NV's PUC Executive Director, Stephanie Mullen, Skirting Open Meeting Law

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* Stephanie Mullen

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* Carson city - Nevada - US

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Aug. 1, 2016 - PRLog -- Nevada's open meeting laws (OMLs) contain strict requirements for how public agencies conduct the public's business.  Some meetings, such as those regarding personnel issues, licensing and mental health, among others, may be conducted in closed session.

Since the PUC's executive director, Stephanie Mullen, assumed her position in August 2015, Mullen has not scheduled one public meeting to deliberate and decide on the PUC's administrative business and activities.  Decisions have been made affecting utility rate payers by public employees behind closed doors, defying the letter and spirit of the OMLs.  These PUC employees are paid for by taxes on ratepayers.

On June 16, 2016, the PUC's general counsel (GC) resigned and the PUC has been operating without a chief attorney even though it faces multiple external law suits for its actions.

Over a month later on July 21, 2016, Mullen, or one of her designees, produced an employment ad seeking to fill the GC vacancy; it was also posted to the state's employment opportunities web site and the PUC's web site home page.

On July 27, 2016, the online e-zine 'Utility Dive'  http://www.utilitydive.com/news/updated-headed-for-the-ex... published an article disclosing that PUC Commissioner David Noble would not be reappointed by Governor Sandoval once his term expires on September 30, 2016.  The ad to replace the GC mysteriously disappeared the same day even though the position was to remain open to applicants until August 12, 2016.

As an 'at-will' employee, the GC works at the 'pleasure' of the Commission.  Every material aspect of filling this position must be discussed in an open meeting.  However, Mullen chose to act unilaterally and scheduled no public meeting for deciding whether or not to remove the ad and disclosing the official, public interest rationale for ad removal.

Mullen has had other problems during her short tenure, with members of the public calling for her resignation because she fails to meet the statutory qualifications of the PUC's executive director position.  State statute requires the individual "be knowledgeable in the areas of utility regulation by the Commission."  Conversely, Mullen's resume indicated she most recently worked for "Stanford Sierra Camp & Conference Center, Camp Richardson Resort & Marina and Pasha Corporate Housing."

Nevada rate payers are preparing to file a formal complaint regarding Mullen and her illegal acts that violate the OMLs in filling the GC position.  Mullen also must publicly justify how she can legitimately fill a position (executive director) for which she completely lacks the necessary statutory qualifications.

Fred Voltz
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Tags:NV PUC, Stephanie Mullen
Location:Carson city - Nevada - United States
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