts said. Webb assisted former Gov. Bob Kerrey in a search for a director in his cabinet.

Phillips is leaving next month for a job as executive commissioner for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Her last day will be Oct. 14.

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Phillips is paid a salary of $206,850, the highest salary among the agency directors appointed by the governor.

HHS Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Bo Botelho will serve as the interim CEO until the national search has been concluded.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature.

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State government reporter

JoAnne Young covers state government, including the Legislature and state agencies, and the people they serve.

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