GIC Director Retiring

Mitchell Led Agency For Nearly 29 Years

DECEMBER 21, 2015: At the close of the state Group Insurance Commission’s December meeting, Executive Director Dolores Mitchell stunned the crowded meeting by announcing her retirement. After leading the GIC for nearly 29 years, Mitchell will retire in 2016.

The fifteen-member Commission that governs the GIC will now begin the process of hiring a new executive director.

At Friday’s meeting, the consensus of the Commission was to form a subcommittee that will meet in January to develop the hiring process. Due to the fact that the GIC now insures over 430,000 lives and has an annual budget exceeding $2 billion, several Commissioners have openly called for a formal open and transparent search process.

This runs contrary to the initial suggestion by Chairwoman Katherine Baicker, who suggested that the GIC could begin interviews as early as January. Baicker, a nationally known healthcare economist based at Harvard University, explained her concern over the important position remaining unfilled for an extended period.

Former Association President Ralph White was among the first to meet with Mitchell back in 1987 when she was appointed to the job. He worked closely with her for nearly 27 years, before retiring himself in 2013.

“We got tipped off by the Duke that he was bringing Dolores Mitchell on to run the GIC, so I headed over to her office at Katherine Gibbs to congratulate her and offer our Association’s cooperation. I think she was a little taken back that we got the news before she even had time to tell people, but from that meeting forward Dolores maintained an open door policy with us.

“Inevitably, there were times when we disagreed with decisions made by the GIC and were not happy with higher out-of-pocket costs being shifted onto our members. But those disagreements never became personal. There was never a moment when I doubted Dolores’s commitment to doing the best she could for retirees. In fact, I know there were several instances where she when nose to nose with some officials who sought to cut benefits and unfairly increase costs.”

“The Commission will be hard pressed to find anyone who can step into Dolores Mitchell’s shoes, but they can work to find the right person to follow in her footsteps. Being the successor to Ralph White here at Mass Retirees, I know how difficult it can be to follow someone held in such high esteem,” says Association President Frank Valeri. “Our Association has called on the Commission to partake in an open search process for the next director. Everyone needs to make sure that whomever it is, they are right for the job.”

Editors Note: Please look to the March 2016 edition of the Voice for an in-depth report on the director’s search, as well as the legacy left at the GIC by Dolores Mitchell.