Besher named commissioner of mental health

Published 8:08 am Friday, July 14, 2017

Governor Kay Ivey has appointed Lynn Beshear as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health.

“I am honored to appoint Lynn Beshear as Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health,” Governor Ivey said. “Through active participation in securing mental health services in the River Region, Lynn understands the complexities of the Department, and the importance of its work on behalf of the people of Alabama.”

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Beshear will replace former Crenshaw County probate judge Jim Perdue, who served in the position for two year before being unexpectedly removed.

“I did not seek out this position, but I am honored to be chosen to serve my fellow Alabamians,” Beshear said. “I am excited to work with Governor Ivey, her Cabinet, the Legislature, and the professionals within the Department of Mental Health, to provide excellent services for Alabamians with mental illness, those who are developmentally delayed, and those who struggle with substance abuse.”

Beshear moved from Kentucky to Montgomery in 1978, and has been a key player in the city’s positive development ever since. She has previously served on the board of directors for organizations and establishments including Montgomery Academy, United Way, First United Methodist Church and others. She currently serves on the board of Joint Public Charity Hospital, Montgomery Metro YMCA, and the AUM School of Liberal Arts Advisory Board. She is a founding member of Envision 2020 and currently serves as its Executive Director.

Among other honors, Beshear was named the Montgomery Advertiser Woman of Achievement in 1993, and received the Maury D. Smith Excellence in Professional Ethics Award in 2016.

Beshear was born in Durham, North Carolina and is married to Dr. Bob Beshear, a retired pediatrician. She graduated from North Carolina Baptist Hospital School of Nursing. She worked as a staff nurse in the Intensive Care Nursey at Duke University Medical Center and was promoted to head nurse in the Duke Well-Baby Nursey.

As Commissioner, Mrs. Beshear will work toward developing new polices and strive to better existing programs.

Recently, Governor Ivey accepted the resignations of Dr. Joanne Hale, as Acting Secretary of the Office of Information Technology, and Neal Morrison, as Commissioner of Senior Services. Governor Ivey has also been notified that Emergency Management Director Art Faulkner will retire effective September 5, 2017. Replacements for these positions have been identified and will be announced in the coming days.

Governor Ivey has also accepted the resignations of staff members, Director of Appointments and Scheduling Director. Daniel Sparkman, has been promoted to Press Secretary, replacing Eileen Jones.

“I am thankful for the staff members who stayed on to help us make it through this quick transition,” Ivey said. “I am also especially thankful to Eileen Jones for her willingness to join my administration early on to help us get our feet on the ground and off to an effective start; I wish her well in her future endeavors.”

With today’s announcements Governor Ivey continues her quest to right the ship of state. The Governor’s Office does not anticipate any additional changes to the Cabinet or staff as the Ivey Administration finishes taking shape.