CHAPTER 133

STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE

AN ACT TO CREATE AND ESTABLISH A STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE IN ORDER TO PROVIDE A COORDINATED PROGRAM OF PUBLIC WELFARE SERVICE AND IN SO DOING MERGING CERTAIN OF THE ACTIVITIES OF THE STATE OLD AGE WELFARE COMMISSION AND THE STATE BOARD OF WELFARE INTO A NEW DEPARTMENT TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. There is hereby created in the Executive Branch of the State Government, a Department of Welfare. The Department shall be under the control of a Board of Welfare appointed as hereinafter provided.

Section 2. The Department of Welfare shall administer all programs of public assistance for the State and shall conduct all welfare services specifically related to such programs or heretofore administered by any agency administering any such public assistance program: Excepting And Excluding However, public assistance programs, services and aids to the blind.

Section 3. The Board of Welfare shall consist of twelve members appointed by the Governor. Of the first members appointed, four shall serve for terms ending February 25, 1954, four for terms ending February 25, 1953, four for terms ending February 25, 1952. Upon the expiration of the term of any member of the Board of Welfare created by this Act, the Governor shall appoint a successor for a term of three years from the date of such expiration. Any vacancy on the Board arising from any cause other than expiration of term shall be filled by appointment of the Governor for the unexpired term. At no time shall more than six members of the Board be members of the same political party.

Section 4. The members of the Board of Welfare shall receive no compensation for their services, but may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in attendance at meetings. Such expenses shall be paid on vouchers approved by the Director of Welfare.

Section 5. The Board of Welfare shall appoint a Director of Welfare who shall be the executive head of the Department of Welfare and shall be a full time official of the State. Such Director shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Welfare and shall receive a salary at the rate fixed by the Board. The Director shall serve as the Secretary of the Board of Welfare. He shall be appointed on the basis of education, ability and experience in the administration of public welfare.

Section 6. The Director of Welfare shall manage and supervise the operations of the Department and shall see that all functions are properly carried out in accordance with the policies, rules, and regulations approved by the Board of Welfare. Said Director shall appoint all employees of the Department and shall fix their salaries subject to any general compensation plan adopted by the Board of Welfare.

Section 7. The Director of Welfare, with the concurrence of the Board of Welfare, shall organize the Department of Welfare into such divisions or other units as will increase the effectiveness and efficiency with which its affairs are conducted. He shall not be limited in such organization by any provisions of law heretofore applicable to internal organization under the State Board of Welfare or the State Old Age Welfare Commission. The organization shall provide for, and the efforts of the Department shall be directed toward, the maximum degree of integration and consolidation consistent with satisfactory service to the citizens of the State.

Section 8. The Director of Welfare, with the concurrence of the Board of Welfare, shall promulgate rules and regulations for the interpretation of statutes or Federal regulations governing programs of public assistance and other programs of the Department and such other rules or regulations as may be necessary for the proper conduct of the business of the Department. The rules and regulations in effect governing the functions transferred by this Act shall continue in effect until amended or repealed by rules or regulations promulgated in accordance with this section.

Section 9, The Board of Welfare shall hear and determine appeals from administrative actions and decisions of the Director or other officers and employees of the Department, under rules of procedure which said Board shall adopt. The Board and its members shall have authority to compel the attendance of witnesses in conjunction with any such appeal and to administer oaths to such witnesses.

Section 10. The State Board of Welfare created by Chapter 97, Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, 1944-45, is hereby abolished. All functions, powers, authority, duties, and responsibilities heretofore assigned to or vested in the State Board of Welfare, or its predecessors, the State Board of Charities, created by Chapter 41, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, and the Mothers' Pension Commission, created by Chapter 39, Revised' Code of Delaware, 1935, and subsequently renamed the Aid to Dependent Children Commission, are hereby transferred to and vested in the Department of Welfare created by this Act.

Section 11. The State Old Age Welfare Commission, created by Chapter 54 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, is hereby abolished and all of its functions, powers, authority, duties, and responsibilities are hereby transferred to and vested in the Department of Welfare created by this Act.

Section 12. The State Welfare Home, heretofore operated under the jurisdiction and control of the State Old Age Welfare Commission, is hereby transferred to the jurisdiction and control of the Department of Welfare created by this Act. Said Home shall be continued in operation under the jurisdiction and control of said Department of Welfare.

Section 13. All appropriations made in the name of or available to the State Board of Welfare or the State Old Age Welfare Commission are hereby transferred to the Department of Welfare. Such Department may expend moneys under such appropriations without restriction to the specific purposes for which the appropriation was made.

Section 14. All records, files, money, choses in action, and other property, and all employees of the agencies whose functions are transferred by this Act to the Department of Welfare are hereby transferred to said Department of Welfare. The employees so transferred shall continue to perform the duties heretofore assigned until they are reassigned by authority of the Director to other duties.

Section 15. The Department of Welfare shall be the successor in every way to the board and commissions abolished by this Act under any contract or agreement between such agencies of the State and any agency of the Federal Government.

Section 16. Nothing in this Act shall interfere with the continued operation of a merit system of personnel administration for positions heretofore placed under such system by agreement between State and Federal authorities.

Section 17. All Acts and parts of Acts inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.

Section 18. This Act shall take effect July 1, 1951, or as soon thereafter as the Governor shall appoint the members of the Board of Welfare herein created.

Approved May 28, 1951.