Saturday, February 2, 2013

PRC—Does Education Equal Ethics

Last evening I was talking to a friend of mine who is a republican. I suggested that all lawmakers should be lawyers and they should have a minimum required years of experience in the field. Since they would than be experts in their field and they would know the ins and outs of how to create laws. He pointed out that this would result in a conflict of interest since they worked in the field that they would be required to regulate. I have to agree with him on this topic.
Educations and experience does not always ensure ethical behaviors. Just because someone has, a higher degree does not ensure that those individuals would write regulations that protect the voting public. As my dear departed mother use to say,” You do not put the fox in charge of watching the hen house.”  

At present, there is a bill in the state senate that would raise the requirements for anyone running for the Public Regulation Commission (PRC). It would allow only people with a four-year degree and years of experience to run for those seats. Now I am not saying that all individuals who have worked in the field of energy would create regulations that would harm the voting public in order to enrich the power companies. What I am saying is that this bill as it is currently written opens the door to a possible conflict of interest. It limits the field of candidates to only those highly educated individuals who most likely will have worked in the industry for many years.  
I can see the power companies sending their own executives to run for seats on the PRC in the future, without having anyone to run against them, in order to raise our utility rates. Since there is no restriction on how long a person who serves on that commission must wait, they could return at the end of their term to be reward by the power companies with a very nice job for favorable regulations.