Under the Dome

NC FAST director leaving state agency

Anthony Vellucci, head of the much-maligned computerized public benefits program NC FAST, is leaving the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The agency announced Wednesday that Vellucci is leaving DHHS on March 7 to work for EngagePoint, a healthcare software and IT services company in Maryland.

NC FAST was blamed for the massive slow-down of food stamp delivery by counties last summer. Families were forced to go to food pantries because approvals of food stamp applications were delayed by weeks and months. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently threatened the state with financial sanctions because the application backlog was so large.

NC FAST is meant to combine several public benefits systems, including food stamps, Medicaid and Work First. Additional services are to be added in phases through 2017.

Vellucci makes $168,000 a year. He received a $23,284 raise last summer so he wouldn’t leave the job.

“Anthony has been instrumental in leading the conversion of 19 social services legacy programs into a single, streamlined system. He truly turned a vision into reality,” Joe Cooper, DHHS technology chief, said in a statement. “His unwavering dedication to this complex and far-reaching initiative will ensure that North Carolinians are better served by DHHS and county social services for years to come. Anthony’s passion, outstanding work ethic and expertise will be missed.”

NC FAST deputy director Angela Taylor will add the title acting program director.