Mayor Richard M. Daley today appointed Mary Ellen Caron as Commissioner of the new Department of Family and Support Services, which was created by consolidating all or parts of five previous departments to make delivery of services more efficient and accessible for residents and save tax dollars
"We have always put the better management of government first before turning to taxpayers for more," Daley said in a City Hall news conference.
"Since I've been Mayor we've cut over two and a half billion dollars through management improvements. Our goal is to streamline the system, avoid duplication, reduce our costs -- particularly in the areas of overhead and administration -- and support our residents with high-quality services," he said.
In October, Daley announced the city would consolidate several departments into four new ones as another way to manage government more efficiently and protect working families and those Chicagoans who are most in need.
The Department of Family and Support Services, which Caron will lead, represents the merger of the Departments of Human Services, Children and Youth Services, Senior Services, the Office of Domestic Violence and parts of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and Housing Department.
"Today, if a family needs different kinds of help, they frequently have to go to a number of different departments and locations. By consolidating these services, we hope to provide one place where families can learn about and apply for all the assistance for which they qualify," Daley said.
The Mayor said that in addition to delivering city services more efficiently and making them more accessible for residents, the overall department consolidations will reduce headcount by almost 240 positions, 103 of which are in the corporate fund, and reduce costs by about $5 million in that fund.
Caron served since 2004 as Commissioner of the City's Department of Children and Youth Services and also has been a top administrator at the Chicago Board of Education. She was the founding principal of the Frances Xavier Warde School, an elementary school in downtown Chicago.
"Mary Ellen is a dedicated public servant who will help move our city forward. She is a talented manager who has dedicated her professional life to helping improve the quality of life of Chicago's young people and their families," Daley said.
"I have made it clear to all my managers that especially during these difficult times, we need to work together to provide the services our people need, but in a way that our taxpayers can afford.
"The challenge of operating with lower revenues but increasing demand for services is not a short-term one. Looking well into the future, every city needs to be concerned about the effects of our nation’s deteriorating economy," he said.