(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray questioned today’s vote by a DC Council committee to block the nomination of former DC People’s Counsel Elizabeth Noel to serve on the District’s Public Service Commission (PSC).
“Unfortunately, today’s vote has denied District residents the watchdog they need and deserve,” Mayor Gray said. “Betty Noel, an expert in utility regulation, has also spent her entire career fighting for the interests of District residents. If that alone did not qualify her for the job in the eyes of the Council, I’m not sure what else possibly could.”
Mayor Gray first nominated Ms. Noel to the post in September. After Councilmembers and representatives from Pepco raised questions about whether her previous position as an advocate for the District’s residents in disputes with utilities would force her to recuse herself from too many cases before the PSC, the Office of the Attorney General, with the Mayor’s support, appointed an outside panel of experts to study and report on the issue.
The independent panel unanimously affirmed that Ms. Noel’s previous service as People’s Counsel would not interfere with her serving effectively on the PSC. Asked if she could still serve as an effective PSC member despite her previous service, the panel reported: “Our answer is an unqualified ‘yes.’”