By Gina Macris
Tina Spears, who for 16 months has served as Rhode Island’s coordinator for state compliance with a 2014 federal civil rights consent decree affecting adults with developmental disabilities, has resigned to accept a position as executive director of the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI).
Spears’ last day at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services will be Friday, April 12, according to EOHHS spokesman David Levesque.
Spears has broad experience with issues involving developmental disabilities as a parent, advocate and policy maker, emphasizing the importance of the “consumer voice” throughout all her work, according to a statement from a CPNRI spokesman.
Before joining EOHHS as the state’s consent decree coordinator – a position required by the 2014 agreement between the state and the U.S. Department of Justice - she worked as a fiscal analyst for the state Senate, specializing in human service issues.
Spears also has provided direct support for families as a former government relations director of the Rhode Island Parent Information Network.
CPNRI Board members “were pleased to choose Tina from a pool of highly qualified applicants due to her significant experience advocating for people with disabilities and having worked effectively inside and outside state government,” the Board president, Gloria Quinn, said in a statement.
“We are excited to work with Tina as she leads CPNRI through a pivotal moment” in the transformation of the state’s privately-run service system for adults facing intellectual and developmental challenges, said Quinn. She is executive director of West Bay Residential Services, one of 22 private service agencies that make up CPNRI.
Quinn said members of CPNRI “are confident she will take our association to its next level of impact,” resulting in an improved quality of life for adults with developmental disabilities in Rhode Island.
Spears succeeds Donna Martin, who had served as CPNRI’s executive director from 2005 until March 1.
“The state thanks Tina for her commendable service” as consent decree coordinator, “and we look forward to working with Tina in her new position,” Levesque, the EOHHS spokesman, said in a statement.
Brian Gosselin, the chief strategy officer at EOHHS, will serve as the interim consent decree coordinator while the state searches for a permanent successor to Spears, Levesque said. It will be Gosselin’s second stint as interim coordinator.
“The state values the critical role the consent decree coordinator plays in the success of compliance activities of state agencies” in connection to the consent decree, Levesque said.
Counting Gosselin, there have been five consent decree coordinators since the agreement was signed April 8, 2014 and went into effect the following day.