January 12, 2015

Wolf Announces Choices For Corrections, General Services, Insurance

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf Monday announced Secretary John Wetzel will remain as the head of the Department of Corrections. Wolf also announced that he has selected Curt Topper, Georgetown University's head of purchasing and contract functions, to be secretary of the Department of General Services and Teresa Miller, currently a health care partner at Crowell & Moring and the former administrator of the Oregon Insurance Division, to lead the Department of Insurance.
"I am happy to announce that Secretary Wetzel will be staying at the Department of Corrections. 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," said Gov.-Elect Tom Wolf.
"I am also pleased that Curt Topper and Teresa Miller will be joining my administration. 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."
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.
Wetzel, 45, has 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.
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.
Topper, 47, worked as a director at KPMG. He 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.
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.
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). 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.