Jonathan Harris CT MIRROR
Jonathan Harris
Jonathan Harris CT MIRROR

Jonathan Harris, a lawyer and former state senator who recently stepped down as executive director of the Connecticut Democratic Party, was named commissioner of consumer protection Tuesday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Harris, 50, of West Hartford, will succeed William M. Rubenstein, who is retiring. His appointment is subject to confirmation by the General Assembly.

At consumer protection, Harris will lead an agency of more than 100 employees responsible for enforcing liquor laws and, more recently, the implementation of a law allowing the limited production and sale of marijuana for medical purposes.

“The Department of Consumer Protection is an extremely important agency for consumers, for businesses, for all taxpayers,” Harris said. “It has a positive impact, if you look at it, on a broad swath of policy, regulation and enforcement.”

Harris is former councilman and mayor in West Hartford. His predecessor in the state Senate was Kevin B. Sullivan, now the commissioner of the state Department of Revenue Services. Harris is a graduate of Brandeis and the New York University School of Law.

Malloy introduced Harris as his choice at a press conference attended by Rubenstein. He praised the retiring commissioner for modernizing the Department of Consumer Protection and developing a regulatory structure for medical marijuana.

Rubenstein said the three of the four licensed producers of marijuana are operating, serving a relative small medically certified clientele of 3,500 customers.

“Whether it’s economically viable, it’s too early for us to make a judgment,” Malloy said of the new business.

Harris became executive director of the state party in 2012 as it was building a get-out-the-vote effort in preparation for the 2014 election. Devon Puglia, who was the party’s spokesman, also has joined the administration as the director of media relations.

Malloy, 59, whose second term begins Jan. 7, still has to name commissioners at four departments: Banking, Education, Developmental Services and Insurance. He also has interim commissioners at three other departments: Aging, Correction and Veterans Affairs.

Malloy has four vacant commissioner jobs, plus interim appointees at Aging, Correction and Veterans Affairs. New appointees are in capital letters.
Title/Agency Appointee Salary
Administrative Services MELODY CURREY $145,000
Aging Margaret Gerundo-Murkette $123,599
Agriculture Steven Reviczy $132,160
Banking VACANT N/A
Chief of staff Mark Ojakian $189,952
Children & Families Joette Katz $172,291
Communication Director MARK BERGMAN $98,000
Consumer Protection JONATHAN HARRIS $142,800
Correction Scott Semple $155,000
Counsel KAREN BUFFKIN $172,000
Developmental Services VACANT N/A
Early Childhood Myra Jones-Taylor $142,040
Economic Development Catherine H. Smith $190,400
Education VACANT N/A
Emergency Services Dora B. Schriro $183,340
Energy & Environment Robert J. Klee $139,050
Housing Evonne Klein $127,200
Insurance VACANT N/A
Labor Sharon M. Palmer $156,880
Mental Health & Addiction Patricia Rehmer $165,535
Military Thaddeus J. Martin $182,132
Motor Vehicles ANDRES AYALA JR. $150,000
Policy and Management Ben Barnes $209,439
Public Health Jewel Mullen $190,400
Rehabilitation Services Amy Porter $149,126
Revenue Services Kevin Sullivan $190,400
Social Services Roderick L. Bremby $190,400
Transportation James P. Redeker $190,749
Veterans’ Affairs Joseph Perkins $125,000
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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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