Multnomah County Chair-elect Ted Wheeler announced his new team of incoming county department managers today, along with those who will serve in the inner sanctum of his office as his executive staff when he takes the beleaguered county's reins on Jan. 1.
For those with a strong appetite for wonkery, here's Wheeler's complete list of appointments, and his accompanying notes:
"# Department of Human Services – Joanne Fuller (taking the place of Interim director Rex Surface who has previously announced plans to retire)
# Department of Community Justice – Steve Liday – Interim
# Department of Administrative Services – Carol Ford (formerly serving as Interim)
# Department of Community Services – Cecilia Johnson
# Department of Library Services – Molly Raphael
# Department of Health Services – Lillian Shirley
By announcing the appointments now, the county will be poised to move rapidly once I take office. The appointments of Joanne Fuller and Steve Liday represent the most substantial change. Joanne will become the manager of the combined department in early January. Joanne has spent her career in Portland working in social services and community justice. She has been with Multnomah County for 18 years and the last five as Director of the Department of Community Justice. Joanne is recognized as a national leader of system change in juvenile reform and evidence-based practices. At Community Justice, she built an organization known for strategic focus of services, broad collaboration and results (including the decrease in recidivism of offenders.
I have asked her to bring these leadership skills to Human Services to improve our social services and treatment systems. While I know it is hard for Joanne to leave Community Justice, she leaves many capable leaders and a talented staff to continue Community Justice's good work. She brings with her a well-deserved reputation as a consummate manager of people and processes with a strong commitment to social justice. Her experience, calmness, and firmness will be invaluable as she helps with state advocacy for the elderly, mentally ill and people struggling with addiction who are our most vulnerable citizens.
Steve Liday has over 25 years experience working in corrections. Since 2003, he has been the Assistant Director of the Department of Community Justice in Multnomah County, Oregon, responsible for the Adult Services Division. From 1999-2003, he held the position of Director of Adult and Juvenile Community Corrections in Coos County, Oregon. Prior to that, he worked with the Oregon Department of Corrections and Coos County as a parole & probation officer, branch supervisor, and substance abuse program manager. Steve was President of the Oregon Association of Community Corrections Directors (OACCD) from 1995-1997 and received the OACCD President's Award in 2005. He has built excellent relationships inside and outside the department and will provide solid leadership during the budget and legislative discussions. Steve will not be a candidate for the permanent position, which should be filled late spring or early summer after a national search.
Office staff appointments:
Community Liaison: Hector Roche
Hector currently is the Manager of Organizational and Staff Development and Training in the County Health Department and co-chair of the Multnomah County Managers of Color group. Hector has been active in the Concordia neighborhood and NE Coalition of Neighborhoods where he is a known community leader. He is a trainer in the County in Facilitative Leadership. Hector has a reputation as a superb listener and facilitator of difficult processes and meetings.
Community Liaison: Johnell Bell
Johnell amazed our hiring panel with his maturity, experience, calmness and wisdom. Johnell attended Ball, Portsmouth, Benson schools and is graduating from Portland State this spring. He is the former student representative on the Portland School Board, Co-Director of the Youth Innovation Fund, and a Co-Chair of the Multnomah Commission on Children and Families. He is Project Manager and Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for Mayor Tom Potter's “Community Connect” project to increase citizen engagement with the City.
Senior Policy Analyst: Lolenzo Poe
Lolenzo is an experienced County and community leader, Lolenzo has been a department manager at the County for the last 13 years. He is a respected community leader, most recently serving four years on the Portland School Board. Lolenzo will have a policy role involving the development and presentation of key County initiatives to the community. These policies are likely to include the SUN system, initiatives on youth, alcohol and drug, and education issues.
Scheduler: Tara Bowen Biggs
Tara is currently the scheduler for Commissioner Serena Cruz Walsh. She brings a depth of knowledge about the County and our local partners. Prior to her work in the Commissioner's office, Tara was a pre-school teacher at Friendly House. She has mastered the difficult business of balancing the time of elected officials. She will make sure I am where I need to be, prepared, and on time.
Communications Director: Rhys Scholes
Rhys is fresh off managing the successful Portland Schools levy. Prior to that he was the director of Citizens for Oregon's Future an intensive, state wide effort to educate Oregonians on the impact of our current tax system and options for change. He knows the County and its policy issues well, having served as Beverly Stein's Communications Director and Senior Policy Advisor. Rhys brings an incredible depth of experience, analysis, humor, and passion for social justice to our office.
Already assisting Wheeler with his transition are:
Deputy Chief Operating Officer: Barbara Willer
Barbara returns to the County where she used to work on anti-poverty issues as part of the community action office. Most recently, Barbara was the executive director for the Portland Schools Alliance and managed my campaign for County Chair. Barbara is a skilled community organizer, communicator, and has a deep knowledge of a wide variety of issues that will be coming before the County. She will be working closely with Board members on our weekly agenda.
Chief Operating Officer: Bill Farver
Bill brings considerable experience to this role. He served as Executive Assistant to two Portland Superintendents over the past five years, and served in a similar administrative capacity for former Chair Beverly Stein for eight years. Bill will be responsible for the day to day operation of the County and to work with the Department managers to see that Board and Chair policy initiatives are effectively implemented."