Department of Developmental Services Commissioner Morna Murray is resigning at the beginning of the new year, according to a statement from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office.
Murray, who joined the department in February 2015, said she will continue to serve until a replacement is found.
The department has recently come under fire from labor unions and families of the developmentally disabled for layoffs of state employees, which accompanied a decision to privatize 30 group homes.
Murray announced in August that the state was moving forward with a plan to convert 30 group homes to private operation by Jan. 1, 2017. The agency also closed two regional centers in Meriden and Stratford. The plan is expected to save the agency $42 million in 2017 and $70 million in 2018.
In Connecticut 94 percent of the 16,742 individuals with intellectual disabilities DDS supports receive services from community providers, with fewer than 1,000 individuals receiving care in state-run homes and 15,000 receiving care in nonprofit homes.
In October, the Connecticut State Employees Association, SEIU Local 2001 and New England Health Care Employees Union District 1199 sought an injunction in Hartford Superior Court to stop the privatization from moving forward until negotiations are completed.
On Thursday, Malloy thanked Murray for her service.
“Commissioner Murray is a diligent public servant whose skills and experience have been a tremendous asset to DDS and to the State of Connecticut,” Malloy said. “DDS has seen transformative change under her leadership, including expanding work opportunities, increasing the number of individuals who direct their own care, and implementing a long-term transition of a significant number of state-run residential and day services to high-quality community providers. Her staunch advocacy for the comprehensive needs of children and adults with disabilities will have a lasting effect.”
In a press release provided by Malloy’s office, Murray said it’s been an honor to serve.
“I am proud of the progress we have made in the last two years, and the bridges that DDS – in collaboration with individuals, families, and providers – have built to a more sustainable future for service delivery in our state in multiple areas,” Murray said. “These include the transition of day and residential services to high quality community providers, increased employment opportunities, and the empowerment of individuals to make decisions about their own care.”
In her resignation letter to Malloy, Murray said it’s been an honor to serve “during a time of great transformation.”
“The changes you have envisioned and entrusted to my stewardship are critical,” Murray wrote. “While challenging, they will, in the long run, allow Connecticut to serve more people, a goal we all share.”