August 3, 2010

Baldacci names Littell to vacant seat on PUC

David Littell, commissioner of the DEP for five years, must still be confirmed by a hearing and Senate vote Aug. 25.

By SUSAN M. COVER MaineToday Media State House Writer

AUGUSTA - Gov. John Baldacci on Monday nominated the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection to a seat on the Public Utilities Commission.

David Littell has been DEP commissioner for five years and a deputy for two.

If approved by a legislative committee and the state Senate, Littell would finish out the unexpired term of Sharon Reishus, who resigned in early July. The term runs through March 2015, according to the PUC.

The commission regulates electric, natural gas, telecommunications and water utilities.

The current chairman is Jack Cashman, who worked for Baldacci as commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. Former Maine District Court Chief Judge Vendean Vafiades also serves on the panel.

Littell, a lawyer, worked for Pierce Atwood prior to joining the state. He served nine years as an intelligence officer with the U.S. Navy Reserves, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Princeton University, according to the governor's office.

The Legislature's Utilities and Energy Committee will hold a confirmation hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. After that, the Senate will vote on the nomination Aug. 25.

"(Littell) is deeply analytical, with a sharp legal mind, and he has been a staunch defender of Maine's environment," Baldacci said in a news release. "He is a problem solver and creative thinker, and he will bring the right balance of regulatory experience, expertise and insight to the commission."

If confirmed, Littell's would be the latest in a string of job changes for members of the Baldacci administration. Baldacci is in his final year as governor.

Last week, the governor's office announced that State Planning Office Director Martha Freeman will leave her post Aug. 20.

Freeman, who began working in the administration as deputy chief of staff in 2003, has served as the governor's adviser on tax issues. She's also worked on initiatives to consolidate government, including efforts to merge state agency functions.

She is headed for the University of Southern Maine, where she will help with a planned reorganization, according to the governor's office. Baldacci named Tim Glidden, who has led the state's Land for Maine's Future program, acting director of state planning.

This spring, Education Commissioner Susan Gendron left for a job with a regional education consortium and last month, Department of Administrative and Financial Services Commissioner Ryan Low left for the University of Maine at Farmington.

 

MaineToday Media State House Writer Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at: scover@mainetoday.com

 

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