Gov. Butch Otter has named Russ Barron, currently deputy director of the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare, to be the next director when longtime head Dick Armstrong retires June 30. Barron has been deputy director since 2014, also overseeing the divisions of welfare and Family and Community Services. Previously, he headed the Division of Welfare, served as statewide program manager for the child support program, and held a number of administrative roles within that program, starting as a self-reliance specialist in 1998.
Before coming to Idaho, Barron worked for the Missouri Department of Labor’s Division of Employment Security and the Texas Department of Human Resources. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Boise State University.
“Russ has a stellar record of achievement and progress throughout his career in state government. Most importantly, he has never lost sight of the properly limited role of government in the lives of all our citizens, including human services recipients,” Otter said in a statement. “He has played a central role in helping Health and Welfare run better, leaner and more responsively for the people it serves – as well as taxpayers. I expect him to continue that kind of service to the people of Idaho in this new and expanded role.”
Barron said he’s honored, and that the department’s mission is “to promote and protect the health and safety of Idahoans.”
“The department has made great strides in delivering meaningful services efficiently and effectively under the direction of Dick Armstrong,” Barron said, “and I’m looking forward to working with the department’s employees, partners, and stakeholders to continue that success.”
Barron’s salary when he becomes director will be $155,000, up from his current $130,000 a year; Armstrong makes $162,000 a year.