PEBP has new director |

PEBP has new director

The Public Employee Benefits Program board voted unanimously Monday to recommend Jim Wells as the new executive officer.

Wells, currently deputy superintendent of education for the state, said that for his background, the job is one of the best places to be.

“It’s one of the few areas of state government that operates like a real business,” he said.

Wells was one of three finalists, along with the program’s chief financial officer Jon Hager and John Zimmerman of the Douglas County (Colo.) School District.

His selection must be confirmed by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

Wells said while he is looking forward to the job, “I think it’s going to be a challenging time.”

“Some changes need to occur over the next biennium,” he said. “This represents an opportunity not just for the members but for the state and the taxpayers.”

Wells said given the state’s financial crisis, “Everything is going to have to be on the table, I think.”

“I expect salaries and benefits to be huge targets next session,” he said.

As for his vision of PEBP, Wells said, “We’ve got to promote health and wellness and personal responsibility because, if you don’t do those things, you can’t control costs at all.”

“You’ve got to have some balance between the plan your members want and the plan the taxpayers can afford,” he said.

Wells, 43, was chief financial officer for PEBP before becoming fiscal deputy in the Department of Education. The executive officer’s position pays $123,783 a year.


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