Two top-level managers in the Maine Department of Health and Human Services are no longer employed by the agency, according to department spokesman John Martins.

Martins confirmed in an email Wednesday evening that Guy Cousins, director of the Office of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, and Therese Cahill-Low, director of the Office of Child and Family Services, are in Martin’s words, “no longer with the department.”

Martins declined to provide more detail, only adding that the department “cannot comment any further as this is a personnel matter.”

However, an email obtained by the Portland Press Herald indicated that Cousins and Cahill-Low were not at their posts Wednesday morning.

“I am writing to make you aware of some changes within the organization that have taken place today,” Ricker Hamilton, deputy commissioner of programs for DHHS, announced in an email that was apparently sent to a number of DHHS employees. “I appreciate the many years of service that both Guy and Therese provided and wish them success in future endeavors.”

Hamilton said in the email that Sheldon Wheeler, “a leader with 25 years of experience in the nonprofit, private and public sectors,” has been selected to replace Cousins. Wheeler will serve as acting director.

Prior to accepting the acting director post, Wheeler “wore many hats” at the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, including associate director of data, quality management and resource development, policy development manager, and director of housing resources, Hamilton said.

Hamilton said that with help from senior managers he will oversee Cahill-Low’s agency until an acting director has been named.

Rep. Richard Farnsworth, D-Portland, House chairman of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, said he first heard about the personnel moves Wednesday afternoon.

Farnsworth said the Office of Child and Family Services provides a broad range of important services including child protection, foster care, behavioral health services to children with special needs, MaineCare for children with serious health conditions, adoption services and child-care subsidies.

He does not know if the directors left voluntarily or were fired, but added that his committee is not typically kept in the loop about department personnel changes.

“I’m curious to find out what happened, but there was no prior notification. The first time I heard about this was (Wednesday) afternoon,” Farnsworth said.

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