DOR DIRECTOR'S GALLERY

 


 

1963 - 1966

Warren Thompson Official Photo

Warren Thompson

Appointment:

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr. appointed Warren Thompson as director of the Department of Rehabilitation in October 1963.

Significant Activities:

  • Initiated the publication of the Rehabilitation Review to report the activities of the Department and the new and stimulated approaches to the solutions for persons with disability.

  • Realized that maximum use of State funds would qualify the Department additional federal funds, thus enabling it to more adequately serve the very large and rapidly growing demands for services among our disabled population.

  • Actively engaged with other State Departments who serve disabled individuals to achieve the utmost efficiency in state rehabilitation efforts.

Successful Employment Outcomes:

  • 1963 - 2,738

  • 1964 - 3,044

  • 1965 - 3,461

  • 1966 - 4,522

Events In History:

  • 1964 - Civil Rights Act - Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, and creed.

 


 

1967 - 1972

Robert E. Howard Official Photo

Robert E. Howard

Appointment:

Governor Ronald Reagan appointed Robert E. Howard as director of the Department of Rehabilitation in April 1967.

Significant Activities:

  • In cooperation with the Federal government, a new program was initiated enabling more people with severe disabilities to be hired in Social Security Administration offices throughout the State

  • The Department was reorganized to serve all disability groups

  • The new reorganization resulted in three administrative divisions: Field Services, Field Support Services, and Management Services, establishing a Deputy Director for each division.

Successful Employment Outcomes:

  • 1967 - 6,375

  • 1968 - 10,389

  • 1969 - 14,450

  • 1970 - 14,358

  • 1971 - 14,430

  • 1972 - 12,990

Events In History:

  • 1968 - Architectural Barriers Act - Prohibits architectural barriers in all federally owned or leased buildings.

  • 1970 - Urban Mass Transit Act - Requires all new mass transit vehicles be equipped with wheelchair lifts (not fully implemented until 1990).

 


 

1972 - 1975

Alan C. Nelson Official Photo

Alan C. Nelson

Appointment:

Governor Ronald Reagan appointed Alan C. Nelson as director Department of Rehabilitation in November 1972.

Significant Activities:

  • A new Mobility Barriers Section was established.

  • A new hiring program for people with severe disabilities was instituted at the University of California, Berkeley.

  • The first Operational Plan for the Department was written which delineated the Department's role in enabling individuals with disabilities to get the services needed to become successfully employed.

  • Under Director Nelson's tenure, Dr. Carolyn Vash was appointed Chief Deputy Director, a noteworthy appointment as Dr. Vash was the first person with a severe disability in addition to being the first female to hold a high position in the Department.

Successful Employment Outcomes:

  • 1972 - 12,990

  • 1973 - 15,058

  • 1974 - 15,505

  • 1975 - 15,537

Events In History:

  • 1973 - Rehabilitation Act - Prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in Federal programs and all programs receiving Federal funding.

  • 1975 - Developmental Disabilities Bill of Rights Act (PDF) - Established protection and advocacy services.

  • 1975 - Education of All Handicapped Children Act - Requires free, appropriate public education for all children with disabilities.

 


 

1975 - 1982

Edward V. Roberts Official Photo

Edward V. Roberts

Appointment:

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. appointed Ed Roberts as director of the Department of Rehabilitation in October 1975.

Significant Activities:

  • Department of Rehabilitation was authorized to sue violators of Architectural Barriers Laws (AB 4452).

  • Provided grants to start the first Independent Living Centers (ILC's) in California.

  • Re-constituted the Rehabilitation Advisory Council (RAC) to ensure input from a wide variety of disability advocacy groups.

  • Established the Department's first Independent Living Advisory Committee, 1979.

Successful Employment Outcomes:

  • 1975 - 15,537

  • 1976 - 14,522

  • 1977 - 12,278

  • 1978 - 14,028

  • 1979 - 15,174

  • 1980 - 15,503

  • 1981 - 13,110

  • 1982 - 11,364

Events In History:

 


 

1983 - 1990

Dr. P. Cecie Fontanoza Official Photo

Dr. P. Cecie Fontanoza

Appointment:

Governor George Deukmejian appointed Dr. Cecie Fontanoza as director Department of Rehabilitation in March 1983.

Significant Activities:

  • Department broadened services to include Supported Employment, Workability, Transition Partnership Project, Mental Health Initiative, Hi-Tech Resource Center, and Cooperative Transportation Grant Program.

  • Instituted several award programs: Annual Department Awards, recognized outstanding efforts of employees; Building a Better Future Awards, honoring architects, landscape architects and community planners for superior designs and innovative policies and guidelines; and Governor's Hall of Fame, awards for lifetime achievement by people with disabilities.

  • Developed two annual conferences: In 1987 the first "Beyond Disability", conference focused on issues addressing needs of people with disabilities, with emphasis on women and disabilities, and the conference on Supported Employment.

Successful Employment Outcomes:

  • 1983 - 11,998

  • 1984 - 14,343

  • 1985 - 16,614

  • 1986 - 17,683

  • 1987 - 18,629

  • 1988 - 20,144

  • 1989 - 22,528

  • 1990 - 22,377

Events In History:

  • 1983 - Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act - Client Assistance Program created.

  • 1985 - Mental Illness Bill of Rights Act - Protection and advocacy services for people with mental illness.

  • 1988 - Civil Rights Restoration Act - Clarifies discrimination in any portion of a program which receives any federal funding is illegal.

  • 1988 - Amendment to the Fair Housing Act - Prohibits discrimination in housing against people with disabilities.

  • 1990 - Americans with Disabilities Act - Provides comprehensive civil rights protections for people with disabilities.

 


 

1991 - 1993

Bill Tainter Official Photo

Bill Tainter

Appointment:

Governor Pete Wilson appointed Bill Tainter as director of the Department of Rehabilitation in April 1991.

Significant Activities:

  • Increased representation of people with disabilities in top-level management positions in the Department.

  • Promoted consumer empowerment, self-determination and independence in vocational rehabilitation service delivery.

  • Upon request by Governor Wilson oversaw the Department's role as lead in the implementation of the ADA in State government and established the ADA Unit at the Department

Successful Employment Outcomes:

  • 1991 - 22,026

  • 1992 - 18,468

  • 1993 - 15,577

Events In History:

 


 

1994 - 1998

Brenda Premo Official Photo

Brenda Premo

Appointment:

Governor Pete Wilson appointed Brenda Premo as director of the Department of Rehabilitation in February 1994.

Significant Activities:

  • Department launched the California Assistive Technology System (CATS) initiative, designed to provide people with disabilities information on how to access assistive technologies, related services, and training to assist persons with disabilities to be more independent and productive citizens.

  • Advanced the development of informed choice for consumers in vocational rehabilitation.

  • Established the State Independent Living Council as a free standing State agency.

  • Modernized the Orientation Center for the Blind to facilitate more effective services.

Successful Employment Outcomes:

  • 1994 - 16,268

  • 1995 - 16,427

  • 1996 - 13,365

  • 1997 - 11,015

  • 1998 - 11,686

Events In History:

  • 1997 - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act reauthorized - Renews commitment to a free, public education in the least restrictive environment for all children with disabilities.

  • 1998 - Workforce Investment Act - Enacted, including inclusion of public vocational rehabilitation as a mandatory partner in the comprehensive workforce development system.

  • Discussions began on Ticket to Work and Work Incentive Improvement Act.

 


 

1999 - 2006

Catherine T. Campisi, Ph.D. Official Photo

Catherine T. Campisi, Ph.D.

Appointment:

Governor Gray Davis appointed Catherine Campisi as director of the Department of Rehabilitation in December 1999.

Significant Activities:

  • Undertook major re-engineering effort to increase effectiveness and timeliness of VR services.

  • Established Workforce Development Section to work with employer community to increase success of consumers.

  • Through these efforts, increased successful employment outcomes for VR consumers by 19% and wages by 14% from 1999 - 2003.

  • Chairperson, California Workforce Investment Board Universal Access Workgroup to build capacity for accessibility of One-Stop Career Centers.

  • First Chairperson, Governor's ADA Interagency Task Force.

Successful Employment Outcomes:

  • 1999 - 11,431

  • 2000 - 11,268

  • 2001 - 12,495

  • 2002 - 12,620

  • 2003 - 13,893

  • 2004 - 13,784

  • 2005 - 13,546

  • 2006 - 14,290

Events In History:

  • 2000 - Kuehl, Gov Code 12926 (PDF) - State law enacted to provide the strongest disability non-discrimination requirements in employment in the nation.

  • 2000 - Steinberg, Gov Code 11135 - State law enacted to provide parallel provisions to Title II of the ADA in California.

  • 2002 - AB 925, Aroner - Workforce Inclusion Act signed by Governor Davis.

  • 2003 - Hason v. Medical Board of California - After advocacy by disability community and requests by Governor Davis and Attorney General Lockyer, Medical Board votes to withdraw court case appealing sovereign immunity provisions of ADA to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 


 

2007 - Present

Anthony (Tony) P. Sauer Official Photo

Anthony (Tony) P. Sauer

Appointment:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Tony Sauer as director of the Department of Rehabilitation in June 2007. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. reappointed Director Sauer in July 2011.

Significant Activities:

  • In accordance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the DOR received $61.8 million in federal stimulus funds for its programs. This includes $56.5 million for vocational rehabilitation (VR), $1.6 million for independent living, and $3.7 million for older blind programs.

  • The Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (GCEPD) transferred from the Employment Development Department to the Department of Rehabilitation. Along with the transfer, the name changed to the California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (CCEPD).

  • DOR began phasing statewide implementation of the new Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery (VRSD) Team Model. The centerpiece of the new VRSD Model is the shift to a more consumer-centric team approach to service delivery.

Successful Employment Outcomes:

  • 2007 - 13,785

  • 2008 - 13,645

  • 2009 - 12,418

  • 2010 - 10,171

  • 2011 - 11,242

  • 2012 - 11,355

Events In History:

  • 2008 - Amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - signed into law on September 25, 2008, clarify and reiterate who is covered by the law's civil rights protections.

  • 2009 The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) - commonly referred to as the Stimulus or The Recovery Act was an economic stimulus package signed into law on February 17, 2009, by President Barack Obama.

  • 2010-- Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act - established new safeguards for disability access to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind as technology changes and the United States migrates to the next generation of Internet-based and digital communication technologies.

  • 2010- ACR 162 Disability History Week - designated the second week of every October as Disability History Week.