HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett has announced that Secretary of Public Welfare Gary D. Alexander has resigned his cabinet post, saying his last day will be Feb. 15. Alexander is leaving state government to pursue private-sector opportunities and spend more time with his wife and children who reside in Rhode Island. During his tenure, Alexander made several visits to Luzerne County to tour programs funded by the department, meet with individuals and families, and explore opportunities to advance employment for people with disabilities in the community. “Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Secretary Alexander on several projects. His belief that people with disabilities are valued members of our community who can and should be included to the best of their abilities is evidenced by his recommendation to provide necessary funds and services in the coming fiscal year,” said Pamela Zotynia, Executive Director of The Arc of Luzerne County. “I have enjoyed working with him and wish him the best for his future.” As secretary, he holds the top post in the Department of Public Welfare, which employs approximately 17,000 workers and has a budget of more than $26 billion in state and federal dollars. The department provides services and supports approximately 2.2 million low-income, elderly and disabled Pennsylvanians. “Secretary Alexander has been a tremendous asset in prioritizing our funding and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in our welfare programs," Corbett said. “He has saved millions of dollars in making our programs more efficient and effective, while still allowing us to deliver core services to those who need it most in Pennsylvania.” Alexander also helped establish a county block grant program, which gives counties the flexibility to direct funding where it is most needed in local communities; implemented an expansion of the state's HealthChoices program to the entire Commonwealth; and enhanced services for intellectually and physically disabled individuals. “As he departs for this next chapter in life and professional service, I thank Gary for his time and the commitment he gave to Pennsylvania and its residents,” Corbett noted. Alexander says his decision to resign was not easy. “I am grateful to Gov. Corbett for giving me the opportunity to serve the commonwealth during his tenure,” Alexander said. “I have been blessed to have been surrounded by a host of remarkable employees at DPW. Their professionalism and commitment to the tasks at hand allowed us to realize great achievements.” “We've accomplished a great deal in Pennsylvania, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure here, but now is the perfect time to pursue new opportunities and rejoin my young family in Rhode Island full-time,” Alexander said. Bev Mackereth, who has served as the department's deputy secretary for the Office of Children, Youth and Families since November 2011, will serve as acting secretary.