Today, I have the honor of announcing some bittersweet news that deputy secretary and chief of staff, Michael Gargano, plans to retire at the end of May.
This will bring the end of a storied chapter in the history of our agency that began in 2009. Since then, Michael has served in the leadership of FSSA through three governors’ administrations. He has overseen several of FSSA’s biggest projects and challenges, such as the rollouts of the expanded Healthy Indiana Plan and Division of Family Resources “IEDSS” eligibility system. From November 2010 to February 2013, he served as FSSA secretary, and in 2015 was named “Sagamore of the Wabash” by then Governor Pence. True to that title, Michael is “distinguished by his humanity in living, his loyalty in friendship, his wisdom in council, and his inspiration in leadership.” FSSA is fortunate to have benefited greatly from his impact.
I’m also pleased to announce that Kim Opsahl, has graciously agreed to step into Michael’s role and become FSSA’s deputy secretary and chief of staff. Kim has served as director of the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services since last June, and prior to that as associate director since 2018. Kim has extensive experience in the disability community, having served as the director of state partnerships and special projects for the American Network of Community Options and Resources and as president/CEO of the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. Kim graduated summa cum laude from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 2014. Her experience with the disability community in several capacities provides her with a unique and valuable perspective in her work with stakeholders to drive and shape policy and practices. These traits have served Kim well as the executive sponsor for FSSA’s long-term services and supports reform initiative since August, and that she will capitalize on in her new role.
And finally, to ensure continuity of leadership within DDRS, I’m honored to announce that DDRS Associate Director Kelly Mitchell, will be appointed to the position of DDRS director following Kim’s move to her new office. Kelly came to DDRS in June 2021 after serving as president and CEO of Southern Indiana Resource Solutions (better known as SIRS) since 2003. Kelly is a native Hoosier whose career has focused on building inclusive communities and supporting individuals with disabilities in living their best life. Kelly played key roles in launching First Steps, rural public transit, sheltered-work conversion, employment services and consumer-directed services. She received the Sagamore of the Wabash from Governor Holcomb in 2021. As director, Kelly will continue to draw on her experience as a former direct support professional, case manager and human resource professional in leading the DDRS team in their work to ensure and enhance meaningful services and supports for people with disabilities.
Please join me in congratulating Michael, Kim and Kelly!
Dan Rusyniak, MD