- Associated Press - Friday, January 6, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The chief of staff for outgoing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is seeking to remain in state government by returning to the commission that oversees utility companies.

Jim Atterholt told the Indianapolis Business Journal (https://bit.ly/2iML1IQ ) he has applied for an opening on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. He spent nearly five years on the board, four as chairman, before becoming Pence’s top gubernatorial adviser in 2014.

The five-member commission has a vacancy with the retirement of Chairwoman Carole Stephan, who stepped down Jan. 1 after 2½ years.

Pence’s term as governor ends Monday and it will be up to Republican Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb to appoint a new commissioner from finalists selected by a nominating committee. The committee hasn’t yet released the names of other applicants, but public interviews are scheduled for Jan. 23.

The IURC regulates $14 billion worth of electric, natural gas, telecommunications, steam, water and sewer utilities. It approves utility projects and determines how much utilities can charge customers.

Atterholt’s predecessor, David Lott Hardy, as committee chairman was accused of failing to disclose several secret meetings with Duke Energy executives concerning cost overruns at the company’s $3.5 billion coal-gasification plant in southwestern Indiana and helping the agency’s top lawyer break ethics laws. He was charged with four felony counts for official misconduct, but the charges were later dismissed.

Before being appointed to the IURC in 2009 by Gov. Mitch Daniels, Atterholt was the state insurance commissioner for more than four years. The Fort Wayne native served two terms as a state representative from 1998 to 2002, then was a lobbyist for AT&T-Indiana.;

Atterholt’s annual salary as Pence’s chief of staff was about $142,000, while the IURC chairman position pays about $120,000.

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Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal, https://www.ibj.com

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