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Appointments and reappointment made to Commission on Services to the Aging

Thursday, August 16, 2012

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today announced four appointments and one reappointment to the Commission on Services to the Aging. He also appointed a current member, Harold Mast, as commission chair.

The 15-member board advises the governor and legislature on the coordination and administration of state programs and changes to federal and state programs related to aging priorities. No more than eight members can be from the same political party.

"I am confident that the varied backgrounds and years of extensive experiences these outstanding individuals bring will effectively support the continued mission and service of the commission" said Snyder.  



Michael Bartus, of Bloomfield Hills, is retired following a career in public sector and nonprofit management, donor development, fundraising, marketing and public relations. He previously served as director of development at the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute in New York, as director of development for the Visiting Nurse Association Inc. in Oak Park, as director of the Empowerment Zone Care Management program at the Detroit Area Agency on Aging and as a long term care consultant for the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging. Bartus holds a bachelor's degree in psychology, a master's degree in public health and a certificate in gerontology, all from the University of Michigan. He will represent Independents and replaces Anthony Pawelski.


Donna Murray-Brown, of Detroit, is the senior director of capacity building for the Michigan Nonprofit Association and director of the Metro Detroit Partnership. Previously, she served as vice president and Community Reinvestment Act state director for Charter One Bank and as assistant vice president and community affairs officer for Fifth Third Bank. Murray-Brown earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Central State University in Ohio, a certificate in corporate community affairs from Boston College and is currently pursuing a master's degree in community development from the University of Detroit Mercy. She will represent Independents and replaces Rameesh Verma.


Renee Parnell, of Niles, is the manager of healthcare for Michigan Works! of Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties. Previously, she worked as a compliance officer at Lakeland Regional Healthcare in St. Joseph. Parnell is chair of the Southwestern Michigan College Workforce Development Advisory Board, vice chair of the AAA Region IV Advisory Council and a member of the Berrien County Cancer Service board of directors, Berrien County Health Department Health Equity Alliance and the Berrien County Health Department Community Roundtable Committee. She received an associate degree in health studies, medical office systems and organizational and compliance management from Lake Michigan College and a certificate in business from Michigan State University's School of Labor and Industrial Relations. Parnell will represent Republicans and replaces Amne Talab.


Patricia Rencher, of Detroit, serves as the community educator and volunteer director for Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology. Previously, she served as vice president of programs for the Detroit Urban League, as director of Matrix Human Services in Detroit and as director of the Children and Youth Initiative in Detroit. Rencher is president of the Boulevard Temple Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center's Family Council and a member of the National Council on Aging, Aging Services Consortium of Detroit, Detroit Area Agency on Aging's Community Advisory Board and the Henry Ford Health System's Center for Senior Independence Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly Community Advisory Board. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Fisk University in Tennessee and a master's degree in public relations from Ball State University in Indiana. From Wayne State University, she received a master's degree in public administration and a post-graduate certificate in gerontology. Rencher will represent Democrats and replaces Jerutha Kennedy.



Donald Newport, of Greenbush, is retired president emeritus of Alpena Community College. He brings more than 45 years of community college experience to the commission, having served as president of five community colleges in Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, and Michigan. Newport received his first community college presidential appointment at age 26, making him the youngest to serve in this role in American community college history. He recently concluded a term as district governor for Rotary International of Michigan, and has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Association of Lifelong Learners, United Way and the American Red Cross. Newport graduated from Henry Ford Community College and holds a Ph.D. in psychology and industrial relations from the University of Michigan. He will continue to represent Independents.


Appointees will serve three-year terms that expire July 28, 2015, and their appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.



Harold Mast, of Kentwood, serves as a Kent County Commissioner and is owner and president of Harold Mast Consulting LLC, where he works with the Hispanic Center of West Michigan and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority on affordable housing projects. Previously, he served as executive director for Genesis Non-profit Housing Corp. and held various leadership positions at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids. Mast is a former member and treasurer of the Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan and currently serves as a board member for the Alliance for Health of West Michigan. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics and business administration from Calvin College and a master's degree in health care planning and administration from the University of Iowa. Mast represents Republicans and will serve a term as chair at the pleasure of the governor.