August 10, 2004
Nicholas Names Two New Deputy Commissioners
John R. Nicholas, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), today announced the appointment of two new Deputy Commissioners to complete his executive team. John Michael ‘Mike’ Hall has been hired as Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Planning, Policy and Performance and Brenda Harvey has been hired as Deputy Commissioner for Programs.
“We are very fortunate to have the expertise and vision of these two dedicated public servants as we create our new department,” said Commissioner Nicholas. “Mike and Brenda will be valuable assets in our effort to deliver accessible and effective services to the people of Maine.”
Hall’s position is one newly created by the Commissioner and strategic planning will include a variety of responsibilities related to performance initiatives. They include resource development, policy coordination and quality improvement. Harvey will be responsible for all programs of the former Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services (BDS) on an interim basis while a new organizational structure for HHS is created. The Commissioner will be submitting a proposed plan to the legislature at the beginning of next year.
Hall, most recently the Commissioner of the Department of Prevention, Assistance, Transition and Health Access (PATH) in the State of Vermont, expressed enthusiasm about continuing his career in Maine. “I am excited to be part of Governor Baldacci’s effort to create a single point of entry for Maine families,” Hall said. “It makes sense that my new beginning here coincides with the new creation of HHS, and I look forward to making the new department one which is responsive to and respectful of the needs of Maine people.”
Hall’s responsibilities at PATH, Vermont’s largest department with a yearly budget of $700 million, included the administration of Medicaid, TANF, Food Stamps and General Assistance. During his tenure, Hall led the state’s efforts to control health care spending and improve access to prescription drugs for low-income persons. He also supervised an initiative to improve care to persons suffering from chronic diseases. Prior to joining Vermont State service, Hall directed the Elderly Law Unit of Vermont Legal Aid and for three years served as the State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care. Hall is a Master’s Graduate and Fellow from the Rutgers University, Eagleton Institute of Politics. He received his J.D. form the Washington University of St. Louis School of Law and his BA in Political Science and Economics from Blackburn College, Illinois.
Harvey, who was acting BDS Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner during the initial period when HHS was created, was similarly optimistic about her new assignment. “Maine people want programs that will empower them to live full and independent lives,” she added. “HHS can do that by strengthening families, building healthy communities and supporting healthy lifestyles, and I am delighted to be assisting in that mission.”
Harvey has thirty years of experience managing behavioral health and disability services programs, including nearly three years as the Director of the Office of Program Development. In between two terms of state service, Harvey worked for 13 years at the Maine Medical Center where she developed innovative employment programs for persons with disabilities. Harvey has authored a number of publications on the subject of ‘Supported Employment’, and has provided training on this subject to businesses throughout New England in addition to working on several state and national associations addressing this issue. She has also served as Chair of the Governor’s Mental Health Advisory Council and is a 2001 graduate of Leadership Maine. Harvey received her B.A. in Social Work from the University of Maine, Orono, and her Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Southern Maine.
Hall will commute on a weekly basis from Vermont while he, his wife and two teenaged children begin to look for a more permanent home in Maine. Harvey, an Aroostoock County native, lives in Gardiner with her husband and son.