Today, January 12, 2015, ratepayer advocate Maria Severson called on the incoming president of the California Public Utilities COmmission, Michael Picker, to agree to a pledge of ethics get the pdf here or see the text below.
CPUC ETHICS PLEDGE
1. No more secret meetings with utilities: No ex parte communications between Commissioners (and their staff), Administrative Law Judges or Senior CPUC staff and parties with matters before the CPUC.
2. Stop taking Gifts: No gifts (including travel) from those with matters before the CPUC.
3. Comply with Open Meeting Laws: Adopt opening meeting and public record laws as provided in Art I, Sec 3 of the California State Constitution (Allowing the public to video tape or audio record all public sessions of the Commission or proceedings before Administrative Law Judges) and strict limits on withholding documents from the public through the device of protective orders.
4. Support a Right to Immediate Judicial Review: Change the law so matters before CPUC can be appealed to Superior Court, as with the Governor, State Legislature, State Agencies, County Board of Supervisors, City Councils, and Mayors.
5. Establish Administrative Law Judges as judicial officers (required to obey the Judicial Code of Conduct) independent from CPUC Commissioners with the authority to make final decisions in cases below specified amounts.
6. End Revolving Door Employment Practice: Place a two-year ban on "switching sides" by CPUC supervisory staff where CPUC employees take lucrative jobs at the utilities they regulate. Prohibit Commissioners or Senior Staff from working on CPUC matters involving their former employers within two years of joining the CPUC.
7. Reform Intervenor Compensation Programs so that advocates and legal counsel are paid based upon their faithful and zealous representation of ratepayers' right to just and reasonable rates.
8. Develop Code of Ethical Conduct for Ratepayer Advocates who receive intervenor compensation.
9. Restore Integrity to Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA) by establishing the ORA as a separate independent state agency headed by a Court Appointed Advocate with a 10-year term.
10. Settlement Reform requiring open agreements arrived at openly