Monday, January 12, 2009

Dave Richard, Executive Director of The Arc of North Carolina-Letter to the Editor News and Observer

Cansler Fits Criteria

Your Jan. 6 article and Jan. 8 editorial concerning the appointment of Lanier Cansler as secretary of DHHS raised questions focused on his work as a lobbyist for clients doing business with the state. Unfortunately, the article and editorial missed the point that he is a highly qualified leader who has the experience both as an elected and appointed public official to manage the massive DHHS during highly challenging times.
The Arc of NC is an advocacy and service organization dedicated to supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

You implied that The Arc hired Cansler as a lobbyist, which is misleading. The Arc hired Cansler as a consultant to help us develop a more progressive, cost-effective method of supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. We hired his firm for its expertise in fiscal and systems management, not for its lobbying expertise. Certainly this is the type of understanding and knowledge North Carolina citizens with developmental disabilities deserve.

We appreciate and respect the role of the press in bringing forth concerns about conflicts but at the same time encourage all concerned to see this as an opportunity for a fresh start. North Carolina citizens with disabilities and all who are served through DHHS need strong competent leadership. Cansler fits these criteria.

Dave Richard

Executive director, The Arc of North Carolina, Raleigh

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