HOOPER resigns post; Crain appointed

Monday, August 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Bill Crain was named administrator of the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board on Monday after the resignation of former state Sen. Roy B. ``Butch'' Hooper of Lawton.

The board voted 6-0 to approve Hooper's resignation ``with regret'' during a special meeting at the agency's offices in northwest Oklahoma City. Crain then was appointed the new administrator.

The action came after a 45-minute executive session called by Bill Bartley, board chairman from Lawton. No reason was given for the change. Two members of the board did not attend.

The board adopted a resolution praising Hooper for keeping lawmakers and policyholders informed and for ``valuable leadership'' in long-range planning.

Hooper was hired on a 5-4 vote in May, 2000, to replace longtime administrator Odie Nance. The eight-member board currently has one vacancy. State Finance Director Tom Daxon and Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher are ex-officio members with voting privileges.

Crain, 52, has been with the agency for 8 1/2 years and was deputy administrator for operations.

``I wish my appointment would have been under different circumstance, but these kind of things happen,'' Crain said. ``We'll just go on from here.

``I look forward to it. We have a terrific board and a terrific staff, top to bottom.''

Hooper was not present for the board meeting. His one-paragraph resignation letter gave no explanation for why he was leaving the post.

The Associated Press attempted to contract him in Lawton but he had not returned telephone calls by Wednesday afternoon.

Dan Mahoney, spokesman for Gov. Frank Keating, said the change was a surprise. ``That's the first we've heard of it,'' Mahoney said.

Hooper served in the state House and Senate from 1974 to 1994 and also headed a family insurance business.

The agency, known by the acronym OSEEGIB, offers and administers group health, dental, life and disability insurance programs for more than 200,000 governmental and education employees, retirees and dependents.

Crain is a veteran of state government, previously working in the offices of three governor, a lieutenant governor and serving as public information officer at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center.