Héctor Colón, director of Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services, has been named the new president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.
He joins the Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization after six years with the county.
Colón replaces LSS president and CEO David Larson, who has led the organization for 15 years. Colón will begin in his new position next month.
“I am humbled to join Lutheran Social Services,” Colón said. “As a faith-based, mission-driven organization, LSS’s work to improve people’s lives is impressive and absolutely inspires me. I look forward to working with our leadership and staff to make LSS a provider and employer of choice.”
Affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, LSS provides services related to adoption, foster care, affordable housing, mental health and addiction treatment, homelessness and treatment for traumatized youth.
“We are honored to welcome Héctor Colón to the LSS family,” said LSS Board Chair John Howman. “Héctor’s experience in social services and health care and his track record of strategic decision making and values-driven leadership are exactly what we are looking for in our next leader.”
Colon is credited with leading several initiatives in the county during his tenure, including efforts to reform the juvenile justice system, end chronic homelessness and overhaul its mental health care services.
The county has made a concerted effort in recent years to transform its mental health services by phasing out longterm care at its Mental Health Complex in Wauwatosa, while increasing access to wraparound services, case managers and preventative care programs.
“When I say that tens of thousands of lives in Milwaukee County are better today than they were six years ago because of Héctor Colón and his team at the Department of Health and Human Services it’s not an exaggeration,” County Executive Chris Abele said. “Héctor is an inspired leader who motivates the people around him to do bigger and better things than they thought were possible.”
Colón’s resignation from his county position follows a decision last month by the Milwaukee County Board to return certain county employees’ pay ranges to board-approved levels. Abele had created new pay ranges in recent years for certain appointees and department heads, including Colón. Under Abele’s pay structure, Colón’s salary is $179,400, according to county board documents. Under the board-approved pay range, his salary is capped at $124,883.
DHSS Chief Operating Officer Jeanne Dorff will serve as interim director of the department while Abele begins the search for Colon’s replacement.