With no notice and little fanfare-not even a press release-theCalifornia Public Utilities Commission got back to full strengthwith two “temporary” appointees, both holding existing appointivepositions in Gov. Gray Davis’ first-year administration. Indicativeof the seemingly low profile Gov. Davis is giving energy issues,the new commissioners were rushed onboard the five-membercommission June 3 so they could participate in some controversialtelecommunications cases.

Loretta Lynch, a former law partner in a California firm and nowthe head of the state Office of Planning and Research, and TalFinney, also a lawyer and currently policy director in thegovernor’s office, both were literally sworn in and whisked intotheir first CPUC meeting all in the same day. Even with a full fivecommissioners, the CPUC postponed the controversialtelecommunications issue for another week. A Sacramento lobbyistfor the CPUC confirmed that the appointments were not permanent asevidenced by the fact that both new regulatory commissioners areexpected to return to their current positions with the governor inSacramento.

The CPUC is headquartered in San Francisco. California lawallows gubernatorial appointees to serve up to a year withoutlegislative confirmation. Beyond that point, a person has to havethe state Senate’s approval to serve.

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