NV PUC: Is Your GC Position Permanently Eliminated or Being Held Open for a Favored Candidate?

 
 
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NV PUC
Stephanie Mullen
PUC Commissioner David Noble

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Government

Location:
Carson city - Nevada - US

CARSON CITY, Nev. - July 11, 2016 - PRLog -- On June 15th, a Nevada ratepayer informed the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that their now-former general counsel/chief lawyer (GC), Carolyn 'Lina' Tanner (Tanner), was making disparaging mass media comments under a pseudonym, "Dixie Rae Sparx,' regarding open PUC cases.

On June 16th, Tanner claimed she planned on resigning and it happened to coincide with the information disclosed on the 15th.  In the current job market, would a professional leave an existing job without lining up another or without giving two weeks' notice?

When Tanner's predecessor gave her notice to leave in June 2013, the PUC formed a search committee the same day and replaced her with Tanner by mid-August.

Almost one month later, the PUC has made no move to replace Tanner.  There are two assistant GCs remaining at the PUC who are relatively recent law school graduates and NV Bar licensees (2011, 2010); they have no 'real life' legal experience outside of the PUC, and lack training to handle complex litigation.

The PUC's Executive Director (ED), Stephanie Mullen, as head of personnel, has not addressed this issue by advertising for candidates.  Mullen has not publicly spoken for the PUC since she started in August 2015 and has remained silent on this issue as well.  Mullen, who fails to meet the statutory requirements of her position, has again demonstrated her lack of fitness for her position with this non-existent recruiting effort. (https://www.prlog.org/12566563)

There may be a plausible reason for the lack of action.  PUC Commissioner David Noble is up for reappointment on September 30th by the Governor.  Because of how he handled the net metering cases, resulting in a public relations nightmare where the solar industry effectively left Nevada, Noble's job performance has become a question mark in the minds of many Nevadans.   Noble has been with the PUC since 1997, before he was admitted to the Nevada Bar in1998. He would be hard pressed to find another position in this state or in another field as utility law is very specialized.

Alternatively, Noble could apply for the PUC GC position if recruitment 'suddenly starts' in August.  The GC spot requires no gubernatorial reappointment; it could last another decade or more until he fully vests his state retirement.   By September Noble would have some indication of whether the Governor will or will not reappoint him to the Commissioner position.

There has not been any public discussion regarding the GC position since Tanner's departure announcement.

Most likely the PUC has been discussing the GC position outside of a public meeting, henceforth, violating Nevada's Open Meeting Law.

One other alternative would be the complete elimination of the GC position and department saving ratepayers north of half a million dollars of annual expense.  The remaining 14 attorneys at the PUC could then perform those functions.  That possibility has also not been publicly discussed.

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Fred Voltz
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Source:Nevada is Mad
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Tags:NV PUC, Stephanie Mullen, PUC Commissioner David Noble
Industry:Government
Location:Carson city - Nevada - United States
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