FROM THE GOV'S OFFICE
Governor Pat Quinn today named Michelle R.B. Saddler as his Chief of Staff. Saddler previously served as the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). Prior to serving as Secretary of DHS, Saddler was the Director of Policy for the Quinn Administration and has held a number of key management and policy positions in the public and private sectors.
“Michelle Saddler is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated members of my cabinet, and I look forward to having her serve as my Chief of Staff,” said Governor Quinn. “There is no one better-suited to continue my mission of creating jobs, supporting Illinois’ economic recovery and protecting our most vulnerable residents.”
Saddler was appointed by Governor Quinn to be Secretary of DHS on Oct. 11, 2009. The agency, one of the state’s largest, provides integrated services to individuals, families and communities for developmental disabilities, mental health, rehabilitation services and alcoholism and substance abuse, among others.
While at DHS, Saddler was charged with implementing a number of Governor Quinn’s top initiatives, including the Put Illinois to Work program. The program was one of the largest and most successful in the nation and has put more than 26,000 people to work in subsidized temporary jobs. Additionally, under Saddler’s leadership, the agency drew down an additional $250 million in federal funds for human services.
Before being named policy chief for the Quinn Administration, Saddler served in a number of policy and management positions in both the public and private sectors. Her past positions include Vice President for International Adoptions for the Lifelink Corporation and Executive Director of the Illinois Metropolitan Investment Fund. She also served as Director of Investments with then-Illinois State Treasurer Quinn and is a Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Protestants for the Common Good.
Saddler earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and has a master’s in management from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, where received the F.C. Austin Scholarship – the school’s highest merit award. (Additional background information is attached.)
“I look forward to continuing to serve and care for the people of Illinois as Governor Quinn’s Chief of Staff,” said Saddler. “I will work to continue the important partnerships with our legislators, employees, providers and advocacy groups.”
Current DHS Assistant Secretary Grace Hou will serve as the agency’s Acting Secretary. Prior to her work at DHS, Hou was Executive Director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, a non-profit social service agency that serves Chinese immigrants and refugees.