• Rick Starr named new director of Murray Center

    by  • November 14, 2013 • News


    New Murray Center director Rick Starr (CENTER) sits with outgoing director Jamie Veach (RIGHT) and Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (LEFT).

    An inter-agency memo sent out Thursday to Department of Human Services administration confirmed that at the close of business Nov. 22, current Rick Starr will be taking over the helm at the embattled Warren G. Murray Developmental Center in Centralia when the current director Jamie Veach leaves next week.

    The email is an update to an organizational change within the state operated developmental center system and notes that Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, will be Veach’s last day as he leaves his post as director to take on the new role of Chief Operating Officer for Clay County Hospital in Flora.

    Veach, says the email, has served as the Murray Facility Director since July 2004 and since then Murray made enormous strides in a number of critical areas during a very challenging period characterized by increased scrutiny by outside oversight entities, including the Office of the Inspector General, the Bureau of Quality Management, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the United States Department of Justice.


    “Despite these challenges and ongoing difficulty in recruiting and retaining clinical personnel, during Jamie’s tenure, the facility did not experience any major certification issues and steadily improved the overall quality of care received by the Murray individuals,” says the email. “Importantly, Jamie employed contemporary management techniques that resonated with the Murray staff, families and other stakeholder groups and generated support and commitment to mission objectives.”

    Starr has been with the center for the last 12 years in a variety of positions, according to the email, from mental health technician, residential service supervisor, unit manager, habilitation plan coordinator, assistant facility director and acting center director while Veach was temporarily reassigned to the Choate Developmental Center in Anna.

    The email says that during his 18 month run as assistant director from 2009 until 2011, Starr reduced Murray’s overtime costs and generated positive results during all surveys conducted by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    The originator of the email, apparently Greg Fenton with the Department of Developmental Disabilities, says Starr “has a skill set that is commensurate with the demands of this important position” and he knows he can count on everyone supporting Starr as he transitions into his new role.

    In addition to working at the Murray Center, Starr owns two local businesses with his wife.