Just before noon, I ran into an elated Tim Echols, the rookie member of the state Public Service Commission – who had just learned that he’ll be the PSC’s next chairman.
The House had surprised everyone – including Echols – and defeated HB 216, a measure that would have set the five-member PSC free to name its own chairman by majority vote. Republicans split on the measure, sinking it with a 60-103 vote.
The measure had been pushed by PSC members Doug Everett and Lauren “Bubba” McDonald – both former House members, whose connections many thought would carry the day. McDonald or Stan Wise of Cobb County were likely to have been named the permanent chairman.
Instead, the PSC will continue its policy of rotating leadership on the panel. “I will be the next chairman,” said Echols, who has been an advocate of encouraging the use of compressed natural gas in fleet vehicles.
Echols has been a part of conservative Christian campaign operations in Georgia. And several of that number in the House – James Mills of Gainesville and Bobby Franklin of Cobb County – were among those voting against the bill with Democrats.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider