HARRISBURG - Tom Corbett, the state attorney general who is about to become governor, took two steps toward filling out his cabinet Friday.

The governor-elect named the top investigator from the Attorney General's Office to lead the state police, and chose a warden from central Pennsylvania to oversee one of the largest and most expensive parts of state government, the Department of Corrections.

Frank Noonan, 64, Corbett's chief of criminal investigations, spent more than 25 years with the FBI before joining the Attorney General's Office. He won a Bronze Star as a Marine in Vietnam and is a graduate of West Chester University.

If confirmed, Noonan will succeed Rendell appointee Frank Pawlowski as state police commissioner. His confirmation would break a chain of six state police commissioners who rose through the ranks to lead a police force that is among the nation's largest. With about 6,000 troopers and civilian employees, the agency has a budget this year of $876 million.

Corbett's corrections nominee is John Wetzel, 41, warden of the Franklin County jail, who was appointed by Gov. Rendell in 2007 to the state Board of Pardons.

If confirmed, Wetzel would oversee an expanding agency that recently shipped 2,000 prisoners out of state and placed about 600 more in county jails because of overcrowding. Three new state prisons are being built.

All told, the state's 27 prisons now hold more than 51,000 inmates. The Corrections Department employs more than 16,000 employees and has a $1.9 billion budget.

The announcements bring to three the number of cabinet-level appointments announced by Corbett. Last week he named coal industry executive C. Alan Walker, 66, of Clearfield, to serve as secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Walker, president and chief executive officer of Bradford Energy Co., is a member and past chairman of the board of directors of both the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania Coal Association.

All cabinet nominees must be confirmed by the state Senate. Not much difficulty is expected there, as the Senate's controlling majority, like Corbett, is Republican.

He is to be sworn in as Pennsylvania's 46th governor on Jan. 18.

Contact staff writer Amy Worden at 717-783-2584 or aworden@phillynews.com.
This article contains information from the Associated Press.