County resident Collins guides state’s senior services

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

Shelby County resident Irene Collins is settling in for another four-year appointment as commissioner of the Alabama Department of Senior Services.

Gov. Robert Bentley reappointed Collins to the cabinet-level position last month. Collins served for eight years under former Gov. Bob Riley.

“I’m quite honored that he’s asked me to transition into his administration,” Collins said Feb. 11. “It’s a real privilege to be able to continue to further the work that we began.”

Irene B. Collins

Under Collins’ direction, ADSS administers statewide programs covering all 67 counties. With a staff of 42, Senior Services is one of the state’s “most efficient” agencies, Collins said. Outside agencies with about 2,000 individuals help render the services throughout the state.

Collins has helped ADSS to surpass numerous goals set for the aging network, including the construction of 55 new senior centers and 20 safe centers across the state.

Collins also serves as president of the National Association of States United for Aging and Disability. Right now, the association is looking at the Affordable Care Act and how it will affect seniors, Collins said.

“Congress is meeting and deliberating,” she said. “We’re waiting to see what actions are going to take place, especially with the lawsuits that are out there.”

Collins serves on the Governor’s Workforce Development Council, is chairman of the United We Ride initiative and was one of 30 people nationwide selected to serve on the FEMA National Advisory Council.

Collins has lived in Shelby County for 13 years, and just outside of Columbiana for the last eight years. Collins and husband Hank attend Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Alabaster.

“I love living in Shelby County,” Collins said.