- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov.-elect Tom Wolf said Monday he will nominate state Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, originally appointed by outgoing Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, to stay on in Wolf’s new Democratic administration.

Wolf, whose inauguration is set for Jan. 20, also said he has picked Curt Topper to head the Department of General Services and Teresa Miller as secretary of the Department of Insurance.

Wetzel, 45, was the warden of the Franklin County Jail and a member of the state Board of Pardons when Corbett appointed him in 2011 to run a prison system that holds about 51,000 inmates and has about 15,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $2 billion.

He has played a central role in implementing changes designed to reduce the prison population, largely through changes in the parole system, and earned the respect of both parties in the Legislature.

Wetzel “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 nonviolent prison sentences and ensure inmates gain skills to become productive members of society,” Wolf said.

A Chambersburg resident, Wetzel holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bloomsburg University.

Topper, 47, who currently handles Georgetown University’s purchasing and contracting functions, is a former deputy secretary of procurement at the Department of General Services, where he served as deputy secretary for procurement for three years under Gov. Ed Rendell.

Topper holds a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Miller, 39, is a partner in the Washington law firm of Crowell & Moring, where she specializes in matters involving the 2010 federal health care law. She previously worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and served as the administrator of Oregon’s Insurance Division. She holds a law degree from Willamette University College of Law.

All three prospective nominees will require confirmation by the state Senate.

Wetzel’s position carries a $152,657 salary in 2015. Topper would receive $145,025 and Miller, $137,392.

Wolf’s election victory prevented Corbett from winning a second four-year term. Wolf has previously announced his choices for his general counsel and the secretaries of Revenue, State and Community and Economic Development.

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