CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich called upon the newly-named directors of three agencies whose appointments he announced today to carry out his agenda for change within the offices they will be running.
He also said that they will be assigned to help him lead a government that carries out its key functions while recognizing the need to streamline operations in a period of fiscal crisis.
“I am directing the people whom I am appointing today-- and all of those who will serve in my administration-- to help me carry out my vision for change. They will each play a role in creating a government that works for all the people of Illinois, while doing more with less,” he said.
The three appointees named today by the governor will serve as the new directors of the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Revenue. Each of the appointees-- Gary N. Wright, Carol L. Adams and Brian A. Hamer-- brings to the new position extensive experience in their fields.
Blagojevich cited the three individuals’ talents and expertise as key factors in their selections, as well as their willingness to help him change the way Springfield operates.
“In their specific roles, these three leaders will be assigned to provide key services to people and families at the community-level, to ensure the safety of Illinoisans and the effective use of our power facilities, and to serve all taxpayers and help address Illinois’ fiscal crisis through an efficient and fair collection of revenues,” he said.
“In a larger respect, I have also selected Gary, Carol and Brian because I am confident that they will combine their impressive backgrounds in their respective fields with a fresh approach to doing business,” he said.
The appointments Blagojevich announced on Tuesday are:
Gary N. Wright – Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety (IDNS)
A resident of Springfield, Wright possesses more than three decades of experience in nuclear power safety. He possesses extensive experience in the IDNS, dating back to the earliest days of the department.
Wright currently serves as manager of the office of Nuclear Facility Safety within the IDNS. In his current role, he is responsible for administering the state’s nuclear power safety programs.
Among his prior accomplishments was the key role that he played in the creation of the IDNS during the early 1980s. He assisted in drafting legislation to create the department, defining its mission and carrying out other tasks necessary to enable the IDNS to begin operations. He served as interim Acting Director of the department for six months in 1983.
During the 1970s, he served as chief of the division for nuclear safety within the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Wright serves on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s task force on reactor oversight changes. As a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency training team, he also provided emergency response training to plant operators in former Soviet republics.
He earned his master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois in 1965.
Carol L. Adams – Department of Human Services (DHS)
An experienced human services administrator credited with developing award-winning community-based initiatives, Adams has served since 2000 as the executive director of the Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University.
In that role, she serves as the administrator of the school’s southside campus, which offers graduate and undergraduate programs and serves as focus of activity in the community. She has helped raise much-needed funds for the educational, technology and cultural programs, and helped organize forums for local leaders and the interfaith community.
Adams served as the director of the Chicago Housing Authority’s division of resident services and programs from 1989-1996. At the CHA, she eventually managed 13 separate departments with 400 full-time employees, more than 1,000 seasonal workers and a budget of $500 million. Her division was the only area within the CHA to receive the highest ratings possible from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Adams helped create or implement several award-winning programs while at the CHA, including programs to combat drug and alcohol abuse, conflict resolution programs for children, and after-school recreation opportunities. She also helped establish the Mental Health Roundtable / Crisis Response Team, which provided residents of public housing with important counseling in the wake of traumatic events that occurred in CHA residential units.
She also served as the director of the city’s Museums and Public Schools program (1998-2000); as director of the African-American studies programs at Loyola University (1981-1988); and as director of research and planning at the Neighborhood Institute, a division of South Shore Bank (1978-1980).
Adams holds graduate degrees in sociology from three institutions, including the University of Chicago. She earned her Ph.D. in 1976.
Brian A. Hamer – Department of Revenue
Currently the first deputy director of the City of Chicago’s Department of Revenue, Hamer has played key roles in improving customer service and enhancing revenue collections. His duties also include leading the department’s policy, legislative and legal matters.
From 1990-1997, he was chief assistant Corporation Counsel for the city’s law department. In that capacity, he directed the city’s legal effort to collect delinquent taxes, resulting in revenues of more than $100 million. He also oversaw policy for settling tax disputes and modernized the city’s tax code. He previously worked at the firm of Mayer Brown and Platt.
Hamer earned his undergraduate degree from Yale, and received his law degree from Columbia University, where he was editor of the school’s law review.
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Blagojevich said that he will call upon the new directors to “spread my message of reform and service to all employees in their departments,” he said.
“Their first job is to share with all of their employees that this administration is committed to bringing about dramatic change to the state government, and we expect every employee shares our dedication to reform,” Blagojevich said.
Underscoring the new governor’s commitment to reforming state government and streamlining government, Blagojevich earlier this week terminated the employment of individuals holding 28 positions that were filled in the closing weeks of the previous administration—in addition to 35 Ryan administration appointees who were removed during Blagojevich’s first week in office.
Since taking office, the new governor has taken other steps aimed at dramatically reforming state government. Last week, he called for strengthening ethics training and investigations within state government. Previously, he froze the ability of agency heads to acquire new cars or pad the state payroll and called for a review of projects funded through members’ initiatives.