DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE: Top Quackenbush Aides Resign
At the behest of newly appointed chief deputy insurance commissioner Clark Kelso, six members of California Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush's inner circle resigned yesterday in a move to reorganize the Department of Insurance and remove the "taint of scandal" from its operations, the Los Angeles Times reports. "My goal is simply to establish new leadership and to keep the department fulfilling its important role in protecting and serving consumers and regulating the insurance industry," Kelso said. The six top insurance officials who submitted resignations were: Chief Deputy Commissioner Michael Kelley, Chief Counsel Brian Soublet and deputy commissioners David Langenbacher, Mark Lowder, Steve Suchil and Jim Dong. All six will move to lower-level positions within the state civil service system, with most remaining in the insurance department. Kelso has not indicated whether he plans to take any disciplinary action against Quackenbush's deputies for their involvement in the scandal that ultimately cost Quackenbush his job. Although Senate Insurance Committee Chair Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) said she was "disturbed" by Kelso's decision to allow some of the deputies to remain in the department, she maintained that Kelso "did precisely the right thing [by] "clean[ing] house." She added that she wanted Kelso to consider disciplinary action against Quackenbush's aides. Yesterday, Kelso named Deputy Attorney General Steven Green as his acting chief counsel and indicated that he will appoint new interim deputy commissioners in the next few days (Ellis, 7/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.