How sequestration and hiring freezes are shaping the future of SSA

In this week's edition of Agency of the Month, Dr. Reginald Wells, Deputy Commissioner at the Social Security Administration, discusses the human resources pres...

Dr. Reginald Wells has a few different titles, but one stands out from the rest. Apart from his regular duties as Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Human Resources at the Social Security Administration, he also calls himself the “Last of the Mohicans” on the Chief Human Capital Officers Council. As the last remaining federally-employed member of the original group started in 2003, he continues to play a critical role in shaping workplace and workforce initiatives across the federal government.

In this week’s edition of Agency of the Month, Dr. Wells explains how his place at the CHCO Council and the overall pressures caused by sequestration and hiring freezes are shaping the future of the Social Security Administration.


Courtesy of SSA

Reginald Wells was named deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Office of Human Resources effective July 15, 2002 after serving short tenures as deputy associate commissioner for Disability Program Policy and senior advisor in the Office of Disability and Income Security Programs. Dr. Wells also serves as the chief human capital officer for SSA. In his capacity as deputy commissioner for Human Resources, Dr. Wells oversees a staff complement of 400 employees with an operating budget of $100 million.

Dr. Wells served as deputy commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities from October 1994 to April 2002. He shared with the commissioner full responsibility for planning and directing 25 federal staff and programmatic activities, including the University Centers, Developmental Disabilities Councils, Protection and Advocacy Systems and Projects of National Significance with a program budget of over $122 million.

From October 1997 to May 1998, Dr. Wells served as the acting commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities in the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

Prior to his appointment in the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Dr. Wells had 10 years of extensive public sector experience with the District of Columbia’s (D.C.) Department of Human Services. During his tenure, he served as both deputy commissioner and acting commissioner for the D.C. Commission on Social Services. The Commission on Social Services had a staff complement of 2,600 employees and an operating budget of $450 million to offer a broad array of social services, including services for people with developmental disabilities; child welfare services; juvenile justice services; emergency shelter; vocational rehabilitation; Aid to Families with Dependent Children and JOBS.

Previously, Dr. Wells managed Essex County, New Jersey’s long term care/geriatrics facility; was instrumental in operating the 1,100 bed psychiatric hospital; monitored and evaluated citizen services; and worked as a research associate for the National Center on Black Aged.

Throughout his career, Dr. Wells has received many awards. These include the 2006 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Executives; the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Government of the District of Columbia; and Special Recognition Awards from the U.S. Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration.

His current and past professional and volunteer affiliations include: Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake, Inc.; Covenant House Washington; District of Columbia ARC; DC Developmental Disabilities Council; DC Medical Care Advisory Committee; and Steering Panel Member, Nonprofit Governmental Contracting Project, the Union Institute, and Office for Social Responsibility.

Dr. Wells is licensed as a nursing home administrator in New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

In 1980, Dr. Wells received a Ph.D. in Psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia. He also earned his M.A. in psychology from Temple University and B.A. in psychology and sociology from American International College.

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