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Roane County’s Jim Henry has been named interim commissioner of the Department of Children’s Services after the resignation of Kate O’Day.
O’Day had been hit with heavy questioning in the deaths of children who had been involved with DCS.
“Kate has informed me that she felt the time was right to step down,” Gov. Bill Halam announced in a press release Tuesday.
“She was concerned that she had become more of a focus than the children the department serves,” the governor said. “She has done a lot of good work in identifying longstanding problems that have hampered the department, and we will build on those efforts as we move forward.”
Henry, a former state representative and Kingston mayor, is already the first director of the state’s Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. He has been a longtime advocate for those with disabilities. He has firsthand knowledge of their challenges because of his late son, John.
“I am grateful to Jim for agreeing to take on this interim role,” Haslam continued. “He has significant experience both in the private and public sectors.”
Haslam said he will immediately begin searching for a new commissioner of DCS.