HARRISBURG, Pa. (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA/AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration wants to consolidate four state agencies into a single department as the first-term Democratic governor deals with a massive budget deficit.

An email sent to state employees late Friday afternoon said the departments of Human Services, Health, Aging and Drug and Alcohol Programs would become one new agency. The plan was formally announced on Monday.

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The administration says the four departments serve similar and sometimes overlapping populations, and that combining them will result in more effective collaboration and delivery of services. But last week, the former Secretary of Drug and Alcohol, Gary Tennis, told reporters he believes such a merger would have the opposite effect.

“Most of what I did I was able to do quickly and effectively because I’m a secretary,” said Tennis

Tennis claims he was dismissed because he opposes the consolidation plan. The Wolf administration says there would continue to be a cabinet-level position dedicated to battling the opioid crisis.

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The governor’s office declined to provide more specifics, including whether the consolidation would result in major job cuts.

The new unified agency would be called the Department of Health and Human Services.

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