Murphy names Aronsohn ombudsman for people with disabilities

Gov. Phil Murphy has appointed Paul Aronsohn to head the newly created Office of the Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their Families.

The new position, in the Department of Treasury, will give the administration a liaison for New Jersey residents with critical service needs from early childhood through adulthood, the administration said in a statement Thursday.

Aronsohn has previously worked in President Bill Clinton’s administration and Gov. Jim McGreevey’s administration, as well as with the U.S. State Department. He is also a founding member of the Ridgewood Community Access Network and a board member of both Heightened Independence & Progress and Adler Aphasia Center.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” Aronsohn said. “Working in and with the disability community has been a labor of love for me, and I am grateful to serve alongside Gov. Murphy and his leadership team, who are all committed to giving people with disabilities and their families a seat at the policy-making table.”

His responsibilities include serving as a source of information for residents, coordinating with the state and helping to resolve issues for the state and for residents, coordinating with state agencies and creating public information programs and other communication pathways, and providing an annual report to the commissioners of the Department of Human Services and the Department of Children and Families, the governor and the Legislature.

“New Jersey remains committed to enhancing opportunities for individuals with disabilities,” Murphy said. “With Paul’s leadership, I am confident that New Jersey will continue to protect the rights of people with disabilities and ensure every person has access to the American Dream.”

Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said: “Paul has been a longtime advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and we welcome his appointment to the ombudsman role, where he will continue this important work. The department is excited to have a strong partner in our efforts to improve the information and resources available to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Department of Children and Families Commissioner-designate Christine Norbut Beyer said: “Paul’s appointment to this important role demonstrates this administration’s ongoing commitment to creating a more inclusive New Jersey. I look forward to working with him and his team to enhance access to services and strengthen supports for children with disabilities and their families.”