March 8, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Council on Disability (NCD) – an independent, nonpartisan federal agency that advises the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy – announces current board member Neil Romano, of Orlando, Florida, as its new Chairman. Previous Chairperson Clyde Terry remains on the Council as a member. Mr. Romano’s designation as Chairman of the Council was made official by the White House on Monday, February 26. No further changes to the Council were made and existing presidential appointees have been asked to stay.
Before being designated as Chairman by President Trump, Mr. Romano was appointed to NCD in February of 2015 and then reappointed for a second term of three years by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on February 15, 2018. Mr. Romano remains a congressional appointee to NCD.
During his time at NCD, Mr. Romano has also served on NCD’s Executive Committee in his capacity as the Chairman of the Finance Committee. With his designation as Chairman of the Council, Mr. Romano requested Council Member Billy Altom to take on the role of Finance Committee Chair, which he accepted. Council Member Benro Ogunyipe will remain the Vice Chairperson.
Due to changes made to NCD’s authorizing statute in the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, members of NCD are appointed by the President, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, the Speaker of the House, and the House Minority Leader. By law, NCD’s Chairperson is designated by the President.
“I am honored to serve the Council and the community in this new role. Policymakers are faced with daunting policy challenges in the new term, and many of these challenges stand to have incredible impact on people with disabilities,” stated incoming NCD Chairman, Neil Romano. “I believe NCD can play a critical role in shaping these discussions and in finding solutions that work toward the full inclusion and equality of all people with disabilities.”
Mr. Romano and the current Council members and staff of NCD all extend their gratitude and collective thanks to the immediate past Chairperson, Clyde Terry, who served in the role of Chairperson since September of 2015.
Current NCD Council members include: Neil Romano (incoming Chairman), Clyde Terry, Benro T. Ogunyipe, Wendy Harbour, Billy Altom, Rabia Belt, James Brett, Daniel Gade, and Andrés Gallegos.
Biography of Neil Romano:
Neil Romano has dedicated his career to the marketing of ideas and messages to help save lives and promote public policy. Romano’s extensive professional background includes tenure as director of communications for the White House Office of Drug Abuse Policy. In that role, he worked on notable public awareness campaigns including “Just Say No” and “America Responds to AIDS.” In 2007, Romano was nominated by President George W. Bush to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Romano advised the Secretary of Labor and worked with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities in the United States. His work as a member of the Committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled, helped improve the quality of life for workers with disabilities. In 2010, Romano’s work as a member of that committee was recognized by the full committee with a special leadership award. As a producer/director, Romano’s film, “Youth Homicide: A Public Health Crisis,” earned a Best Director Emmy Nomination. Romano graduated from New York University, Phi Beta Kappa. Romano lives with his wife of 30 years, Barbara, and is the proud father of two adult daughters – Bianca Romano Stephens and Christina Romano.