Tom Suehs, executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, was awarded the 14th annual Bob Bullock Award for Outstanding Public Stewardship at the Government Technology Conference Southwest in Austin on Tuesday, June 14.
The Bob Bullock Award is presented annually to a Texas state executive or elected official for outstanding leadership, innovation and a career that exemplifies dedication to serving Texas citizens.
Suehs was appointed executive director in 2009, as the commission faced a backlog of citizens waiting for benefits. Suehs led work that reduced wait times from months to days and has resumed the rollout of a new eligibility system, according to the awards presentation.
“We are looking for new ways to deliver services,” Suehs said in a statement. “We can use technology to make it easier for people to apply for services and cheaper for the state to process their cases.”
Karen Robinson, executive director of the Texas Department of Information Resources, and Cathilea Robinett, executive director of the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute, presented the award to Suehs.
(The Center for Digital Government is operated by e.Republic, Government Technology magazine’s parent company.)
In his position, Suehs oversees five agencies, a third of the state budget, and more than 50,000 employees. The agencies’ programs range from newborn screening to nursing home regulation, as well as Medicaid and early childhood intervention.
Suehs served as deputy executive commissioner for financial services at the Health and Human Services Commission from 2003 until his appointment as executive commissioner.
The namesake for the award, Bob Bullock, was a long-time fixture in the Texas Legislature. The Democrat served for more than four decades, first as a legislator and then as Texas secretary of state from 1971 to 1973. Beginning in 1975, Bullock served 16 years as state comptroller. He capped his career serving two terms as lieutenant governor. Bullock passed away in 1999.