(Updated) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy nominated a Madison resident and executive director of shoreline group homes to head the Department of Developmental Services Thursday morning.

Terrence Macy, executive director of SARAH Tuxis Residential & Community Resources, Inc. in Guilford for the past 20 years received the nomination Thursday morning at a Capitol press conference.

Macy will replace Peter O’Meara who has been in charge of the agency for the past 16 years. O’Meara planned to retire when former Gov. M. Jodi Rell left office, but agreed to stay on until Malloy was able to find a replacement.

During his 20 year tenure at SARAH Tuxis, Macy helped grow the organization from 24 clients to 114 clients served by a staff of close to 300. The budget at the same time grew from $1.4 million to $8 million. As head of the Department of Developmental Services Macy will be in charge of a staff of more than 3,600, a budget around $1 billion, and 19,000 clients.

Macy may be new to state government, but he’s familiar with the operations of the Department of Developmental Services, formerly known as the Department of Mental Retardation.

As head of SARAH Tuxis, Macy worked closely with the Department of Developmental Services to bring a person centered approach to serving the developmentally and intellectually disabled both in group homes and the community. He also worked with state officials on transitioning its master contract systems to a Medicaid rate based system and is currently a member of the agency’s legislative rate study committee.

Macy wasn’t a member of the Commission on Nonprofit Health and Human Services, which recently released this 119-page report that made 49 recommendations on how the state can improve its relationship with private nonprofit providers, but he’s intimately aware of the issues.

He’s also no stranger to the legislature. As chair of the Connecticut Nonprofit Public Policy Council, Macy has built strong personal relationships with lawmakers over the years.

“I have watched Terry Macy’s work with developmentally disabled persons for seven years, and I know that he will make a highly effective and compassionate commissioner,” said state Sen. Ed Meyer of Guilford, where SARAH Tuxis is located.

The Connecticut Community Providers Association applauded the fact that Malloy chose a nonprofit community-based provider to lead the Department of Developmental Services. 

“Dr. Macy has a great deal of experience supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and intellectual challenges,” CCPA said in a press release. “We look forward to working with him and his team in the months ahead to expand community-based services for people with disabilities, reduce administrative redundancies and provide cost savings to the state through the utilization of community-based services and supports.”

Ron Cretaro, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits, joined his colleagues in praising Macy’s nomination. He said while the DDS has a history of being open to community providers he’s confident Macy will open the door even further to providers.

Macy’s nomination is the second gesture Malloy has made to the private nonprofit community. The first was the appointment of Deb Heinrich to nonprofit liaison, a cabinet-level position created by Malloy.

Macy holds a masters and a doctorate in developmental disabilities and developmental psychology from Ohio State University. Prior to his 20 year tenure at SARAH Tuxis, Macy worked at DATAHR, which is currently Ability Beyond Disability. He will begin his new job on April 25. His salary will be $150,000.