Courtesy of the governor's office
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday nominated Morna Murray, head of the Connecticut Community Providers Association, to lead the state Department of Developmental Services.

Malloy announced the nomination during a news conference at the state Capitol. Murray is the president and CEO of an organization of private, nonprofit providers who serve Connecticut’s neediest residents largely with state funding.

The governor said Murray’s background made her well suited to head the state agency, which serves more than 19,000 residents with developmental disabilities.

“Morna has served as an advocate for children, adults, and families in areas of developmental disabilities, health care, behavioral health, early childhood, and child and family well-being,” Malloy said. “She will be a strong advocate and use her experience to make sure the community receives the support and services that they need.”

Murray has previously worked as senior counsel to U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr., D-PA, and held leadership roles in two Washington-based organizations, including the Children’s Defense Fund and First Focus. She said nonprofit advocacy and and government work were two sides of the same coin.

“I’ve been inside government and outside government during my career so I’ve seen both sides and I’ve learned both sides,” she said. “Both sides serve a very useful and necessary purpose. My goal is to serve the people of Connecticut with disabilities. As an advocate, I did the same thing.”

Murray’s nomination requires legislative approval but she is expected to begin work at the agency on Feb. 9. She will succeed Terrence Macy as commissioner of the department and will make a salary of $168,000 per year.

In a statement, Andrea M. Ferrucci, chairman of CCPA’s board of directors, congratulated Murray but said the association was sorry to lose her.

“Morna’s policy experience, combined with her management and political skills, have helped focus CCPA’s mission. We know that Morna will continue her drive to deliver the support and services that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families need and deserve with the same enthusiasm,” Ferrucci said.

SEIU 1199 New England President David Pickus said the union of healthcare workers looked forward to working with Murray on service issues and labor problems.

“There are many challenges ahead with over 2,000 individuals on the department’s waiting list and worker’s salaries stagnant for seven years. We look forward to helping find a solution to these important issues,” Pickus said in a statement.