Consumer Protection head to step down

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he has been informed by Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Commissioner William M. Rubenstein that he intends to retire in January.

“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,” said Governor Malloy. “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.”

Commissioner Rubenstein began the position in January 2011 and was previously a partner at Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP in Hartford, where he worked as the firm’s ethics officer and lead attorney on antitrust, intellectual property and trade regulation cases for Fortune 500 companies. Rubenstein also served in the Antitrust and Consumer Protection Department in the Office of the Connecticut Attorney General 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, where he garnered extensive experience on antitrust and unfair trade litigation. Rubenstein was also an adjunct professor at UConn’s School of Law where he taught Antitrust Law last fall.

“It has been a privilege to serve as a guardian of Connecticut’s consumers these past 4 years and I thank Governor Malloy for having given me that opportunity,” said Commissioner Rubenstein.  “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.”

Under Commissioner Rubenstein’s leadership, DCP has made significant progress towards ensuring a fair and equitable marketplace, safe products and services for consumers in the industries that DCP licenses, regulates and enforces, which includes:

 

  • Creating and implementing Connecticut’s Medical Marijuana Program, which has gained national recognition as a model medical/pharmaceutical program;

 

  • Bringing significant consumer protection enforcement actions to halt unfair and deceptive practice in the mortgage repair, ticket resale and travel club industries, among others;

 

  • Combatting prescription drug abuse by enhancing the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program, providing continuing education programs to physicians and pharmacists and creating a municipal/state partnership to make drug drop-boxes available in local communities to dispose of outdated or unneeded pharmaceutical drugs;

 

  • Achieving over $2 million in annual savings from the consolidation of the Division of Special Revenue into the Department of Consumer Protection and streamlined processes within the Department to deliver services to both consumers and businesses faster;

 

  • Enhancing e-license technology to make it easier and faster to issue and renew the 220,000 occupational licenses issued each year.

Over the last four years, Commissioner Rubenstein also oversaw the creation of state-of the-art education and outreach programs that recognize the distinct needs of mainstream, ethnic and immigrant communities, so that all of Connecticut’s consumers can be empowered to combat fraud and make better informed choices when purchasing products or services.  These initiatives include creating smartconsumer.ct.gov and an electronic monthly newsletter, translating specially developed consumer education material into ten languages commonly spoken in Connecticut communities, creating a financial literacy curriculum and program for youth in partnership with the Connecticut Science Center, holding a first-of-its-kind symposium on communication in ethnic, immigrant and refugee communities, and developing tools and techniques for combatting fraud directed at Connecticut’s elder citizens.

 

 

 

Governor Malloy will announce a successor to serve as DCP Commissioner in the coming weeks.

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