Former New York City Commissioner of Correction and Probation Michael Jacobson was named director of the Vera Institute of Justice. Jacobson, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, took over from Christopher Stone, who left to head up the criminal justice program at Harvard’s Kennedy School after a decade at Vera.
President Bush named Mike Leavitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency and former Utah governor, as the replacement for outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. Leavitt made his mark on Utah’s social safety net by blending the welfare, employment, child care and job training departments into a single uber-agency, the Department of Workforce Services, in 1996. Today, Utah’s DWS centers have gained national recognition, but welfare advocates also have concerns about Leavitt. As governor, he opted to place three-year time limits on welfare instead of the federal maximum of five.
Social services veteran Joan Ohlson retired from Urban Pathways, one of the largest homeless housing organizations in the city, after serving as executive director for 14 years. In her 40-year career, Ohlson has served as head for various social service organizations, including the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the Citizens Committee for Children, and the Coalition of Community Service Providers. She is also the founding board member of Women’s Survival Space, the first shelter for battered women and their children in New York. Ohlson is succeeded by Frederick Shack, a veteran in the homeless services field. His previous posts include board president of the Council on Homeless Policies and Services, an umbrella organization for homeless services agencies in New York City, and, most recently, senior vice-president at the national organization HELP USA.
Jumaane Williams was recently named executive director of Tenants and Neighbors, the 30-year-old tenants’ rights group. In his former post, as housing director for Flatbush Development Corporation, Williams helped form tenant associations in dozens of Flatbush apartment buildings and was active in local and statewide housing campaigns. Meanwhile, Anne Lessy, Tenants and Neighbors’ director of New York City organizing, has left to run the Earned Income Tax Credit outreach program at Citizens for NYC.