By Mark Sabbatini
Juneau Empire 

State director leaves job amid backlog of unanswered food stamp applications


January 18, 2023

A monthslong backlog in processing food stamps applications is now the responsibility of a new director.

Shawnda O’Brien, who had served as director of Alaska’s Division of Public Assistance, departed with no explanation or indication of moving on to another position, according to an email sent Jan. 9 by Department of Health Commissioner Heidi Hedberg to department employees.

Hedberg did not mention the food stamp problems that have received widespread media coverage in recent weeks and stated twice in her message that staff transitions within departments are common at the start of the...

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