Mayor Fischer names Eric Friedlander as acting director of the Dept. of Community Services and Rashaad Abdur-Rahman as new director
of Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods
LOUISVILLE, KY (December 23, 2015) – Citing his wealth of knowledge and experience, Mayor Greg Fischer today named Eric as acting director of the Department of Community Services, the department which works to reduce homelessness, assist with household financial stability, advocate for targeted populations and improve the overall quality of life for families across our community.
He also announced today that Rashaad Abdur-Rahman will be the new director of the city’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. The mission of the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods is to reduce the number of homicides, suicides and overdoses in Louisville, through the lens of public health. Mayor Fischer created the office in 2013, on the recommendation of the Violence Prevention Work Group, which is made up of community leaders.
Friedlander has more than 30 years of government experience, most recently with the Beshear administration, having overseen the human resources, budget and legislative departments of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
“Eric brings a broad, innovative approach to leadership,” Fischer said. “He has proven he can unite a team and implement creative programs that help build stronger families, stronger neighborhoods and stronger communities.”
Friedlander served as the executive director for the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs; had executive leadership roles in the Office of the Inspector General, Behavioral Health, Office of Health Policy (CON), Department for Income Support and Family Resource and Youth Services Centers, as well as serving as Deputy Secretary for the Cabinet.
A graduate of Antioch College in economics, he currently resides in Butchertown.
“I am thrilled to join the Metro team,” Friedlander said. “The men and women from Community Services work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all residents and reduce poverty. They are the unsung heroes for many in our community. Their work is a model throughout the nation, and I look forward to helping them build upon that success.”
Friedlander will serve while a search for a permanent director takes place.
Katina Whitlock, who was appointed director of Community Services in November 2014, has accepted a position with the Louisville Urban League.
Abdur-Rahman previously served as director of child welfare services for Family & Children’s Place, where he managed a total budget in excess of $400,000 and supervised a staff of 18. He earned a master’s of science in social work from the University of Louisville and bachelor’s degree in psychology from Berea College.
Fischer noted that Abdur-Rahman is already very familiar with the office, serving as a volunteer on its One Love Louisville implementation team.
“Our search for a new director was thoughtful and thorough,” Mayor Fischer said. “The work of this office is critical to the future health and safety of our community. Rashaad is a proven leader, and his energy, dedication and compassion are evident to everyone who meets him.”
Abdur-Rahman replaces Anthony Smith, who had served as director since the office was created in 2013. In October, Smith was named CEO of Cities United, based in Washington, D.C.
Abdur-Rahman said he is excited about this new opportunity as director.
“I am honored to serve in this role and to help design and implement collaborative strategies with an array of stakeholders who share the ultimate vision of ensuring safe and vibrant neighborhoods for everyone in this great city,” he said. “The solutions to safe neighborhoods come from the people who live in those neighborhoods. I look forward gaining their insight to help with the overall health and safety of Louisville.
Abdur-Rahman will work in partnership with Yvette Gentry, the city’s chief of Community Building; Quaniqua Carthan, coordinator for the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods; and Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad
Abdul-Rahman has previously worked at Seven Counties Services, Bellewood Presbyterian Homes for Children and Brooklawn Child and Family Services.
He also served as a board member for Metro United Way’s Black Male Achievement Steering Committee, and 2not1: Fatherhood and Families.
The Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods was created to mold neighborhoods that support every citizen from prenatal – through – education – to – career. The office focuses energy and resources on youth (ages 0-11), juveniles (12-17) and young adults (ages 18-30), as well as on those most impacted by homicides, suicides and overdoses.