Commissioners in Limbo

By Published On: January 14, 2011

Governor Jerry Brown withdrew the nominations of California Energy Commission members Bob Weisenmiller and Anthony Eggert, eliminating their confirmation hearing deadline set for earlier this month. This gives the two--who sat on the commission last year--the possibility of being reappointed instead of eliminated from the running. The fate of California Public Utilities Commission member Nancy Ryan was still up in the air as of press time. If Brown does not withdraw her nomination by the previous governor, she must be confirmed in her post by Jan. 20. Given the new administration and legislators’ focus on the newly-proposed budget, a hearing by the cutoff date is unlikely. If Ryan loses her post, only two CPUC members would remain serving after this week--President Mike Peevey and Tim Simon. Dian Grueneich and John Bohn’s terms were up at the end of 2010. Three sitting members of the five-member commission are required for the CPUC to hold voting business meetings. Unless Brown fills at least one vacancy or the Legislature confirms Ryan, the commission could not take action at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Jan. 27. Eggert and Weisenmiller were nominated to the Energy Commission by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Jan. 6, 2010. Their commission posts had to be confirmed by the Senate within 12 months of their appointments, unless withdrawn. Two of the three remaining Energy Commissioners’ terms expired. Although the terms of Jim Boyd and Jeff Byron are up, they are allowed to serve an additional 60 days after a three-week hold over if the state chief does not make appointments to those seats. Byron “can continue to serve until a new appointment is made not to exceed 60 days after Feb. 1, which is midnight April 1, 2011,” according to Susanne Garfield, CEC spokesperson. If new appointments aren’t named by that time, the Energy Commission also would be unable to hold a voting meeting for lack of a quorum. Weisenmiller’s and Eggert’s names and resumes were removed from the Energy Commission website Jan. 10. Calls to the governor’s office about the appointments were not returned before press time. Few insiders would predict how soon new commissioners would be named.

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