Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein (file [photo)
Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein (file [photo) CT Mirror

William Rubenstein will retire in January as the commissioner of consumer protection, while two others will return: Dr. Jewel Mullen at the Department of Public Health and Robert Klee at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the status of those three commissioners Monday as he approaches the start of his second term next month.

Rubenstein, who had been a partner in the Hartford law firm of Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider, began as consumer protection commissioner after Malloy took office in January 2011.

Rubenstein also had served in the Antitrust and Consumer Protection Department in the state Attorney General’s Office from 1986-1997, where he handled consumer protection litigation and the development of enforcement policy. In the early 1980s, Rubenstein was counsel for the Federal Trade Commission, working on antitrust and unfair trade litigation.

“Bill has used his extensive experience in the public and private sectors to protect consumers from unfair business practices and unsafe products while enforcing the federal and state laws that ensure a fair and regulated marketplace for all,” Malloy said. “I thank Bill for his service and tireless advocacy on behalf of the citizens of Connecticut and wish him the best as he begins the next chapter of his life.”

During Rubenstein’s tenure as commissioner, the department: implemented Connecticut’s Medical Marijuana program; halted unfair and deceptive practices in the mortgage, ticket resale and travel club industries; and enhanced the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.

“It has been a privilege to serve as a guardian of Connecticut’s consumers these past four years and I thank Governor Malloy for having given me that opportunity,” Rubenstein said. “The changes that we made at the Department of Consumer Protection have made a meaningful difference in people’s lives.  I am most proud of our initiatives in education and outreach to traditionally underserved communities, which empower all consumers to combat fraud and make better-informed choices when purchasing products or services.”

The governor said he expects to announce a successor for Rubenstein in the coming weeks.

Malloy named Mullen in December 2010 to lead the Department of Public Health. Klee became commissioner a year ago, succeeding his mentor, Daniel C. Esty, who resigned to return to his faculty post at Yale University.

Under Mullen’s leadership, “Connecticut has responded to several natural disasters and emerging health threats, such as Ebola, while also tackling chronic diseases and other issues that directly impact the public’s health and well-being,” Malloy said. “Under her direction, DPH has transformed into a performance-based organization, one that ensures that no one in Connecticut is left behind when it comes to improving their health.”

Klee, who was Esty’s chief of staff for three years, has focused on strengthening the state’s response to climate change and a campaign to double its rate of recycling, Malloy said.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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