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New Commissioners Quietly Take Seats on CPUC

New Commissioners Quietly Take Seats on CPUC

With no notice and little fanfare-not even a press release-the California Public Utilities Commission got back to full strength with two "temporary" appointees, both holding existing appointive positions in Gov. Gray Davis' first-year administration. Indicative of the seemingly low profile Gov. Davis is giving energy issues, the new commissioners were rushed onboard the five-member commission June 3 so they could participate in some controversial telecommunications cases.

Loretta Lynch, a former law partner in a California firm and now the head of the state Office of Planning and Research, and Tal Finney, also a lawyer and currently policy director in the governor's office, both were literally sworn in and whisked into their first CPUC meeting all in the same day. Even with a full five commissioners, the CPUC postponed the controversial telecommunications issue for another week. A Sacramento lobbyist for the CPUC confirmed that the appointments were not permanent as evidenced by the fact that both new regulatory commissioners are expected to return to their current positions with the governor in Sacramento.

The CPUC is headquartered in San Francisco. California law allows gubernatorial appointees to serve up to a year without legislative confirmation. Beyond that point, a person has to have the state Senate's approval to serve.

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