Picker quitting as CPUC president, as soon as Newsom picks a replacement

3 June 2019 by Steve Blum
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Picker 20may2019

Michael Picker will step down as president of the California Public Utilities Commission sometime in the coming weeks or months. He made the announcement at the end of last week’s CPUC meeting…

I’ve made comments, mostly joking, about retiring before I have to buy a new business suit, and more recently I’ve been thinking about retiring regardless of how shabby my clothing is. So you always can think of reasons of why you should stay and why you’re essential in the greater purpose of the organisation that you serve.

But to be honest with you it makes a great deal of sense for me to leave after the wildfire proceedings are voted out and the governor’s ninety day plan is released and then we have a plan for actually meeting our responsibilities in that plan. That’s been my conversation with the folks in the governor’s office and I made it clear that I’ll stay around until they’ve found the person that they want to replace and fill the position at the CPUC.

I’ll probably talk more about it as we get closer and they get closer – it could be as soon as July but probably more likely sometime after July. I can’t really say because I think they have to think long and hard about the needs of the organisation and the direction that they want to go to find a person to replace me. So thank you.

Picker was first appointed to the commission by then-governor Jerry Brown in 2014, and promoted to the top job a year later when Michael Peevey’s term as president expired. His retirement is not shocking news. He had a close, long term working relationship with Brown, but there’s no indication that he’s a member of governor Gavin Newsom’s inner circle.

On the other hand, it would be hard to find someone more qualified to be CPUC president than Genevieve Shiroma, Newsom’s first appointment to the commission earlier this year. Her resume includes an engineering degree, a career as a senior manager at the California Air Resources Board, and 20 years experience on both the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District board and the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, including terms as board president and chair, respectively.

The “folks in the governor’s office” might not need to think very long or very hard.