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Mt. Juliet woman named state commissioner

Laurie Everett mtjulietnews@tds.net • Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Gov. Bill Haslam last week named Mt. Juliet resident Debra Payne as the new commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Payne served as DIDD’s deputy commissioner.

Haslam also announced Jim Henry will be the permanent commissioner at the Department of Children's Services. He was the interim commissioner of DCS.

Both appointments take effect Saturday.

"These two departments handle some of the state's most difficult work concerning our most vulnerable citizens," Haslam said. "I want to thank Debbie for taking on this new role in such a young department. Her experience and hard work will continue to serve the state of Tennessee very well."

In her role as deputy commissioner of program operations at DIDD, Payne has overseen two development centers, a statewide community-based service delivery system supported by more than 2,000 employees. There were 475 community providers and three offices.

Payne has a bachelor's degree in psychology and criminal justice from Middle Tennessee State University.

"I want to thank Gov. Haslam for the opportunity to continue to serve Tennesseans with disabilities," Payne said. "I look forward to working with this department and all of our providers in continuing to offer quality care."

Payne is credited with assembling a nationally recognized Protection from Harm system as the statewide director of Protection from Harm for DIDD.

She is married to Mike and has three children, two step-children and one granddaughter.

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