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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2001

Governor Announces Public Aid Director Patla Will Not Seek Reappointment; Names Jackie Garner to Lead Agency

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan today announced Ann Patla, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Aid, will not seek reappointment to that position for personal reasons. The Governor has nominated Jackie Garner of Springfield to serve as Director of the agency.

"Ann Patla served this Administration and the people of this State with dedication, responsibility and compassion," Gov. Ryan said. "Under Ann's leadership, we have enrolled nearly 115,000 kids in the KidCare health insurance program in the last two years and the Department has stabilized operations of the child support payment system.

"I am disappointed to see Ann leave, but I respect her decision. Lura Lynn and I wish her well."

"This has been a very difficult decision for me, but one I had to make," Patla said. "It has been an honor for me to serve in the Ryan Administration. I wish to thank the many great people I have had the opportunity of working with in my capacity as Director. Most importantly, I truly appreciate the hard work and dedication of the employees of the Illinois Department of Public Aid. In these two years, we have made exceptional progress in providing health care coverage to children and pregnant mothers through the KidCare program - increasing enrollment five-fold. Although I have regrets about the early implementation of the State Disbursement Unit, I am pleased that we were able to bring stability to the system and increase reliability for the families that count on those payments."

Patla will continue to serve as Director of the agency through the end of February.

Jackie Garner brings to the Department of Public Aid a wealth of experience in human services - both on the front lines and as an executive. Garner currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor for Health & Human Services where she leads the Administration Governor Ryan's Health & Human Services Sub-cabinet.

She advises the Governor on state policy, on health and human services issues and specific program initiatives. Garner's career in human services stretches two decades, including not-for-profit work at Prevention First, Inc. a prevention organization. For eight years, she served as CEO and president of Prevention First, Inc. Garner also led the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependency Association as its CEO and President. In the State of California, Garner led the development of a $50 million children's health program for the California Endowment, a foundation created by the privatization of Blue Cross of California.

"Jackie Garner's career is one of providing assistance to Illinois families in need of a helping hand," Governor Ryan said. "Jackie's experience in the human service field includes more than a decade of executive management experience. She understands the great challenges that many of our people face in obtaining access to quality health care, and I have every confidence that she will do a great job for the people of Illinois."

"I am honored and humbled to receive this nomination from Governor Ryan to work on behalf of families throughout Illinois," Garner said. "Throughout my career, I have witnessed the importance of state government programs to improving the everyday lives of our citizens. I understand state government must operate with its head and its heart, and I look forward to helping the families of this state toward a brighter tomorrow. I am honored by the Governor's trust and will work diligently to keep the public's trust."

Garner, 47, resides in Springfield with her husband, Jim. They have one daughter, Jesse.



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