Governor Carney Announces Leadership Change at Delaware Department of Human Resources (DHR)

WILMINGTON, Del. –  Governor John Carney on Friday announced that Amy Bonner, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Human Resources (DHR), will leave her position next month to pursue another opportunity.

Dr. Jessilene Corbett, Deputy Secretary of DHR, will serve as Acting Secretary until a replacement is nominated and confirmed by the Delaware Senate.

“Amy has a long record of distinguished service in state government and has served the people of Delaware well. That’s been especially true throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which presented unprecedented challenges for our state workforce,” said Governor Carney. “We’ll miss Amy’s leadership and expertise in the Cabinet, but wish her well in her next role.”

Bonner has accepted a position with the Caesar Rodney School District.

Prior to her Senate confirmation as DHR Secretary, Bonner served as Deputy Director of the Delaware Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where she oversaw financial operations, information technology and human resources.

Previously, Bonner served for five years as the Deputy Director for the Division of Human Resources Management, where she directed employment services, Equal Employment Opportunity, and policy development for the division.

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Governor to Nominate Eugene Young as Director of Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA)

Director Anas Ben Addi is leaving for Chief Financial Officer position at Delaware State University

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday announced he will nominate Eugene Young, Jr., currently the President and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League (MWUL), as the next Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA).

Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority
Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority

The Delaware Senate is expected to consider Governor Carney’s nomination on June 23. If confirmed by the Senate, Young would replace Director Anas Ben Addi, who has led Delaware’s housing and community development agency since 2009 and is leaving to become Chief Financial Officer at Delaware State University.

“I know Eugene well and I know he’s committed to strengthening the City of Wilmington and communities across Delaware, which is at the core of DSHA’s mission,” said Governor Carney. “He is the ideal candidate to take on this position and I’m confident he will build on progress to make affordable, safe housing accessible for all Delawareans. I also want to thank Director Ben Addi, who led DSHA through the foreclosure crisis in 2009 and has broadened the agency’s mission to include community and economic development efforts statewide. His leadership will be missed, and we wish him well at DSU.”

Young has served as President and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League since 2017. He also founded the grassroots organizing nonprofit Network Delaware, served as an aide in the Delaware General Assembly, and also as an aide to former Mayor and current U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

“I am truly thankful for the opportunity to serve our state in this important role,” said Eugene Young, Jr. “As we continue to work our way out of this pandemic, accessible and affordable housing will be critical in our recovery. I look forward to working with the legislature, community, and key stakeholders to carry on the great work of Director Ben Addi and the incredible DSHA team.”

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Delaware as Director of DSHA for the last 12 years, and I am incredibly proud of the work our dedicated team at DSHA has accomplished during my tenure,” said Director Ben Addi. “I’m excited to take on this new challenge as Chief Financial Officer with Delaware State University and look forward to helping advance the mission of the university as a center for teaching, research and public service.”

Ben Addi was confirmed as Director of DSHA by the Delaware Senate in January 2009. During his time as Director, Ben Addi broadened the agency’s community development work, overseeing the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund to assist blighted neighborhoods statewide after the foreclosure crisis. He also oversaw the creation of the Downtown Development Districts program, which incentivizes investments in downtown areas statewide.

Previously, he served as Housing Finance Director for the agency, overseeing mortgage finance and affordable housing finance programs.

“Anas Ben Addi is an exceptionally talented public servant,” said Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University. “He has used his vast experience in housing finance and planning and community development to transform the lives of the tens of thousands of Delawareans. He was not simply a cabinet secretary for two Governors. Anas is a solutions-driven leader who thinks holistically about culture, community, and people. I could not be more pleased to have him join our leadership team as the University’s Chief Financial Officer and am looking forward to working with him for years to come.”

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Governor Carney Announces Retirement of DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan After 31 Years of State Service

Cohan transformed the Division of Motor Vehicles before leading largest-ever capital program as DelDOT Secretary

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday announced the retirement of Jennifer Cohan, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation, following 31 years of service to the State of Delaware.

Cohan will serve through October, when she will join Leadership Delaware as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

“Secretary Cohan has been a tremendous asset to our team and to the State of Delaware for more than 30 years,” said Governor Carney. “Jen modernized the Division of Motor Vehicles as the first woman to ever lead the division, and oversaw the development of the state’s largest-ever public infrastructure program as DelDOT secretary. Her experience, intellect and depth of knowledge about how state government works will not easily be replaced. Jen also has a unique ability to lift the spirits of those around her and rally a team around a common cause. We will miss her in state government. But I’m positive she will continue to do great work on behalf of the people of Delaware.”

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Delaware for the last 31 years,” said Secretary Cohan. “I am excited to take on this new challenge as CEO of Leadership Delaware to help grow our state’s up-and-coming leaders.”

Governor Carney intends to nominate Deputy DelDOT Secretary Nicole Majeski to replace Cohan. The Delaware Senate must confirm Governor Carney’s nomination.

Majeski has served as the Deputy Secretary for DelDOT since 2011. Previously, Majeski worked for New Castle County government, serving as Chief of Staff to then-County Executive Chris Coons. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware. Majeski lives in Middletown with her husband, Ari Messinger, and their two sons.

“I am truly humbled and incredibly honored to be nominated by Governor Carney as the next Secretary of the Department of Transportation,” said Majeski. “I am grateful to the Governor for the trust and faith he has in me to lead this agency and to serve in his Cabinet. It has been a privilege to work with Secretary Cohan and I am grateful for her leadership, guidance and for the inspiring way she has led our Department for the past six years with an enthusiastic spirit, a passion for innovation and an incredible commitment to customer service and our employees.”

Cohan was appointed by then-Governor Jack Markell in January 2015 – and confirmed by the Delaware Senate – to lead DelDOT, becoming the third woman to serve as Secretary in the department’s 100-year history. As Secretary, Cohan oversaw the development and execution of the largest roadway infrastructure program in Delaware’s history.

Previously, Cohan served as the Director of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles for eight years, where she led a transformation of the DMV through investments in technology and a focus on customer service.

Cohan’s state public service career has spanned more than three decades. She previously managed the state’s clean water program at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and worked as a budget analyst for the General Assembly in the Office of the Controller General.

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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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