Four PSC members want to oust Tim Echols from chairmanship

Open revolt has broken out at the Georgia Public Service Commission.

We told you this morning that a Senate committee at 4 p.m. this afternoon will take up SB 483, which would allow the five-member PSC to return to its former practice of choosing its own chairman, rather than rotating the position. It’s very likely that Echols would be ousted on passage.

At first glance, language in the bill would permit the current PSC chairman, Tim Echols, to serve out his year-long rotation in the position. But then his four colleagues – and let us use the term very loosely – sent a letter to members of the state Senate that says this:

We believe the time has come to renew discussions of how the Georgia Public Service Commission elects its leadership. Last year a bill to amend the current procedure was introduced but did not receive approval.

However, clearly we at the Public Service Commission need leadership continuity and accountability. In the business world, no company changes its Chief Executive Officer every year as the current law requires the Commission to do. To ask a new Commissioner after one year on this panel to assume leadership of a critical constitutional state agency is clearly not the most prudent management of state resources nor in the best interest of the ratepayers and taxpayers of this state.

In the past this proposal has not been targeted at any individual person or Commissioner. However, recent events both inside and outside the Commission have [led] us to the conclusion that a change in leadership is needed. We are supporting a change in the current legislation to allow the Commission to elect its chairman by majority vote effective July 1, 2012.

The letter is signed by commissioners Chuck Eaton, Doug Everett, Lauren “Bubba” McDonald Jr., and Stan Wise.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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45 comments Add your comment

Three Jack

February 27th, 2012
4:03 pm

4 crooks going after the most blatant crook. Meanwhile GA Pwr rates continue to rise and the PSC does nothing.

GaBlue

February 27th, 2012
4:07 pm

Are any of these fellows actually on OUR side? Or are they all on their own bribe-taking, Southern Company-owned, jack-the-citizens-of-Georgia-in-the-name-of-progress-without-acutally-giving-us-any-progress side?

If there’s no difference in the degree to which we are scroo’ed, then why should we care about their in-squabbling?

ziza

February 27th, 2012
4:13 pm

what Three Jack and GaBlue said!

Michael

February 27th, 2012
4:13 pm

Reminds me of the movie Chinatown.

[...] Jim Galloway brings us the details that the four members of the PSC not named Tim Shakedown Echols have asked the State Senate not only to pass the bill which would let them choose their own Chairman instead of rotating the postion, but by letting them do that this year, before Echol’s term as Chair is set to expire. In the past this proposal has not been targeted at any individual person or Commissioner. However, recent events both inside and outside the Commission have [led] us to the conclusion that a change in leadership is needed. We are supporting a change in the current legislation to allow the Commission to elect its chairman by majority vote effective July 1, 2012. [...]

bart

February 27th, 2012
4:17 pm

Ditto, ziza. we are going to continue having corruption as long as we blindly vote for anybody with an R by his or her name. The same if we blindly vote for anybody with a D by his or her name. We badly need to be a two party state, so that neither party has a monopoly on power.

The Snark

February 27th, 2012
4:21 pm

You guys are just jealous because you don’t get free Masters tickets.

Allen

February 27th, 2012
4:22 pm

Buch of crooks looking for “discounted” lots at Lake Burton.

No Teabagging

February 27th, 2012
4:23 pm

End the Two Party System! Make all politicians individually responsible. The parties do nothing unless it makes the ‘party’ look good. Neither party has the best interest of the people in mind.

Red

February 27th, 2012
4:24 pm

This is not a company. This is a government agency that acts on behalf of those who elect it. This is the problem with our elected officials. They have arrogantly taken on a role that they do us a favor and are in their own realm of power and accountability. This is not some company that is separated by the people (consumers and voters). A rotation does more harm to corruption and being bought and paid for. Perhaps an additional step of term limits should be put into effect as well to teach this lot that they serve us. Our whole government at the state level is full of these egotistical types who think they serve those with money and perks. Each of these legislators and agency heads do more to benefit business rather than the people of the state. And conservatives wonder why people are slowly being duped by socialism. This corporate welfare and crony capitalism does more to help liberalism than anything the left can do. Idiots.

Carole

February 27th, 2012
4:32 pm

Is anyone curious about why the PSC terms are six years instead of two or four like everyone elses? That might be something that needs to be fixed as well.

Centrist

February 27th, 2012
4:34 pm

Echols gave them all a bad name with his attempted shakedown of August National to get Masters tickets. I suspect they all get favors, but on a very low key level. They are probably just embarrassed that one of their own got too blatant in his request/demand that earned them some bad press.

Reel

February 27th, 2012
4:38 pm

The PSC is truly a useless government entity. There are no checks and balances when it comes to this outfit. The only good thing about the PSC is that the members pretend they are doing a public service. In reality, they just look the part and appreciate the donations of the utilities that they “regulate” so that the process continues……for reelection purposes.
Ask yourself when was the last time the PSC was on the side of the consumers??

GaBlue

February 27th, 2012
4:42 pm

Centrist, please…

Masters tickets? Bad press? IF ONLY that were the worst of what they’ve done (or failed to do) on the pretense of working on our behalf!

Carole

February 27th, 2012
4:46 pm

The real issue is very few people pay attention to the PSC and who is running for those offices. I looked and see that two are up for re-election this year. I bet most Georgians don’t even know that. But can you imagine what a difference it could mean if two people who really care about the consumer were elected? Come on folks. Don’t just write messages on these blogs. Let’s do something. PSC members are voted for statewide, not just in certain districts.

Centrist

February 27th, 2012
4:48 pm

@ GaBlue – I didn’t say that was likely the worst they have – I think the letter where they express interest in changing the current Chairman is due to the Masters tickets shakedown attempt which publicly embarrassed them all.

honested

February 27th, 2012
4:49 pm

centrist,

To fill in the blanks in your memory:

Echols threatened to impound and inspect all of the limo’s involved in transporting people with the Masters unless they just happened to rain a couple of tickets on him.
Isn’t there a word for that in the general vernacular as well as a legal definition?

In any case, I’m sure the feeling at the PSC is ‘why bother running for office if in the end you have to follow all of this ‘ethics’ foolishness and pay attention to the needs of the Citizens.
Might as well stick to real estate, banking and insurance.

HowAbout

February 27th, 2012
4:51 pm

Can’t blame them for wanting to get out from under the system of having a chairman rotating each year and some continuity would be nice, but it’d make more sense to wait until the end of the calendar year to do that.

honested

February 27th, 2012
4:53 pm

Carole,

There are two contested PSC races this fall.
Two chances to start in the primary and weed out the rot!

Carole

February 27th, 2012
4:55 pm

honested
Echols threatened to impound and inspect all of the limo’s involved in transporting people with the Masters unless they just happened to rain a couple of tickets on him.
Isn’t there a word for that in the general vernacular as well as a legal definition
++++++
Actually this was somewhat inferred. He sent two letters. One asking for the tickets. A week later the one suggesting that he wanted access to the Masters so that he could inspect limousines. Either way sounded like he wanted in. Now it could be that he is just not as politically saavy as some of the other members, but I bet their hands aren’t all that clean either.

Jed

February 27th, 2012
5:13 pm

Yep, a bunch of crooks. The Georgia PSC makes the U.S. House and Senate past or present look like choirboys. The PSC might as well be from Chicago. “Public service,” yeah right. More like “Pocket-filling service” …

cartoon

February 27th, 2012
5:44 pm

Why do we put up with the criminals in our midst? WHY? We know what they’ve done, yet nobody presses charges.

double

February 27th, 2012
5:53 pm

only proves Centrist does not have to go to Florida to stick his head in the sand..

Centrist

February 27th, 2012
6:05 pm

What do I need to say to GaBlue and double to make you happy? They are all crooks (and world peace)? Happy now?

All I originally said was that none of them want Echols as Chairman because he brought their perks to light by his shakedown for Masters tickets. So sorry I didn’t mention this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Hillbilly D

February 27th, 2012
6:23 pm

When you’re so ethically challenged that you get called out by the members of the PSC……..that’s bad.

JBM

February 27th, 2012
6:34 pm

Each commissioner is assigned a utility when they come on board. Basically they are that utilities advocate. Mr. Echols was assigned to the lowest of these positions which happens to be transportation. The Transportation commissioner oversees tow trucks, mover, limousines and bus companies. Not a real hot button agenda with this group of companies.

However because this group has often been over looked by past commissioners it has grown with riff raff and gypsy companies with little or no enforcement of the GPSC rules. I can show you no less than 30 companies within 5 miles of the capitol that operate on a daily basis ignoring the commission rules. Mr. Echols I don’t think understood the size of the problem since it had been shoved under the carpet for so long. During prom season last year a rouge company ruined the night for several students. It made the news. While in the past this story would have gone away quietly, Mr. Echols had spot inspections done at several area proms the next several weekends. Me met with companies that operated legally in the state to listen to their concerns. However some of his efforts were stymied by others unknown.

The Georgia Public Safety or D.O.T. police were placed under the Georgia State Patrol several years ago which basically took away any police powers or sanctioning powers of the GPSC. Until Mr. Echols sting operation last year very few operations were ever mounted against rouge companies. Once again during the PGA championships last year he was able to bring about fines against several out of state bus companies who were operating that shuttle while Georgia based companies sat idle.

Is Mr. Echols perfect. No. The GPSC could and should be fining the rouge operators in the state, yet to this date do not. The DOT police still do not stop and check or inspect rouge providers. Getting a provider put on the illegal list that the PSC provides the public on their web site is almost next to impossible.

Johns creek

February 27th, 2012
6:37 pm

Isn’t Tim Echols the big environmentalist that wants lots of solar power?

Mike

February 27th, 2012
6:47 pm

Stan Wise and the town drunk Bubba need to go get a life. This is not corporate America.

Mike

February 27th, 2012
7:40 pm

In light of Tim Echols shakedown of Augusta National for Masters Tickers, I’m not surprised by this.

jeff

February 27th, 2012
7:53 pm

JBM: “Rouge limo drivers”???

LOL. Yes, I’m glad we have Echols chasing down those no good scoundrels!

(I can’t stop laughing)

td

February 27th, 2012
8:08 pm

Hillbilly D

February 27th, 2012
6:23 pm

When you’re so ethically challenged that you get called out by the members of the PSC……..that’s bad.

It is not ethical issues it is arrogant issues. I worked several events with him during the 2010 election cycle and can tell you that he is a pompous a$$. The others Republican candidates did not want anything to do with him.

Carole

February 27th, 2012
8:47 pm

td
It is not ethical issues it is arrogant issues. I worked several events with him during the 2010 election cycle and can tell you that he is a pompous a$$. The others Republican candidates did not want anything to do with him.

+++++

This is frightening. I’ve seen him in action and I think I agree with you on this one.

[...] Jim Galloway brings us the details that the four members of the PSC not named Tim Shakedown Echols have asked the State Senate not only to pass the bill which would let them choose their own Chairman instead of rotating the postion, but by letting them do that this year, before Echol’s term as Chair is set to expire. In the past this proposal has not been targeted at any individual person or Commissioner. However, recent events both inside and outside the Commission have [led] us to the conclusion that a change in leadership is needed. We are supporting a change in the current legislation to allow the Commission to elect its chairman by majority vote effective July 1, 2012. [...]

portcharlotte

February 27th, 2012
11:00 pm

Gingrich has lots of business investments, too. Yes, Romney is a businessman. Lots of business experience. GLOBAL business experience. Did you know that Romney’s ‘signature’ jobs creator company, Staples has about 1/3rd of its outlets overseas…so…wouldn’t about 1/3rd of its employees be overseas also? Keep reading, we’ll get back to Gingrich.

Romney took care of his ‘financial’ pals on Wall Street by supporting the Wall Street Bail Out. You might then expect him to ‘take care’ of his global business buddies if he becomes President, wouldn’t you? And hey, Gingrich supported the Wall Street Bail Out also…He likes to cultivate the ‘big money’ guys, too…He would take care of them, too, wouldn’t he?

And you would be right. Romney and Gingrich plan to change our federal corporate tax on overseas corporations to a ‘territorial tax.’ That means, zero tax on overseas profits when they’re brought home to the U.S. while keeping the tax on corporations operating inside the U.S. What’s wrong with that? In the 1990s, an effort was made by Congress to get overseas corporations to bring their profits home and create jobs here.

How? They set up a zero tax on repatriated profits from overseas operations. Did it work, did they bring the profits home? Yes. Did they use the profits to create more jobs? No. They used the profits to increase their dividends payments to their stockholders.

Santorum has it right to create jobs here in the USA. He’s the ONLY candidate who has it right. President Santorum will keep the tax in place for overseas corporations, and reduce the tax to zero for manufacturing inside the USA. If the overseas manufacturers bring their profits home, they will be rewarded with a zero tax ONLY IF they invest those profits in plants and equipment here in the US, which would create more jobs here in the USA. This country needs President Santorum.

[...] Jim Galloway brings us the details that the four members of the PSC not named Tim Shakedown Echols have asked the State Senate not only to pass the bill which would let them choose their own Chairman instead of rotating the postion, but by letting them do that this year, before Echol’s term as Chair is set to expire. In the past this proposal has not been targeted at any individual person or Commissioner. However, recent events both inside and outside the Commission have [led] us to the conclusion that a change in leadership is needed. We are supporting a change in the current legislation to allow the Commission to elect its chairman by majority vote effective July 1, 2012. [...]

- Georgia Pundit

February 28th, 2012
6:57 am

[...] Senate Regulated Industries Committee passed Senate Bill 483, to allow the state’s Public Service Commission to elect its own Chairm…, rather than the currently-mandated rotation among the members. Passage came after the bill was [...]

Carole

February 28th, 2012
7:02 am

You know what, I’m not sure I really care who the chairman of the PSC is. I do care who the members of the PSC are. This whole thing and everything we’ve read about this group over the past year should be cause for pause.

There are two PSC seats that are up for re-election this year. One includes Stan Wise who has been there forever and pretty much seems to give Georgia Power and Atlanta Gas Light whatever the heck they want. Now I don’t know about you, but my electric and gas bills aren’t going down. I’m sick of feeling like the PSC just has a rubber stamp for these two companies. The other seat is Chck Eaton. So far he doesn’t seem like a bad guy. He’s not in the news every other week, and he hasn’t been there so long that he can get credit for always giving the utility companies exactly what they want. Just don’t know if he looks out for consumers. More investigating is needed.

Either way, there are two things we desperately need: 1. Someone with a genuine sense of fairness and not mentally/egotistically challenged to run for these two seats. 2. People need to pay attention to whomever the people running are. Don’t just pick close your eyes and point your finger then pick wherever it lands. Most of all, consider anybody besides someone with an “I” beside their name. Maybe Eaton isn’t so bad, but Wise needs to go ahead and get an honest pay check from the utility companies–not at the taxpayers expense.

Shar

February 28th, 2012
7:09 am

Stan Wise and Bubba McDonald are both crooks. Doug Everett had some state representative tailor a bill that would have increased his personal per diem to some huge number a couple of years ago, but they got caught by the AJC and mumbled something about how they hadn’t realized what the bill would do before they shuffled away. They are all shills for AGL and the Southern Company, and they have reduced the size of the PSC staff, which is supposed to research and advocate for consumers to balance the demands of the corporate lobbyists, so they don’t have to be troubled by facts or the effects of their “decisions” (read, payoffs to the companies) on residential customers.

The last time the PSC did anything for consumers? When Bobby Baker and Angela Speir were on the Commission. The sitting Commissioners are all crooks, every single one of them. However, voters just automatically return them, helped along by the deep pockets of AGL and Southern.

Ga Values...Ron Paul for Peace & Prosperity

February 28th, 2012
7:21 am

I already decided to vore against Tim Echols, even on a board of crooks he is too corrupt for public service.

Tom

February 28th, 2012
7:29 am

Well, at least this will give him more time to contribute to the faux TEA cadre of moonbats using ‘Peach’ in their name.

[...] Senate Regulated Industries Committee passed Senate Bill 483, to allow the state’s Public Service Commission to elect its own Chairm…, rather than the currently-mandated rotation among the members. Passage came after the bill was [...]

[...] Senate Regulated Industries Committee passed Senate Bill 483, to allow the state’s Public Service Commission to elect its own Chairman, rather than the currently-mandated rotation among the members. Passage came after the bill was [...]

betty

February 28th, 2012
10:30 am

So, the entrenched thugs are trying to divert attention from themselves by calling out the newest member of the Corruption Club. Clever. Check the campaign contributions on this bunch to get a tiny inkling of the over-arching problem with the PSC. And, the PSC doesn’t “do nothing” about rate increases. They wholeheartedly support them! Trimming the terms and making these positions non-partisan would move things in the right direction. Meanwhile, if they are allowed to elect their own chairman, the choke-hold on citizens will get ever tighter, which is the plan, I’m sure.

Carole

February 28th, 2012
11:41 am

It’s interesting that they want to keep it in place instead of rotate. If it’s more administrative than anything what difference does it make? Is it possible that the reason they want to elect their own chairman is like someone said, to maintain a chokehold on the situation. Just keep electing all of the ones that go along to get along and prevent anyone who dares to stand up for the consumers from having a voice.

ed

February 28th, 2012
8:22 pm

First, I have some good friends who are crooks. You insult them when you put PSC members in the same category.
Echols hasn’t been on the commission long enough to earn his stripes as a crook. Now, the other four…that’s a different story. They should be called Georgia Powers gang four. And while we’re at it lets toss all of them out on their big fat bank accounts piled up as members of the Georgia Public UTILITIES Commission.