An associate professor at the Kennedy School of Government will begin a high-ranking position with the New York State Department of Social Services today.
Taking a two-year leave of absence, Mary Jo Bane, who specializes in distribution of social service funds, will administer an $11 billion dollar budget for welfare, Medicaid, child welfare, and adult social services, as executive deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services.
Bane could not be reached for comment last night.
The associate professor of Public Policy's mid-year departure has forced the school to make hasty adjustments in its spring teaching lineup for the Public Policy program.
Only Executive Dean Hale Champion and the recently deceased Manny Carballo, who served as secretary of human services for Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, had comparable knowledge of the delivery of social services. Assistant Dean Cal Moseley, in charge of the Public Policy program, said he expects to spend the next five months finding a possible substitute for Bane.
"She really is superb," Moseley said. "We'll miss her, but it's the state of New York's gain. And it looks good for the Kennedy School."
"It will be easy to cover for her in the spring," Moseley said. "Her major teaching load is then, so now we'll just have a shift to have her responsibilities covered."
Be a Soldier
Meanwhile, Assistant Professor David Ellwood, who team-taught "Introduction to Human Resources Policy" with Bane this spring, will "have to roll up his sleeves and dig in," Moseley said. Other members of the program will take over Bane's thesis advisees.
The Public Policy program has tried to put together "a blend of studies," Moseley said, adding that in terms of numbers of faculty, "Frankly, we're just not there yet. If she had left in the fall we'd be in trouble." Bane taught two courses alone in the fall, the bulk of her teaching responsibilities.
She began talking with officials in New York state government last fall, meeting with higher level officials for more serious discussions in January. Towards mid-January she met with senior level K-School faculty to plan her options. In early February, Bane gave notice of her intention to take a leave of absence.
Get Out'a Here
It is not unusual for members of the K-School faculty to take time off to work in public service. In fact, officials say, it is encouraged. "It looks good for us to have our people working in positions like that," David Irons, director of external affairs at the K-School, said.
Bane's position will put her in charge of a staff of several thousand employees, including eight deputy commissioners throughout New York State. The State of California and the Federal Government are "the only better chances larger than a Third World country in that regard," Moseley said.
Bane served as deputy assistant secretary for program planning and analysis with the U.S. Department of Education, before coming to the K-School in 1981.
She recently published "The State and the Poor," a book she co-authored with Carballo, who many considered her mentor.
Bane plans to return in 1986, in according with University policy which allows faculty members to take up to two years leave for public sector work