Governor appoints Commissioner Jim Henry as interim
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Kate O’Day has resigned from her post.
“Kate has informed me that she felt the time was right to step down,” Haslam said. “She was concerned that she had become more of a focus than the children the department serves.
I appreciate Kate’s service to this administration and to our state. She has done a lot of good work in identifying longstanding problems that have hampered the department, and we will build on those efforts as we move forward.”
O’Day joined the Haslam administration in January 2011. Prior to that, she served as president and chief executive officer of Child and Family Tennessee in Knoxville. She began her career as a youth counselor with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida and later served as vice president of program development and evaluation for Children’s Home Society of Florida and director of program services for Covenant House of Florida.
The governor has named Commissioner Jim Henry, who currently heads up the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, to serve as interim commissioner of DCS.
“I am grateful to Jim for agreeing to take on this interim role,” Haslam continued. “He has significant experience both in the private and public sectors and has devoted the better part of his life to caring for some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Henry is the first commissioner of DIDD, which was formerly a division of the Department of Finance and Administration before becoming a state department on Jan. 15, 2011. Before joining the Haslam administration, Henry served as president and chief executive officer of Omni Visions, Inc, a company serving adults with developmental disabilities and children and families in crisis. A Vietnam veteran and former mayor of Kingston, Henry spent 12 years as a state representative and six of those years as minority leader.
Henry will continue to serve as commissioner of DIDD during his interim role of leading DCS. The governor will immediately begin a search for a new commissioner of DCS.