Kay Ivey appoints Lynn Beshear Mental Health Commissioner; announces staff changes

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Alabama Governor Kay Ivey appointed Lynn Beshear as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health on Thursday.

“I am honored to appoint Lynn Beshear as Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health,” said Ivey. “Through active participation in securing mental health services in the River Region, Lynn understands the complexities of the Department, and the importance of its work on behalf of the people of Alabama.”

Beshear moved from Kentucky to Montgomery in 1978 and has been a key player in the city’s positive development ever since. She has previously served on the board of directors for organizations and establishments including Montgomery Academy, United Way, First United Methodist Church and others. She currently serves on the board of Joint Public Charity Hospital, Montgomery Metro YMCA, and the AUM School of Liberal Arts Advisory Board. She is a founding member of Envision 2020 and currently serves as its Executive Director.

“I did not seek out this position, but I am honored to be chosen to serve my fellow Alabamians,”Beshear stated in a press release. “I am excited to work with Governor Ivey, her Cabinet, the Legislature, and the professionals within the Department of Mental Health, to provide excellent services for Alabamians with mental illness, those who are developmentally delayed, and those who struggle with substance abuse.”

Among other honors, Beshear was named the Montgomery Advertiser Woman of Achievement in 1993, and received the Maury D. Smith Excellence in Professional Ethics Award in 2016.

As Commissioner, Beshear will work toward developing new polices and strive to better existing programs.

Ivey also accepted the resignations of Dr. Joanne Hale, as Acting Secretary of the Office of Information Technology, and Neal Morrison, as Commissioner of Senior Services on Thursday. The governor was also notified that Emergency Management Director Art Faulkner will retire effective September 5, 2017. Replacements for these positions have been identified and will be announced in the coming days.

Additionally, she accepted the resignations of staff members, Director of Appointments and Scheduling Director. Daniel Sparkman, has been promoted to Press Secretary, replacing Eileen Jones.

“I am thankful for the staff members who stayed on to help us make it through this quick transition,” Ivey added. “I am also especially thankful to Eileen Jones for her willingness to join my administration early on to help us get our feet on the ground and off to an effective start; I wish her well in her future endeavors.”

The Governor’s Office said they do not anticipate any additional changes to the Cabinet or staff as the Ivey Administration finishes taking shape.

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