Transition to Independent Agency
As of July 1, 2016, the Council on Developmental Disabilities becomes an independent agency in state government.
The Council works to improve policies and services that affect Tennesseans with developmental disabilities. Councils are designed to take a “big picture” approach that will create structural change with a long-term impact. Every five years, the Council takes a comprehensive look at the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities in Tennessee and develops a five-year plan of action. Look for the Council's new 5 year State Plan to be finalized in August 2016.
Within the state, the Council is created by a Governor’s Executive Order. Governor Bill Haslam signed Executive Order #50 in September 2015, updating the Council’s first Executive Order from 1975 that was originally issued by Governor Ray Blanton.
This updated Order aligns the Tennessee Council with current language in the Developmental Disabilities Act, the federal legislation that created Councils on Developmental Disabilities. It serves to clarify the independent role of the Council by placing it in a budget code separate from any state agency that provides direct services to Tennesseans with disabilities. This ensures the Council is able to work in partnership across state government to facilitate improvements to all programs and services that impact individuals with disabilities and their families. This transition also means we will be presenting our budget and information about our work to the state legislature each year.
[Governor Haslam and Council leaders pictured at the right to honor the signing of the new Executive Order during Spring 2016; from left to right, back row: Lynette Porter, Deputy Director; Wanda Willis, Executive Director; Governor Bill Haslam; Council Chair Roger Gibbens; Council Vice-Chair Tommy Lee Kidd; front row: Legislative Committee Chair Evan Espey; Former Chair Stephanie Brewer Cook; Project Review Committee Chair Debbie Riffle]