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The Office of the Independent Ombudsman exists for securing the rights of residents of state supported living centers by investigating, evaluating and reporting the manner and processes which the Health and Human Services uses to resolve appeals and complaints.

If you want to reach the Long-term Care Ombudsman's Office about the quality of care at a nursing home or assisted living facility, please visit their website.

Central Office Staff

George Bithos Dr. George P. Bithos
Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 512-706-7274
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George P. Bithos grew up in Dallas and is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, Baylor College of Dentistry and Durham University in the United Kingdom. He was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2010 to be the first Independent Ombudsman for state supported living centers. He organized and has led the office since that time and has been recently been reappointed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Candace Jennings Candace Jennings
Deputy Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 512-706-7283
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Candace Jennings has served as deputy independent ombudsman since 2010. She supports the independent ombudsman by leading with compassion and integrity, supporting people to have positive control over their lives. She began serving people with developmental disabilities as a direct care specialist and then gained professional experience serving the San Antonio community. She has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Texas State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Carrie Martin Carrie Martin
Lead Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 512-706-7245
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Carrie Martin has supported and advocated on behalf of underserved populations for more than a decade including: providing vocational training and employment services at a residential training facility for people with IDD, working with special education students in the public school system, advocating for and ensuring due process for indigent defendants, as well as managing operations and conducting internal audits for a foster care and adoption agency. As the lead assistant independent ombudsman,  she manages and oversees the legislatively mandated program review audit and supports the Office of the Independent Ombudsman in strategy and general operations management.

Jessica Rosa Jessica Rosa
Administrative Assistant
Phone: 512-706-7260
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Jessica Rosa was born and raised in Austin, TX. She attended Austin Community College and Concordia University where she studied Finance. She began her professional career working for several financial institutions providing banking services for the community, and eventually moved on to work for a leading provider of residential services and supports where she provided billing and money management assistance. Ms. Rosa has experience in report development, data management, and administrative operations. She joined the Office of the Independent Ombudsman central office team in December 2019.

Brian Morton Brian Morton
Program Review Coordinator
Phone: 512-706-7227
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Brian Morton joined of the Office of the Independent Ombudsman in January 2020. He is a member of the program review team and performs the logistical, administrative, and coordination duties for the legislatively mandated program review audit. Prior to joining the Office of the Independent Ombudsman, he worked as a Bill Analyst at the Texas Legislative Council and interned in various state and local government offices in Colorado.

Staff at State Supported Living Centers

Jill Antilley Jill Antilley
Abilene
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 325-795-3357
Fax: 325-795-3853
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Jill Antilley has worked with the Abilene SSLC for over 18 years in several positions, primarily serving in positions that involve rights, due process, and advocating for residents and their families. She has been with the Office of the Independent Ombudsman since it was created by legislature in 2009.

Talya Hines Talya Hines
Austin
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 512-374-6214
Fax: 512-374-6722
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Talya Hines has a Master of Science degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the University of North Texas in Denton She has served in social services for the state of Texas in various positions since 2006. She joined the Office of the Independent Ombudsman at the Austin SSLC in 2018. Additionally, Hines  is a certified person-centered thinking trainer, where she assists others to live meaningful and fulfilling lives. 

Susan Aguilar Susan Aguilar
Brenham
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 979-277-1332
Fax: 979-277-1861
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Susan Aguilar has worked in the field of intellectual disabilities/developmental disabilities throughout her career. She has held a variety of positions at Brenham SSLC, including qualified intellectual disabilities professional and rights officer, and has held the position of assistant independent ombudsman since 2010. Aguilar is a certified person-centered thinking trainer with The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices.

Kelley Davis Kelley Davis
Corpus Christi
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 361-844-7878
Fax: 361-844-7621
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Kelley Davis joined the Office of the Independent Ombudsman in 2017. She has devoted more than 25 years to state service in various capacities. Since she has been at Corpus Christi SSLC, she has advocated for a supportive environment that will promote independent and fulfilling lives for the residents.

Edward Leal Edward Leal
Denton
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 940-591-3355
Fax: 940-591-3473
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Edward Leal began his career in 2009 at the Denton SSLC where he served both as a Direct Support Professional and the Administrative Assistant to the Center Director for almost a decade. Edward then served as a Civil Rights Specialist where he received extensive training and experience conducting complex investigations of employment discrimination complaints. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from the University of North Texas with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Psychology and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree. Edward has served as the Assistant Independent Ombudsman at the Denton SSLC since February 2020.

Isabel Ponce Isabel Ponce
El Paso
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 915-782-6330
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Isabel Ponce has worked in service of the elderly, children and people with IDD for well over 20 years. During this time, she has provided social services, community outreach, advocacy and case investigations. These fields of service to people are what have been the most interesting and fulfilling to her. She has been the assistant independent ombudsman at the El Paso State Supported Living Center since December 2010.

James Clark
Lubbock
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 806-741-3600
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James Clark has worked 20 years helping vulnerable Texans live happy, safe, and meaningful lives. He began his career with the State of Texas June of 1999. He has worked in many roles, from direct support, to management, and most recently with the Department of Family and Protective Services, as an investigator. He joined the Office of the Independent Ombudsman as the Assistant Independent Ombudsman at the Lubbock State Supported Living Center April 1, 2020.

Vacant
Lufkin
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
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Adam Parks Adam Parks
Mexia
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 254-562-1556
Fax: 254-562-1554
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Adam Parks earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stephen F. Austin State University. He has worked for the State of Texas in various roles since 2007. He accepted the position of assistant independent ombudsman at Mexia State Supported Living Center in 2014. Adam also is a certified person-centered thinking instructor.

Deatrice Potlow Deatrice Potlow
Richmond
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 281-344-4271
Fax: 281-344-4401
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Deatrice Potlow was born and raised in Greenwood, Mississippi, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Shortly after graduation, she relocated to Houston, and began her career with the State of Texas serving and protecting children, adults and people with disabilities by investigating allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Horacio Flores Horacio Flores
Rio Grande
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 956-364-8223
Fax: 956-364-8260
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Horacio Flores began his career with the State of Texas in 2008. He has held multiple positions during his state tenure including investigator, qualified intellectual disabilities professional and lead QIDP. He joined the Office of the Independent Ombudsman as the assistant independent ombudsman at the Rio Grande Center in April 2017.

Brenda Frausto Brenda Frausto
San Angelo
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 325-465-2464
Fax: 325-465-2164
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Brenda Frausto’s career has been devoted to supporting and advocating for people to live the life they want to their fullest potential. Her passion to support others comes from her previous employment and volunteer experience and continued pursuit to enhance her knowledge. Frausto joined the Office of the Independent Ombudsman in November 2016.

Gevona Hicks Gevona Hicks
San Antonio
Assistant Independent Ombudsman
Phone: 210-531-5255
Fax: 210-531-3877
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Gevona Hicks’ goal is to be a valued resource for Texans with disabilities, their families and service providers. Before joining the Office of the Independent Ombudsman in April 2014, she supported people with IDD by coordinating services for state and community intermediate care facilities and home and community-based service providers and served as the human rights officer at the San Antonio SSLC. As a certified person-centered thinking trainer, she supports Texans to live the lives they envision for themselves.