Protecting the Public - Ask no questions, get a promotion

The only member of the Maine Public Utilities Commission who asked only basic, clerical-type questions in the final round of hearings on the Verizon-FairPoint deal (an example: "There's no upper limit for that? A practical limit but there's not a dollar limit?") has been rewarded for, well, we're not sure. Sharon Reishus, who has been on the Maine PUC since 2003, has been named chairman of the commission, now that previous chairman Kurt Adams has announced his departure to go work for an energy-producing company.

She kept her mouth almost entirely shut during the day-long session in which Adams expressed concern that the deal could be better, and admitted that his and other regulatory bodies are often not good at sticking to conditions they impose and are legally empowered - and bound - to enforce. View the transcript at this link (a Word document).

UPDATED: She gets a $4742.40 annual raise - from $107,848 to $112,590.40, according to Maine PUC spokesman Fred Bever - and the governor's spokesman, David Farmer, dismissed concerns about her silence, noting that various justices on the Supreme Court are less voluble than others. "That doesn't mean the people aren't astute or paying attention," Farmer says.

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