Gov. Schwarzenegger taps Sauer for new Director of Department of Rehabilitation
“Tony will be greatly missed as an encouraging leader on the Board of Directors of the California Association of Public Authorities (CAPA),” said Trula M. LaCalle, Ph.D., Executive Director of CAPA. “His undying dedication to the quality and availability of In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) has long championed independent living for people with disabilities and for older adults.”
CAPA joined with the California Foundation for Independent Living Center to sponsor a special reception recognizing Sauer’s tremendous work for people with disabilities, seniors and the workers who assist them. Among those in attendance to honor Sauer’s work: Kim Belshé, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency; Lynn Daucher, Director of the California Department of Aging; and Catherine Campisi, former Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation.
“Tony will speak for aged, blind and disabled Californians within the Schwarzenegger administration, especially those who rely on assistance from government to maintain any sort of independent life,” said Donna Calame, former CAPA President. “Many of the growing number of people with disabilities want to and can be gainfully employed. I cannot imagine a better person to be a proponent for avenues that allow people who are “differently abled” to contribute to our communities in ways that are now foreclosed to them.”
“Since the 1960’s, the movement in California to help those with disabilities live independently has gained momentum and Tony has played a pivotal role in speaking out for independent living,” said Bernadette Lynch, current CAPA President. “The founding principles of independent living are what Tony has espoused for years and I am very pleased he is serving in this new capacity as head of the Department of Rehabilitation.”
“Since the legal and political principles of ensuring people living with disabilities live in community settings rather than nstitutions, it’s become clear that people like Tony Sauer know how to make this a reality,” said Bud Sayles, Executive Director of the County of San Diego IHSS Public Authority. “IHSS has always been a consumer-driven program. Tony knows this and will work hard to help those with disabilities secure the assistance they need to live independently.
“The Independent Living (IL) Philosophy promotes the comfort and dignity of consumers living in the least restrictive environment; their own homes. In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provides many consumers this opportunity, while avoiding institutionalization and providing services that are less expensive than out-of-home care. IHSS is the largest publicly funded non-medical program in the nation designed to help people with disabilities, the elderly and blind-with limited resources-live independently at home. In his new role at the Department of Rehabilitation, and with his strong support of IL Philosophy and IHSS, Tony Sauer will help Californians live with dignity and with more control over their lives,” said Eldon Luce, Executive Director of the Placer County IHSS Public Authority.
Since 2003, Sauer has served as executive director for the Nevada-Sierra Regional In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority. In this capacity, he manages the recruiting and training of over 1,000 workers who provide services to people with disabilities and seniors as well as oversees the workers’ health insurance programs for the Authority. From 2001 to 2003, Sauer served as deputy director of external affairs for the DOR. Previously, he was the executive director for the FREED Center for Independent Living from 1990 to 2001, where he administered the state and federally funded independent living center and led advocacy efforts to facilitate services for people with disabilities. Prior to that, Sauer founded a successful cabinet making business which he owned from 1979 to 1992.
He currently serves as chair of the Assessment and Transition Workgroup under the Health and Human Services Agency Olmstead Advisory Committee. Sauer is a member of the California Association of Public Authorities Legislative Committee and a former member of the Building Standards Commission. He also previously served as co-chair of the Communications and Information Technology Workgroup under the California Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Task Force.
Sauer, 46, of Grass Valley, was paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 18 after a motorcycle accident. He earned a Masters degree in management and disability services from the University of San Francisco and was a fellow in the Health Leadership Program at the Sierra Health Foundation and University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. He is a graduate of the Independent Living Center Mid-Management Training Program presented by Cornell University.
The DOR assists Californians with disabilities in obtaining and retaining employment and maximizing their ability to live independently. The department provides vocational rehabilitation services and provides ADA technical assistance and training to eligible Californians. DOR funds 29 Independent Living Centers which offer information and referral services to assist individuals with disabilities in living active, independent lives.
The vocational rehabilitation services provided by DOR are designed to get Californians with disabilities prepared for employment and include training, education, transportation and job placement.
Ryan Rauzon is the representative of a coalition on behalf of the disabled, elderly, and the blind. He has served as Deputy Press Secretary for Assembly Speakers Herb Wesson and Robert H. Hertzberg.