PA-Gov: Wolf Announces Three More Cabinet Choices

Tom-WolfGovernor-Elect Tom Wolf announced three more of his cabinet choices, but only two of them are new.

Wolf is seeking to retain John Wetzel as Secretary of the Department of Corrections. Additionally, he will nominate Curt Topper for Secretary of the Department of General Services and Teresa Miller for Secretary the Department of Insurance.

“I am happy to announce that Secretary Wetzel will be staying at the Department of Corrections,” said Governor-Elect Tom Wolf. “He shares my view that we need to be tough on crime and put the rights of victims first, while protecting the taxpayers with smart reforms that reduce non-violent prison sentences and ensure inmates gain skills to become productive members of society.”

“I am also pleased that Curt Topper and Teresa Miller will be joining my administration,” Wolf continued. “In every position Curt has held, he has been instrumental in modernizing systems and finding ways to reduce costs. While previously with the commonwealth, Curt saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Teresa has extensive experience at both the state and federal levels and she received national recognition for her efforts to improve the rate review process in Oregon. Pennsylvania faces difficult challenges ahead, and I am confident that these highly qualified individuals will help me move our commonwealth forward.”

The Governor-Elect’s transition team released the following background information on John Wetzel:

John Wetzel – secretary, Department of Corrections. John Wetzel has served as secretary of the Department of Corrections since 2011 and is responsible for the management and operations of the department, which houses more than 51,000 inmates, has approximately 15,000 employees, as well as a budget of over $2 billion. During his tenure, Wetzel has become known for his efforts on prison reform and recidivism reduction. Wetzel has led Pennsylvania to its two largest prison inmate reductions since 1971, with a reduction of over 400 inmates in 2012 and a reduction of over 700 inmates in 2014.

John E. Wetzel, 45, has served as secretary of the Department of Corrections since 2011. Secretary Wetzel is responsible for the management and operations of the Department of Corrections which houses more than 51,000 inmates, has approximately 15,000 employees, and a nearly $2 billion budget. With more than 25 years of experience in the corrections field, his career began in 1989 as an officer at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility, followed by a transfer to the Berks County Prison. Over the course of his career he has held the positions of correctional officer, treatment counselor, supervisor of treatment services, and training academy director, before being appointed to the position of warden of the Franklin County Jail in 2002. Previously, Secretary Wetzel served as the corrections expert to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons from June 2007 until his confirmation as secretary of corrections in 2011. Wetzel earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Bloomsburg University and has done master’s level coursework in applied psychology at Penn State University. He lives in Chambersburg with his wife, Theresa, and their four daughters.

They sent the following on Curt Topper:

Curt Topper – secretary, Department of General Services. In his current capacity at Georgetown University, Curt Topper has renegotiated service and supply arrangements and introduced business process and system improvements to reduce the University’s operating costs by more than $1 million. While serving as deputy secretary of procurement for the commonwealth from 2005 to 2008, Topper led the department’s new shared services centers for procurement, warehousing, and print production. In this role, he was instrumental in modernizing and streamlining operations and played a key role in the implementation of new procurement activities. Topper also negotiated key contracts and reduced costs for the commonwealth by more than $200 million annually.

Curt Topper, 47, currently leads Georgetown University’s purchasing and contracting functions, including responsibility for construction services and accounts payable. He is the former deputy secretary for procurement at the Department of General Services, and he has more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Before Georgetown, Topper worked as a director at KPMG. As deputy secretary for procurement for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services from 2005 to 2008, Topper led the department’s new shared services centers for procurement, warehousing, and print production. Topper has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from Brown University and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Finally, the transition team provided some biographical information on Teresa Miller:

Teresa Miller – secretary, Department of Insurance. Teresa Miller has extensive experience in the health sector at both the state and federal levels. She is the former administrator of the Oregon Insurance Division, where she received national recognition for her efforts to improve the rates review process. She also served as acting director of the State Exchanges Group, the Oversight Group, and the Insurance Programs Group at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Miller helped CMS roll out the regulations and guided the implementation of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Teresa D. Miller, 39, is a partner at Crowell & Moring in the Health Care Group where she focuses on matters related to the implementation and enforcement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, Miller served as acting director of the State Exchanges Group, the Oversight Group, and the Insurance Programs Group at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services within the Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to her time with the federal government, Miller was the administrator of Oregon’s Insurance Division. Earlier in her career, Miller worked for the Oregon Department of Justice, Portland General Electric, the Tresidder Company, among other organizations. Miller also served as legislative director to former Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. Miller received her J.D. from Willamette University College of Law, and her B.A., magna cum laude, from Pacific Lutheran University. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.

January 12th, 2015 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Governor, Top Stories | 5 Comments

5 thoughts on “PA-Gov: Wolf Announces Three More Cabinet Choices”

  1. Beverly Jean Johnston says:

    An article in today’s Times Leader about the appointment of John Wetzel was very refreshing. We need to support our pre-school programs through head start and day care centers, making it easier for families who come from low income environments to get their children into these programs. But read on….after school programs work.

    I invite you, Governor Wolf and Secretary Wetzel to visit our after school program which has been in existence for over 25 years. All volunteers are from our community and local colleges, except for three paid staff members. NOT ONE CHILD FROM THIS PROGRAM HAS EVER BEEN BEFORE THE JUSTICE SYSTEM SINCE ITS INCEPTION. We have 155 children and teens in this program which is located at two low income housing complexes. We have started a teen program which begins at five pm when teens are likely to be out on the street corners. And many have gone on to receive degrees and have very successful lives. Sister Miriam Stadulis, founder of the program, who has since retired, continues to support our mission and most recently we honored her at a cocktail party in our community. We raised $10,000 at that cocktail party to keep this program going. Please go to our website or connect with us on facebook. We need this program throughout our State. And we need funding to make it happen. To save our country, we must first save our kids.
    Thank you for taking time to be involved with a very important issue. Beverly Jean Johnston Kingston, Pa.

  2. Steve Bandura says:

    Become a good Governor use objectivity. ask questions, be honest and fair, do not raise the gasoline tax and read the book The Peter Principle.”

  3. ms. murchison says:

    Sorry for that …I pray much success for all who have been selected to serve with Governor Wolf may God bless you all you have a hard task before you but I’m sure you can do the job I will be praying I forgot what page I was on that comment was for another site however I still hope my voice is heard thank you and have a great day

  4. ms. murchison says:

    Good Day I’m writing this notation to expess my feelings on inmate marriages as I read the inmate’s handbook regarding this matter I began to start the process for me and my fiance to get married however this process has taken 5 long years due to the fact that the court will not issue us a marriage license because both parties must be in attendance some institutions do not allow this nor do some courts have videoconference which leaves the prothonotary’s position to help obtain a marriage license My point is if a man or woman desire to marry while incarcerated they can and the inmate’s handbook clearly states this fact and if he or she has a strong home base and solid support system not a jailhouse romance but a family on the outside that wish to help that inmate return to a productive environment and a positive place in society what’s wrong with that I just want to get married I don’t want our son to have just a father in the home but a family man and what I know and believe to be right in the sight of God why make it so hard for inmates to obtain a marriage license its like putting a cookie in front of a child and telling them they can’t have it I’m not just speaking for myself I’m speaking for all that wish to marry the men or women that they love and want to build real families I pray that my voice is heard in this matter I’ve called Mr Wetzel office and was told about the prothonotary’s help with this matter but no one seems to care you want to see some change in incarcerated men and women tech them family skills not just work skills have classes on how to be a good father even if they have made mistake they are still human beings and can be a husband and a productive citizen in society best wishes to our newly elected Governor God bless you and may he give you the wisdom,knowledge and understanding to do the task ahead of you .

  5. Jack Krill says:

    Thanks for the update.

    But their correct titles are:

    Secretary of General Services, Secretary of Corrections and Insurance Commissioner. See Section 206 of the Administrative Code of 1929. They each employ “secretaries” with a small “s,” but they do not hold small “s” positions. And it’s officially the “Insurance Department,” which is a bit different style than the typical “Department of ___.”

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