Hours after announcing that the Commissioner of Higher Education would remain at his post, Gov.-elect Dan Malloy reappointed Patricia Rehmer as commissioner of the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services.
In a prepared statement, Malloy said Rehmer has been a leader in the mental health and addiction field and he is pleased she is willing to continue working as commissioner.
“Particularly because the population she serves relies on the continuity of service and programs DMHAS provides, I’m glad that she and I have a shared vision for the department and will continue her tenure uninterrupted,” he said.
Rehmer echoed Malloy’s concerns about the necessity of uninterrupted service for those suffering from addiction and mental health issues and said the services were especially important given the difficult economic climate.
According to the statement, Rehmer emphasized maximizing federal resources during her tenure, something Malloy has been encouraging as he looks for ways close next year’s $3.67 billion budget deficit.
Many in the addiction services field seem pleased with Rehmer’s reappointment. The Connecticut Community Providers Association, an advocacy group for people with disabilities and other challenges, released a statement Thursday praising the decision.
“Commissioner Rehmer has been a responsive and conscientious partner with community providers and the people they serve,” said Terry Edelstein, the group’s president and CEO. “We’re pleased that she will be joining with Gov.-elect Malloy and his administration to continue her good work in the years ahead.”
Rehmer also received the recommendation of Claire Phelan, chairman of the board of directors for Bridges, a Milford-based community support group.
Phelan recently wrote Malloy urging him to keep Rehmer in her current position and calling her an intelligent and envisioned leader.
Phelan said that in her over 20 years of work in the mental health care community, she has seen Connecticut as a national leader and model to other states in its delivery of services to its “;most vulnerable citizens.” She credits much of the success to Rehmer’s leadership.
“Commissioner Rehmer has brought commitment, an openness to informed opinion and research, and an understanding of mental illness and addictions,” she wrote. “She does all this with a keen awareness and understanding of the fiscal responsibilities to the state budget.”
Rehmer has more than 25 years experience at behavioral health agencies and has been the DMHAS commissioner since 2009. Prior to that she served as deputy commissioner for about five years.