Two foster care review board members won't return

2010-12-11T02:00:00Z Two foster care review board members won't returnBY JoANNE YOUNG / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com
December 11, 2010 2:00 am  • 

Gov. Dave Heineman sent letters to two Foster Care Review Board members last month telling them they would not be reappointed.

Alfredo Ramirez, the current chairman of the board, and Ron Albin, a Norfolk attorney, whose terms will expire Jan. 1, both received letters.

Ramirez said this week he was "very disappointed" the governor was going to let his three-year term expire without reappointing him.

Ramirez said he intends to ask for a meeting with the governor to state his case about why he would like to continue to serve on the board. He was appointed in January 2008.

Jen Rae Hein, a spokeswoman for Heineman, said board members serve at the pleasure of the governor and he regularly makes changes on boards to involve more people.

Hein said the decision was made not to reappoint the two members, and the letters prepared and sent, before the Foster Care Review Board sent a letter to the state Department of Health and Human Services and the governor critical of recent decisions made by HHS on child welfare reform.

Ramirez, a licensed mental health practitioner and certified master social worker, has served one term on the board. He is the executive director of Odyssey III Counseling Services in Norfolk. His work focus has included trauma, child and adult sexual abuse, depression, anxiety disorders, anger control and post-traumatic stress disorders.

If he does not persuade the governor to reappoint him, he said, he would find other ways to stay connected to the important work of the Foster Care Review Board.

Albin also has served only one term. He did not respond to calls seeking his response.

Five current members of the board have been previously reappointed to second terms: Gene Klein, executive director of Project Harmony Child Protection Center in Omaha; Mary Jo Pankoke, president of Nebraska Children and Families Foundation; Mario Scalora, faculty member in the clinical psychology and law psychology programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Georgie Scurfield, program director, Sarpy County Court Appointed Special Advocates; and David Schroeder, reporter and announcer, KRVN Radio, Lexington.

One position on the board, designated for a pediatrician, has been vacant since Dr. Larry Brown left the term early in November 2009.

Reach JoAnne Young at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com.

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