R.I. Gov. to Replace Business Regulator McConaghy

January 10, 2005

Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri will oust Department of Business Regulation director Marilyn Shannon McConaghy and two other officials, following widespread criticism of the department’s oversight of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

McConaghy and Anthony Arrico, the department’s deputy director, and David Saint Germain, the agency’s top lawyer, will be shifted to other state jobs, The Providence Journal reported.

Carcieri will nominate Michael Marques, a Republican, to replace McConaghy, a former Democratic state senator and Statehouse lobbyist. Marques once worked as an executive with Carcieri at Old Stone Bank.

“Mike Marques will provide DBR with a fresh start and a fresh perspective,” Carcieri said in a statement. “With 29 years of banking experience, Mike understands how business operates, and what business needs to thrive.”

Marques “will work to reduce unnecessary red tape, and to enable Rhode Island businesses to flourish,” Carcieri said.

McConaghy was criticized last year for her department’s approval of Blue Cross requests for rate increases, despite the nonprofit insurer’s granting of a $600,000 loan to its former president and other perks for company officers and directors.

Attorney General Patrick Lynch called the department broken.

Secretary of State Matthew Brown proposed an independent insurance commissioner to oversee that industry. Brown has also criticized the department for broker incentive fees paid by insurers to brokers who steer business their way.

McConaghy, of Pawtucket, served as a Democratic state senator in the early 1980s and then later worked with the Providence law firm of Tillinghast, Collins & Graham, lobbying the House and Senate on behalf of insurance industry clients.

She joined the department as legal counsel in 1998 and was appointed director in 2000 by former Gov. Lincoln Almond.

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