Christie Nominates Two Cabinet Members

Gov. Chris Christie announces his nominees to lead the Departments of Military and Veterans Affairs and Banking and Insurance during a press conference Monday. Photo by David Cruz.

Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday the nomination of two cabinet members to lead the Departments of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA) and Banking and Insurance (DOBI). Brigadier General Michael L. Cunniff, who has served as acting adjutant general since Dec. 16, was nominated to assume permanent leadership at the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Ken Kobylowski, currently chief of staff and acting director of banking at DOBI, was nominated to replace Commissioner Tom Considine, who is resigning to return to the private sector.

“I am proud today to nominate Brigadier General Cunniff as New Jersey’s next adjutant general, making permanent his leadership of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs,” Christie said. “Over the past month, General Cunniff has impressed me with his effective leadership of the department and its operations. I’m pleased he has agreed to continue that service and leadership to the people of this state as adjutant general.”

Christie appointed Cunniff to serve as acting adjutant general of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs on Dec. 16. Prior to that, Cunniff served as the 108th Air Refueling Wing Commander of the New Jersey Air National Guard. In that capacity, he was responsible for two flying units and the command of more than 1,300 members in more than 25 support units.

Kobylowski, currently chief of staff and acting director of banking at the Department of Banking of Insurance, will replace Considine, who will leave the administration effective Feb. 10 for a position in the private sector. Considine will join MagnaCare, a health plan services company, as chief operating officer.

“New Jersey’s insurance regulatory climate and reputation in the banking sector have improved considerably because of the work of Tom Considine,” said Christie. “Under Tom’s leadership, the department was a model for bringing private sector metrics and performance management to state government. In just two years, 59 new insurers have come into New Jersey while 64 others have expanded their authority. I thank Tom for his service and demonstrated record of achievement to the state and people of New Jersey.”

Christie also had praise for his new nominee. “I am pleased to announce my nomination of Ken Kobylowski to succeed Tom and continue the important work at the department. Ken is a person of considerable talent, expertise and accomplishment, who has been instrumental every single day in the department’s successes over the last two years in his capacity as chief of staff,” Christie said. “I thank him for taking on this new challenge and have no doubt he will build on DOBI’s strong record of the last two years.”

Kobylowski joined the Department of Banking and Insurance as chief of staff in February 2010 and took on the additional role of acting director of banking in October 2011. He serves as the chief operating officer for the department with full responsibility for all legislative, regulatory, operational and administrative matters. Kobylowski also serves as the department’s liaison with other state departments and federal agencies, notably the Federal Reserve and the FDIC. He is a gubernatorial appointee to the State Employees’ Health Benefits Plan Design Committee and the School Employees’ Health Benefits Plan Design Committee.