(Fred Voltz) – Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval, who was a potential replacement for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia, has had his share of controversy when he overrode state voters’ 2014 rejection of a new margins’ tax. In 2015, Sandoval introduced similar legislation and converted enough ‘no new tax pledge’ Republican legislators to enact the tax.
Sandoval considers himself a ‘moderate’ Republican, while many NV Republicans consider him a ‘RINO,’ or Republican in Name Only.
The Governor appoints the three Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Commissioners for staggered four-year terms. The PUC hires its Executive Director (ED), who also acts as its CFO. In July, 2015, the former ED resigned and the PUC searched for a new ED.
State statute clearly defines the ED’s qualifications, which the Commissioners, their search committee and general counsel refused to follow. For several months various state agencies and committees have been apprised of the statutory violation. The appointed ED, Stephanie Mullen, is both statutorily unqualified and has obtained a public salary under false pretenses.
Mullen has ‘summer camp’ experience according to her resume, which does not fit NRS 703.130, subsection 2 requirement: “The Commission shall appoint an Executive Director who must be: (b) knowledgeable in the areas of utility regulation by the Commission.”
A growing number of Nevada ratepayers are concerned that their utility tax assessment pays Mullen’s $105,000 plus annual salary plus benefits. Mullen is fully aware she is not qualified for the position, but has adamantly refused to resign when called upon to do so.
A complaint has been filed with Adam Laxalt, the state Attorney General. It requests an investigation into Mullen’s fitness for this position and a return of her salary to the ratepayers.
State Senator James Settelmeyer, Chairman of the Sunset Subcommittee of the Legislative Commission, also recently heard from ratepayers about this fraud, deceit and obtaining money under false pretenses. Settelmeyer’s committee reviewed the PUC, but refused to address these issues. Settelmeyer aspires to higher office when his term is up in two years.
When asked to intervene regarding the contentious solar net metering fiasco of 2015-16, Sandoval stated he trusts the PUC Commissioners and won’t intervene in any of their decisions. Sandoval’s office was notified of the Mullen situation and has ignored the misdeeds of his personally-appointed Commissioners.
If Sandoval can’t adhere to the laws in his own state, can he be expected to uphold the U.S. Constitution and judiciously interpret and adjudicate much more complex statutes and issues?
Mullen’s resume to be found at http://pucweb1.state.nv.us/PDF/AXImages/Agendas/A05-15/5971.pdf Where it clearly shows her background is in summer camp not utility regulation.