Board appoints new Human Services, Community Justice department directors

April 19, 2018

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved Chair Deborah Kafoury’s appointment of Peggy Brey and Truls Neal as the directors of the Department of County Human Services (DCHS) and the Department of Community Justice (DCJ), respectively.

“As managers they have proven commitment to justice, community partnership and workforce equity that will create excellence today and successful planning for the future,” Kafoury said. 

From left: newly appointed director of Department of County Human Services Peggy Brey and newly appointed director of the Department of Community Justice Truls Neal

She added that the appointments will “ensure continuity and stability” of services that are critical to the health and safety of some of Multnomah County’s most vulnerable community members. 

“They put Multnomah County in the best position to lead the country in innovative public safety and human services programming,” Kafoury said.

The appointments are effective immediately.

Peggy Brey

Brey has more than 30 years of experience in high-level government management and in providing support to older adults.

She has served as the DCHS interim director since September, replacing former department director Liesl Wendt.

Since joining Multnomah County in 2011, Brey has served as the DCHS deputy director and the director of the department’s Aging, Disability and Veterans Services Division. She also has managed operations, facilities and quality improvement for the department and served as the chair of Oregon’s Area Agencies on Aging.

“Peggy brings a broad array of human services experiences, continuous quality improvement, management, social work administration and policy and government relations experience,” Kafoury said. “Peggy’s vision for DCHS is to create support for community members across their entire lifespan.”

Before joining the County, Brey served as the deputy director of Michigan’s Aging and Adult Services Agency and vice president of Michigan’s Quality Improvement Organization.

“I am committed to working with our teams, our clients and community partners to ensure our culture and infrastructure are equitable for all,” Brey said. “I am committed to DCHS continuing to provide high-quality, trauma-informed and equity-driven services, policies and programs.”

Brey said she also wants to ensure that people who interact with DCHS, including the department’s employees, feel welcome, respected and heard.

“This equity work is key to DCHS’ ability to operate as an effective and relevant human service agency,” Brey said. “There is a lot of hard work ahead of us, but I am energized by the opportunity.”

Brey has appointed Mohammad Bader as DCHS’ deputy director. Bader has been with the County since 1996 and most recently served as the director of the DCHS’  Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services Division.

Truls Neal

Truls Neal has worked as a corrections professional for more than 25 years in roles such as corrections counselor, juvenile counselor and parole and probation officer to division leader and director.

He began his career in California with Orange County Juvenile Probation. In 1992, he moved to Oregon to work for Clackamas County Community Corrections. He was recruited by Multnomah County in 2008 to serve as a district manager for the Department of Community Justice's Adult Services Division. He was eventually promoted to division director.

“As a senior manager at Multnomah County, he was instrumental in developing and implementing the reentry enhancement and coordination program: a successful prison reentry program currently in existence today," Kafoury said.   ...  “Truls' life mission is to build community at work, home and in his neighborhood.”

Neal served as deputy director under Scott Taylor who retired earlier this month.

“I have to point out my successor Scott Taylor who did an amazing job of leading us in a visionary way on evidence-based practice, reducing racial and ethnic disparities and detention reform in juvenile services," Neal said while speaking to board members. "Those are the priorities I will continue to focus on."

From left: newly appointed Multnomah County Department of Community Justice Deputy Director Erika Preuitt and Director Truls Neal; newly appointed Director of County Human Services Peggy Brey and Deputy Director Mohammad Bader.

Neal has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University, San Bernardino. He currently serves as a board member for the American Probation and Parole Association, an international advocacy organization for pretrial, probation, parole and community-based corrections professionals. 

He is also an executive member of Multnomah County’s Managers of Color. He stressed the importance of the County’s workforce equity plan.

“Not all of our employees feel valued and it's important to me that we move forward with that and make changes in how people are experiencing their workplace.”

Neal designated Erika Preuitt as the Department of Community Justice’s deputy director. Preuitt most recently served as director of the department’s Adult Services Division and is currently the president of the American Probation and Parole Association.

“I have to say I’ve been a member of this community for 26-years,” he said. “I have watched Multnomah County from afar for 16-years while I was at Clackamas County. I've felt so honored to be here for the last ten years, serving with people who are very innovative.”