Maine House Speaker Mark Eves has been hired to lead a social services agency in Westbrook that supports more than 1,500 individuals with special needs including autism and other mental health issues.

Woodfords Family Services said in a news release Thursday that Eves will replace Dr. Paul A. Nau, who is retiring, as the nonprofit’s executive director. Eves, D-North Berwick, will start on Oct. 1. “Mark’s professional credentials and career in behavioral health, as well as his statewide policy expertise and demonstrated leadership experience, make him the best person to lead Woodfords in the coming years,” Travis Beaulieu, president of Woodfords’ board of trustees, said in the release.

Eves is finishing his fourth term in the Maine House of Representatives and his second as speaker of the House.

Eves is a marriage and family therapist with 15 years of experience in behavioral health as both a clinician and administrator.

Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled for Gov. Paul LePage in a lawsuit filed by Eves that accused the governor of abusing his power when he threatened to withhold state funding to Good Will-Hinckley, a nonprofit in Fairfield that operates a charter school, unless it rescinded its job offer to Eves. The school subsequently withdrew its offer.

Eves has appealed the lawsuit’s dismissal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

“I am honored and excited about the opportunity to serve as executive director of Woodfords Family Services,” Eves said. “It will be a great privilege to lead this incredible organization that has grown from a grass roots effort to support families 50 years ago to a statewide leader in disability related services today.”

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