Kerry Delaney, acting-commissioner of the department since 2014, is accepting the CEO position with Partners Health Plan, a not-for-profit managed care organization.
Officials with OPWDD and PHP did not respond to requests for comment.
Delaney previously served as general counsel before being appointed executive deputy commissioner of the agency. As head of OPWDD, she has headed a workforce of more than 22,000 direct-support professionals at an agency that provides services to more than 130,000 New Yorkers.
Delaney's acting commissioner title was never removed and she had therefore been able to receive a higher salary — $169,903 — than the statutory salary for the commissioner that is capped at $136,000.
New York's lobbying restrictions for former state employees prevent Delaney from appearing before her former department for the next two years, and bans her from interacting with the state on issues where she was directly involved.
In 2015, the state announced PHP was selected for a special demonstration program designed to coordinate care for people with developmental disabilities who were eligible for Medicaid and Medicare services. OPWDD was one of two state agencies involved in the partnership.
The initial demonstration program was part of a $6.1 million contract, but the follow up arrangement is worth more than $2 billion, according to records maintained by the state comptroller's office. The latter contract was signed by then-Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson.
Jennifer O'Sullivan, a spokeswoman for OPWDD, said that agency was "not a party to the agreement" and that it is "a managed care plan that was entered into four years ago among the Department of Health, CMS and Partners Health Plan."
"The contract was entered into years before any discussion of acting Commissioner Delaney’s post-state service employment opportunities," O'Sullivan said. "Acting Commissioner Delaney sought and received guidance from JCOPE (Joint Commission on Public Ethics) and agency counsel to the effect that working for a managed care plan would not violate post-employment restrictions."