WLRC center chief leaving; 10th since 2013

Oct 24, 2017 By Kelli Ameling, Staff Wrier

Ray Newman, superintendent at the Wyoming Life Resource Center, is leaving the position after less than a year on the job.

The Wyoming Department of Health announced that Raymond Newman is moving to Kentucky.

Jeremy Forbis, a Riverton native, will take over as interim superintendent beginning Nov. 1.


Newman's departure continues a period of high turnover at the state facility in Lander. Forbis is the 11th person to step into the role since Virginia Wright retired in October 2013 after 19 years on the job. He has been employed at WLRC since November 2016, most recently as the intermediate care facility administrator. Previously he served as an associate professor of sociology at the University of Dayton in Ohio.

"I am grateful for Jeremy's willingness to step into this critical position and look forward to working closely with him during this time of transition," WDH Behavioral Health Division senior administrator Chris Newman said in a press release.

High turnover

WDH spokeswoman Kim Deti said there has not been a timeline set to find a permanent superintendent; she also didn't know whether the WDH would use an outside agency to make the hire.

Raymond Newman, who had more than 20 years of experience in the field of intellectual disabilities and was the assistant superintendent of the Tacachale Center in Gainesville, Florida, had been hired through the agency Columbus Organizations; that group's services cost the WDH $33,000 per month.

He was the WLRC's 10th leader, and the fourth to serve as superintendent in 2016. He is also the longest-tenured WLRC superintendent since Wright retired.

After Wright's retirement, WDH announced Eric McVicker as the interim superintendent while the agency began its search to permanently fill the position. Instead, another interim superintendent, Rich Dunkley, was hired in December 2013.

Dunkley stayed on in that role until August 2014, when Adam Merrell was appointed to the superintendent position.

Later that year, the WDH created a new role at the WLRC, making Bill Sexton the Behavioral Health Division facilities administrator in November of 2014; he oversaw both WLRC and the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston.

Merrell left his position in December of 2014, and Mike Aurand was hired as interim superintendent under Sexton.

After that, it took the WDH five months to find Allen Parks, who moved from Maine to work as the WLRC's permanent superintendent.

Parks was in the position for eight months before the WDH announced he was no longer employed at the WLRC; the agency would not say what happened.

Julie Thompson was named interim superintendent next, holding the position from February 2016 to June 2016. At that time, Columbus Organizations announced Max Jackson would become interim superintendent; he was there from June 2016 to October 2016.

Raymond Newman was superintendent from October 2016 to October 2017.

The WLRC is a 142-bed licensed and certified intermediate care facility for adults with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries. It is one of five state healthcare facilities operated by Wyoming Department of Health.

WLRC is part of the WDH Behavioral Health Division, which also includes Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, as well as Developmental Disabilities Community Programs.

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