James W. McCracken, M.H.A., was appointed New Jersey Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly by Governor Chris Christie on December 3, 2010.
As Ombudsman, McCracken manages a staff dedicated to secure, preserve and promote the health, safety and welfare of New Jersey citizens 60 years and older residing in long-term health care facilities. The Office of the Elder Ombudsman provides advocacy to residents living in long-term care settings and investigates more than 3,000 abuse and neglect allegations each year.
Prior to being appointed Ombudsman, McCracken was CEO and Executive Director of The House of the Good Shepherd, (The House), Hackettstown, N.J., a continuing care retirement community offering healthcare and specialized services to more than 180 residents. The House includes independent apartments, assisted living suites, nursing residences and cottage homes. Mr. McCracken managed a $10.5 million annual budget and a staff of more than 120.
McCracken began his career in 1995 as Manager of Program Development at the United Methodist Homes of New Jersey (UMHNJ) in Neptune, N.J. In 1999, he was named Executive Director of the Francis Asbury Manor in Ocean Grove, N.J., and from 2000 to 2007 served as Administrator of the Bristol Glen Continuing Care Retirement Community in Newton, N.J.
A strong believer in civic involvement, Mr. McCracken served on the Fredon Township Committee from 2003 to 2010. He was selected by his fellow committeepersons as Deputy Mayor in 2005 and 2007 and as Mayor in 2010.
Mr. McCracken has served on many boards including the NJ Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce, the 200 Club of Sussex County (past president), and the House of Delegates of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Mr. McCracken has been a member of the Sussex and Warren Counties Chambers of Commerce and the Sussex County League of Municipalities (past president). He was formerly a member of the Newton and Hackettstown Rotary Clubs. He was selected as a 2009 Fellow by Leadership New Jersey, a statewide organization that equips emerging leaders positively to impact the state through leadership in business, government, education, and the non-profit sector.
Mr. McCracken received his Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Denison University in Granville, OH, and earned a Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of New Hampshire in Durham. He also studied Pre-Hospital Emergency Care at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.