July 9th marked Wayne Bell’s final day as the California Real Estate Commissioner.

Bell’s departure occurred just after the official reinstatement of the Department of Real Estate (DRE) as an independent entity, following five years as the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) under the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).

Bell was appointed in February of 2013, after having served as Chief Counsel and Assistant Commissioner for Legal Policy and Recovery at the DRE since 2006. His tenure as Commissioner began with the initial placement of the DRE under the DCA in July of that year.

Initially, no further details were given by either the DRE or the governor’s office as to the nature of Bell’s departure. Neither entity has released an official statement regarding Bell’s exit as of this writing.

However, on inquiry from first tuesday, the former Chief Deputy Commissioner at the DRE, Daniel Sandri, confirmed he will take Bell’s place as Acting Real Estate Commissioner.

While Sandri declined to comment on the reason for the Commissioner’s departure, he indicated that the restoration of the DRE as an autonomous entity free from the DCA will proceed as intended, unaffected by Bell’s exit. This is good news for licensees — the DRE’s newfound independence suggests it will be better positioned to increase its efficiency in areas such as processing real estate licensing and renewal applications.

When asked whether he had any specific initiatives planned for his tenure at the head of the DRE, Sandri noted only that consumer protection remains the department’s primary focus, as it was under Bell.

We intend to speak to Sandri in greater depth in the coming weeks as the department acclimates to its new structural independence and leadership. Stay tuned for continuing developments in this story.

Editor’s note – What would you like you know about the new Commissioner? What questions would you like us to ask? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.