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Deal selects new chief of Juvenile Justice department
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Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday that he has appointed Gale Buckner as the new commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

Amy Howell, current commissioner at DJJ, will take the role as general counsel at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

Upon Buckner’s succession to DJJ, James Mills will take her place on the State Board of Pardons and Paroles effective immediately. Deal named Mills to the board in September.

“As the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities implements the state’s settlement with the federal Department of Justice, I wanted to put Commissioner Amy Howell’s experience and skill set to work on that important task,” Deal said.

“Commissioner Frank Shelp and I are excited that she has agreed to take on this job. The timing of this has worked out great as it comes near the end of Gale Buckner’s tenure on Pardons and Paroles. Gale Buckner has given the state years of excellent service, and she boasts an impressive resume in law enforcement. I appreciate her willingness to take on this new role.”

Buckner currently serves on the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. She was appointed to the board by former Gov. Sonny Perdue in January 2005. She served as chair of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2010, and as vice chair from July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2008.

Buckner was appointed in July 2000 as executive director of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. She served in this position until her appointment to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Buckner also served with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation starting in 1981.