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Disability dept. secretary retiring after 7 years

Wednesday - 4/9/2014, 7:55pm  ET

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Catherine Raggio, the secretary of Maryland's Department of Disabilities, plans to retire at the end of this month after seven years in the position.

The governor's office says the deputy secretary, George Failla Jr., will take over until Raggio's permanent replacement is appointed. Failla has worked in the department since 2008.

Raggio helped start an initiative to increase affordable housing for the disabled, and the program has secured an $11 million federal grant that will establish 150 long-term rental units.

Raggio also helped create a four-year education program at University of Maryland Baltimore County for intellectually disabled students.

Before her appointment as secretary, she founded Independence Now, a nonprofit organization that promotes independent living resources for the disabled. She also led the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council from 1980 to 1989.

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