OJJ has a new Undersecretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary
This month we welcome two members of the executive team. Connie Percell has taken the reins of OMF as Undersecretary and Karen E. Stubbs is our new Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Relations, Communications and Training.
"OJJ is very fortunate to have attracted not one, but two, highly qualified and highly regarded professionals to fill these two key positions," said Dr. Mary Livers. "With the legislative session almost here, and budget issues looming, it was critical to find the right individuals. Each of these positions is vital to the agency as we work through the session. I am confident that Connie and Karen will be outstanding additions to our team. In fact, both of them hit the ground running from day one and have not slowed down. Please welcome them to the OJJ family."
The section called Intergovernmental Relations, Communications and Training is the former SPEAK (Special Projects, Education and Knowledge), with an updated title.
Connie is a native of Maringouin. She is a 29-year veteran of service to the state of Louisiana, coming to OJJ from a four-year stint at the House Fiscal Office, where she served as a budget analyst. Prior to working for the legislature, Connie served at the Division of Administration, State Budget Office, for five years, and spent 17 years at the Department of Revenue. During her time at Revenue, Connie promoted through the ranks to progressively responsible positions. Some of her assignments included problem-solving for refund processing and auditing returns suspected of fraud. Her first state position was at LSU, where she attended school for two years before transferring to Southern University, earning a degree in accounting.
"This will be very different, and I am looking forward to the challenge and the change," Connie said. "When I worked in the area of Medicaid funding, I would visit the group homes so I could understand who the clients were. It made me feel good that there was something I could do to impact the lives of our clients. This position will be a change of focus, and I am excited about that, because I like to be involved with children. I love kids."
Indeed, before lunchtime on her first day with OJJ, Connie visited Jetson to participate in a media tour, highlighting its transformation into a therapeutic facility.
Connie and her husband of 30 years, Anthony, have two adult children.
Karen comes to OJJ from the Governor’s Office, where she served for over two years as Executive Director of the Children’s Cabinet. In that capacity, Karen was in charge of coordination and collaboration with the state’s five youth-serving agencies: OJJ, DHH, DCFS, DOE and the LA Workforce Commission (which serves older teens in workforce development programs).
A native of Minden, Karen attended Glenbrook High School, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in finance from Tulane University in New Orleans and a juris doctor (law degree) from LSU Law Center. Prior to moving to Baton Rouge, Karen served as a Bossier Parish Assistant District Attorney. She was the head of the Bossier DA’s Juvenile Division for approximately five years. She is also experienced in the private practice of law.
Karen’s personal interests include running and travel. She ran in last year’s New Orleans Marathon, and has made many half marathon races. She loves children and is very close to her four nieces and nephews. She has been active in community service, and has served on a number of volunteer boards,
including the Caddo Parish Council on Aging and Holy Angels School, and she has been involved with state and local Bar Associations.
"What I love about OJJ is the sense of being part of a team," Karen said. "I attribute much of that to Dr. Livers’ leadership. I was attracted to her emphasis on teamwork and leadership development. That is very obvious to people outside the agency. Being a change agent isn’t easy. It’s hard when staff are learning new things and putting in long hours. Change can be scary. OJJ’s staff should be recognized for their efforts in changing the culture of the agency."
"The change in OJJ’s culture is an important part of our history," Karen continued. "What we are doing here is going to go down in the history of juvenile justice reform in Louisiana. It’s so exciting to be a part of it. This is one area that Louisiana should be proud of, whether one is in the field of juvenile justice or not. Louisiana is always at the bottom of the good lists, but our state’s juvenile justice reform is truly a model for the nation."