NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Governor Haslam has spoken out about the recent resignation of DCS Commissioner Kate O'Day.
During a lunch on Wednesday, the Governor spent time talking to educators, but afterward he was drilled by reporters O'Day's resignation. Haslam confirmed O'Day resignation on Tuesday.
The Governor said O'Day had decided to resign because of concerns that she had become the focus of attention rather than the children the agency is meant to serve.
When asked by reporters if he asked O'Day to resign her position, Governor Haslam said it was a personal decision.
"I think it comes down to Kate thinking right now can the department function at full effort and I don't think she felt like it could and I can understand that," he said.
O'Day resigned less than 48 hours before she was supposed to testify in front of a Senate Committee on Capitol Hill. The Department of Children's services had recently come under fire for how it handled cases of children who were investigated as possible victims of abuse and then died.
Instead of O'Day testifying on Wednesday, it was interim Commissioner Jim Henry who faced lawmakers.
Henry could answer very few questions, but he said he'd be back in a month to give an update. He told reporters afterward he would need to fix morale in the agency and then a broken data system that apparently doesn't do a very good job of tracking cases
The Governor gave O'Day credit for discovering the problem.
"Kate was the first person to identify that. She's the first person to say with TFACS we have some major issues here. Kate made some real progress with the department. The fact that there is criticism of somebody that comes with the territory," said Haslam.
The Governor said the hearing before the Senate committee was O'Day's idea, and the timing of her resignation had nothing to do with it.