Utility regulators skip workshop on cleaning up their agencyby Dara Kam | November 24th, 2009
Three of the five Public Service Commissioners were absent today at a public discussion of how to clean up their beleaguered regulatory panel.
And one of the two who did bother to attend won’t be on the panel much longer – Chairman Matthew Carter’s term is up on Dec. 31 and Gov. Charlie Crist didn’t reappoint him.
Carter scheduled the staff workshop for today – two days before Thanksgiving because the PSC has a busy schedule and it’s a work week like any other, he said.
Commissioner Nathan Skop was also present at the talks on whether to tighten restrictions on communications between the regulators and their staff and the utilities they oversee.
Skop said the panel and lawmakers should take the recommendations of a 1992 statewide grand jury report dealing with the same issue that lawmakers and the PSC ignored.
The 17-year-old grand jury report provided solutions to problems regarding “ex parte communications,” those dealing with cases currently or about to be under consideration,
“were written as they were written for this very situation that we find ourselves in today,” Skop said.
Carter offered a simple solution originally proposed by former Commissioner Katrina McMurrian, who quit her post on Oct. 5 after Crist effectively fired her by pass her over for reappointment.
Put everything in writing and put it in the record, Carter said.
“We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But by the same token in the process of yelling and screaming we need to step back and say what do we really need to do here,” Carter said. “Do we burn the house down to get the kid to clean up his room or do we just ask the kid to clean up his room?