Legislative Auditors have once again examined the Public Service Commission and, once again, they don’t like what they see. Specifically, the audit found that only 23% of employees at the PSC believed that commissioners behaved with high ethical standards. The auditors found that the shenanigans of various commissioners and consistent promotion of fossil fuels over the last few years have undermined public trust in PSC decision making. Here’s a brief recap of some of the actions of commissioners which led to another bad audit report.
- Commissioner Randy Pinocci was arrested for witness tampering in a private matter. He is currently awaiting trial.
- Commissioners Randy Pinocci and Tony O’Donnell issued a press release saying that there was a frighteningly real possibility of black outs in eastern Montana and called on the legislature to save the coal plants in southeastern Montana. Montana Dakota Utilities said the release was “completely unfounded.”
- Commissioner Jennifer Fielder threatened medical providers in Helena with “political consequences” for refusing to administer a nonclinical remedy for COVID-19.
- Commissioner Randy Pinocci publicly suggested that the City of Missoula be targeted for black outs because he said they do not support coal development.
- Commissioners routinely advocate for coal power even though they are responsible to objectively examine various resources and mechanisms for meeting power needs.
Commission Chairman, James Brown (who just announced he is running for State Auditor https://wtf406.com/2024/01/public-service-commission-chairman-running-for-state-auditor/ ) objected to much of the audit report saying that some steps have been taken to address some of the issues. But clearly many issues remain unresolved.