Governor Carney Announces Leadership Changes at Department of Health and Social Services

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday announced that Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker will leave her current role as the head of the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) this summer to join Nemours’ National Office of Policy and Prevention in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Walker, who has served as Secretary of the largest agency in Delaware’s state government since February 2017, is

Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services

leaving her position to fulfill a desire to pursue health care policy work at the national level. She will serve in Nemours’ Washington office as Senior Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer. In addition to leading the Department of Health and Social Services’ ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary Walker has led work at DHSS to:

  • Develop first-in-the-nation health care spending and quality benchmarks in Delaware while slowing the growth rate of health care spending;
  • Establish a reinsurance program in Delaware that reduced premiums by up to 19% on the individual insurance market in its first year and increased the number of people with coverage;
  • Fund a reduction in a long-standing wait list for services among seniors and adults with physical disabilities;
  • Create new Medicaid managed care contracts that embed paying for value in health care instead of volume and include quality metrics;
  • Hire former Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings to head the Group Violence Intervention program;
  • Establish the Delaware Integrated Data System to support individuals and families in Wilmington impacted by violence;
  • Expand the Community Partner Support Unit to address social service needs for individuals and families in the communities in which the unit serves;
  • Reduce the barriers to individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorder, including launching an online treatment referral system;
  • Launch the My Healthy Community web portal, encouraging communities to assess the overall health of their residents for chronic diseases, mental illness and substance use, maternal and child health, and now COVID-19;
  • Train more than 1,000 front-line employees in a trauma-informed approach;
  • Raise the age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 and make healthy beverages the default drink in kids’ meals; and
  • Expand Medicaid dental coverage to adults, including individuals with disabilities.

“Since the day I took office as Governor, Dr. Walker has been a central part of the most qualified and diverse cabinet in Delaware’s history,” said Governor Carney. “Over the last several years, she has managed our health and social services programs with grace, poise, and with a steadfast focus on helping the Delawareans who are most in need. Kara’s compassionate leadership has been so incredibly important this year, as Delaware has grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. Her leadership during this difficult time has saved lives, and helped Delaware respond successfully to this disease. Now we all need to do our part. Stay socially distant. Wear a face covering. Kara’s voice and leadership will be sorely missed in Delaware, but I’m confident she will continue to do great things at Nemours.”

“It was an incredible honor to be chosen by Governor Carney to lead the team at DHSS and to be entrusted with meeting the needs of the people of Delaware,” said Dr. Walker. “It has been one of the highlights of my life to come back to my home state and lead the dedicated team of women and men here at DHSS. During the pandemic, I witnessed our team come together as never before and figure out new ways of meeting the health and social service needs of the people we are sworn to serve. I am grateful to the Governor’s office, our fellow state agencies, the legislators, community partners and residents of Delaware for the faith they had in me and our entire Department. While I know that we advanced many health and social service policies during my tenure, I will always wish that I had more time, because there is more work to address health equity, health care costs and access to care up and down our state, but particularly for vulnerable populations.”

Governor Carney will nominate Molly Magarik, who currently serves as Deputy Secretary of DHSS, to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services.

The agency, with 11 divisions and more than 4,000 employees, is responsible for meeting the health and social service needs of Delawareans by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency and protecting vulnerable populations.

The Delaware Senate is expected to consider Deputy Secretary Magarik’s nomination later this month.

“Molly is a proven leader, a problem solver, and a committed public servant who has been second-in-command at DHSS for the last three and a half years,” said Governor Carney. “Throughout her career, and especially as Deputy Secretary, Molly built important relationships and trust with members of the General Assembly, our health care systems, agency staff, and Delawareans throughout the state. As we continue to fight COVID-19, I’m confident Molly will be able to lead this department without missing a beat, while continuing our work to make Delaware a stronger and healthier state. I look forward to the Senate considering her nomination.”

“I am truly humbled and incredibly honored to be nominated by Governor Carney as the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services,” said Deputy Secretary Magarik. “I am grateful to the Governor for the trust and faith he has in me to lead this agency, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to serve in his Cabinet. I thank Secretary Walker for her leadership and guidance, and for the inspiring way she had led our Department for more than three years with an innovative spirit, a caring heart and an incredible commitment to improving the quality of life for Delawareans.”

Magarik has served as Deputy Secretary since February 2017, directing and managing key priorities for DHSS, including health care financing, payment and delivery system reform; budget administration and management; and early childhood education. She also served as the Department’s chief strategy officer, and developed and maintained critical partnerships with Delaware cabinet agency leaders, the legislature, the federal delegation, advocates, and health care system leadership throughout the state.

Before joining DHSS, Magarik served as State Director for then Congressman John Carney and Political Director for Beau Biden’s campaign for Attorney General. She also worked as a strategic advisor across nonprofits and government, including as Executive Director of the Delaware Democratic Party. She is a candidate for a Master’s of Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College, and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Government from the University of Delaware. She and her husband, Josh, have two daughters and live in Middletown. 

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Governor Carney Announces Leadership Changes at Department of Safety and Homeland Security

Secretary Robert Coupe, Department of Safety and Homeland Security

WILMINGTON, Del. –  Governor John Carney announced on Friday that Secretary Robert Coupe – a longtime leader in Delaware law enforcement – will step down from his current role as the head of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security next month to join the Office of the Attorney General.

“There are few people across our state who are more well-respected, and more committed to serving the people of Delaware, than Secretary Coupe,” said Governor Carney. “When I was elected Governor in 2016, he was the clear choice to lead the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. He spent almost three decades at the Delaware State Police, rising through the ranks to become Superintendent, and later took on the unique and difficult challenge of leading the Department of Correction. There is simply no one more prepared to help Attorney General Jennings lead the Department of Justice. I look forward to continuing to work together with Secretary Coupe to protect the safety and welfare of Delaware communities.”

“It was an honor to be selected by Governor Carney as the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security and to have served alongside the members of the Governor’s Cabinet,” said Secretary Coupe. “I am grateful to have had the privilege to work with the dedicated women and men of the DSHS. Their devoted service was an inspiration for me to be at my best and to earn the right to lead such a talented group of people working to ensure the safety and security of Delaware.”  

Governor Carney will nominate Colonel Nathaniel McQueen, Jr., who currently leads the Delaware State Police, to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

The agency has responsibility for protecting the safety and welfare of all Delawareans, overseeing the Delaware State Police, the Capitol Police, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, the Office of Highway Safety, and the State Council for Persons with Disabilities, among other divisions.

The Delaware Senate is expected to consider Colonel McQueen’s nomination in March.

“A real public servant and a natural leader, Colonel McQueen is the right choice to serve as our next Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security,” said Governor Carney. “I’ve known Colonel McQueen a long time, and I know he has dedicated his career to law enforcement, to protecting our communities, and to keeping Delawareans safe. Colonel McQueen has the right skill set and temperament to continue building trust between Delaware law enforcement and the communities they serve, and I look forward to the Senate considering his nomination.”

“I am truly humbled and honored to be nominated by Governor Carney as the next Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security,” said Colonel McQueen. “I am grateful for his trust and confidence in me to lead and serve as a member of his Cabinet. I thank Secretary Coupe for his leadership and guidance. He has been a true inspiration to us all.”

Colonel McQueen has led the Delaware State Police since 2012, during a time of reductions in violent crime statewide. Over the last decade, violent crime in Delaware communities has fallen 27 percent, according to data released in September by Delaware’s Statistical Analysis Center. Property crime is down 25 percent.

Colonel McQueen joined the Delaware State Police in 1988 and has served as Operations Major managing all troops statewide. He also served as Troop Commander at Troop 1 (Penny Hill), Troop 2 (Bear), and Troop 9 (Odessa). Colonel McQueen was a member of the Delaware State Police’s Critical Incident Stress Management Team, and he served for a time as the agency’s sketch artist.

Before he was nominated by Governor Carney to lead the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Coupe served as the Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction under Governor Jack Markell from 2013-2017.

He previously spent more than 28 years at the Delaware State Police, including more than three years leading the state police as Superintendent. During his career as a State Trooper, Coupe worked as a detective in the Major Crimes and Homicide units, a drill instructor at the training academy, a Patrol Sergeant, and an Internal Affairs investigator.

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Governor Carney to Nominate Claire DeMatteis as DOC Commissioner

DeMatteis has helped lead reform efforts at Department of Correction

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday announced his intention to nominate Claire DeMatteis – a former senior counsel to then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden – as the next Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction.

The nomination will require approval by the Delaware Senate. DeMatteis would replace Commissioner Perry Phelps, who will retire on July 15. DeMatteis would be the first female Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction.

“For much of the last two years, Claire has worked side-by-side with Commissioner Phelps to lead reform efforts at the Department of Correction – to make our facilities safer, to invest in new equipment and training, and to recruit correctional officers to do one of the toughest jobs in state government,” said Governor Carney. “Over three decades of experience in government and the private sector, Claire has worked closely with community leaders, legislators and law enforcement officials and has earned their respect and trust. I have full confidence that Claire’s experience and leadership qualities will serve our state well at the Department of Correction. I look forward to the Senate considering her nomination.”

In June 2017, Governor Carney appointed DeMatteis to serve as his Special Assistant at the Department of Correction. In that role, DeMatteis worked alongside Commissioner Phelps, and led implementation of Governor Carney’s plan following the Independent Review into the events of February 1, 2017 at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

Governor Carney’s plan included a 22 percent increase in starting pay for correctional officers; significant investments in new technology, equipment and training; the creation of a Labor-Management Committee to more effectively recruit officers and decrease mandatory overtime; and renewed efforts to help inmates successfully re-enter their communities.

Currently, DeMatteis is serving as Special Assistant coordinating comprehensive re-entry initiatives across six state agencies, including the Departments of Correction, Education, Labor, and Health and Social Services.

“If confirmed by the State Senate, I look forward to working with the women and men of the Delaware Department of Correction to continue to strengthen safety and security, officer recruitment and retention, and programming and services for inmates, as well as implement a coordinated path of services from an offender’s entry into prison through release back into our communities,” said DeMatteis. “It would be an honor to lead the state’s largest law enforcement agency of dedicated correctional officers and probation and parole officers.”

The Delaware Senate is expected to consider Governor Carney’s nomination of DeMatteis this month.

From 2008-2016, DeMatteis served as General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer of two multi-billion dollar corporations. Previously, DeMatteis spent four years at Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, a Mid-Atlantic law firm with offices in Wilmington. She was partner in charge of the firm’s Delaware office from 2007-2008.

During her decade working as senior counsel for then-Senator Biden, from 1994-2004, DeMatteis served as a member of a senior team on issues involving law enforcement, women’s rights, civil rights and constitutional matters. She helped guide campaign strategy, managed constituent communications and drafted legislation.

Most recently, DeMatteis served in a senior role at the Delaware Department of Labor, where she helped navigate a resolution to the recent data breach at the department, keeping the media, public and legislators well informed on the state’s response and structural reforms to prevent future breaches. DeMatteis began her career working in the Delaware State Senate from 1984-1987 as a Page and Calendar Clerk. She has served state elected officials from both parties, including as legal assistant to then-Governor Mike Castle.

DeMatteis earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, and holds a law degree from Widener University Delaware Law School.

 

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Governor Carney’s Statement on Senate Confirmation of Brigadier General Michael Berry

DOVER, Del. Governor John Carney on Wednesday issued the following statement on the Delaware Senate’s confirmation of Brigadier General Michael Berry as the next Adjutant General for the Delaware National Guard:

“Thank you to the members of the Delaware Senate for confirming Brigadier General Michael Berry to the position of Adjutant General. Delaware is fortunate to have a leader of Brigadier General Berry’s caliber prepared to lead the Delaware National Guard. He’s a dedicated public servant who walks the talk— as he has for our state for nearly 30 years with Delaware State Police and in service with the Guard. We are confident that Brigadier General Berry will continue the tradition of exceptional leadership in the Delaware National Guard.”

Berry will replace current Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Carol Timmons. Timmons has announced her retirement, effective March 2019, when she will complete 42 years military service.

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Governor Carney Plans to Nominate General Michael Berry as Next Adjutant General of Delaware National Guard

Major General Carol Timmons slated to retire in March 2019

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney has selected Brig. Gen. Michael Berry as the next Adjutant General for the Delaware National Guard.

Adjutant General is a Cabinet position and Governor Carney’s nomination of General Berry must be confirmed by the Delaware Senate. Berry would replace current Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Carol Timmons. Timmons has announced her retirement, effective March 2019, when she will complete 42 years military service.

“General Timmons is a pioneer and made a significant impact during her 42 years of military service,” said Governor Carney. “She will be missed, but we wish her and her family all the best in retirement. Delaware is fortunate to have a leader of General Mike Berry’s caliber prepared to take the reins. Mike is a great fit and would continue the tradition of exceptional leadership in the Delaware National Guard.”

Berry is a combat veteran, with 30 years military service. He currently serves as the Director of the Delaware National Guard’s Joint Staff and is responsible for efforts in Domestic Operations and Military Support to Civil Authorities. Prior to serving as Director of the Joint Staff, he was assigned as the Delaware Army National Guard’s Land Component Commander. In that role, he was responsible for organizational planning, training, and support to combatant commanders. He holds a number of commands at the Brigade, Battalion and Company level, and in 2010, was the commander of the Delaware Army National Guard Embedded Training Team and lead a deployment to Bamyan, Afghanistan. During that year-long tour, he and his team were was responsible for training Afghanistan National Police and Defense Forces in the province.

Berry was a Lieutenant, and recently retired after 28 years from the Delaware State Police as Deputy Troop Commander, Delaware State Police Troop 4 in Georgetown.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Delaware, where he earned his commission through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.

Timmons has served as Adjutant General for the Delaware National Guard since February 2017 and will retire after a combined 42 years military service in the Delaware Army National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and Delaware Air National Guard. She is a veteran of seven overseas combat deployments and has more than 400 combat flight hours. She is a pilot with more than 5,200 hours flying UH-1 “Huey” helicopters, and C-141 & C-130 aircrafts.

Prior to serving as the Adjutant General, Timmons worked full time for United Airlines.

Timmons earned her commission in 1980 at Officer Candidate School, Fort Benning, Georgia, where she graduated with honors. She received an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Delaware Technical Community College and later named a Distinguished Alumna in 2012. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Wilmington University, as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. She is a 2006 graduate of the U.S. Air Force War College.

She is the Delaware National Guard’s first female two-star general and first female Adjutant General. She chairs the National Guard’s Joint Diversity Executive Council, and serves on both the Air Force Reserve Policy Committee and the Board of the National Guard Association of the United States. She is a member of the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame and Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame.

 

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Click here for a photo of Brigadier General Michael Berry.