Updated March 20, 2018 7:23 AM
(INDIANAPOLIS) - Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced that he has appointed David Ober to fill a vacancy on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission created by the retirement of Jim Atterholt. Additionally, Holcomb announced that he has appointed Jim Huston to serve as chairman for the IURC. Huston has served as the interim chairman since Atterholt retired in early January.
"The nominating committee brought me a list of three qualified candidates to fill the IURC vacancy, and after careful consideration I have selected David Ober. I believe he will be an excellent addition to this important group," Gov. Holcomb said.
When a vacancy occurs on the IURC, applications are solicited from the public and accepted by a seven member nominating committee. The committee, comprising four legislative and three gubernatorial appointments, screens the applications and conducts interviews that are open to the public. After conducting the public interviews, the nominating committee recommends three candidates to the governor who then names a new member to the commission.
Members of the nominating committee who selected Ober are Committee Chairman Allen Paul, Eric Scroggins, John Blevins, Bill Davis, Jeb Bardon, Greg Server and Jonathan Little.
For nearly six years, David Ober has served as state representative for House District 82, a position from which he will resign prior to becoming an IURC commissioner. During his legislative service, Ober chaired the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee. Ober has a bachelor's degree computer graphics from Purdue University Calumet. He is the tourism asset coordinator for the Noble County Convention and Visitors Bureau and previously worked for KPC Media Group in Kendallville.
Jim Huston was appointed an IURC commissioner by former-Gov. Mike Pence in 2014 and reappointed by Gov. Holcomb in 2017. Huston serves as a National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) representative on the Gas Technology Institute's Public Interest Advisory Committee.
"Jim has a great deal of knowledge and expertise in utility regulation and a track record for successful leadership. He will be a strong chairman for the IURC well into its future," Gov. Holcomb said.
Huston served in the administrations of both Gov. Pence and Gov. Daniels. He was chief of staff at the Indiana State Department of Health during the Pence administration and executive director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives during the Daniels administration.
Jim has held a variety of leadership positions throughout his more than 30-year career at both the federal and state level, including service as Assistant Deputy Treasurer for the state of Indiana in 1989 and as Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles from late 1986 to 1987.
Jim has both a B.S. (1986) and an M.A. (2016) from Ball State University. He also is a 1987 recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash Award and is a member of Brownsburg Kiwanis. Jim, his wife Christy and their four boys reside in Brownsburg.
The IURC soon will begin accepting applications to fill another commission vacancy. Commissioner Angela Weber's term expires April 1, 2018. She will serve until a new commissioner is selected.
IndianaDG Note: Sharing both articles because they cover slightly different but important information.
NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette
INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb tapped Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion, to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Monday – leaving a vacancy in the northern House district.
Ober has served House District 82 for six years but decided not to seek re-election because he applied for the IURC job.
The district includes all of Noble County and portions of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.
A caucus of precinct committee persons will pick a successor as soon as Ober officially resigns. He said he wants to give the caucus enough time to have someone in place for a May special legislative session.
Republican Noble County Commissioner Dave Abbott filed for the seat for the 2018 election after Ober announced he was leaving. He is a front runner in any caucus, and didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
Ober interviewed with the governor's administration last week and got a call Friday that he was chosen.
Holcomb named current interim chairman Jim Huston to that full post and Ober is one of the other four members commissioners on the panel. His salary is almost $119,000.
Another resignation on the panel is expected next week, meaning the process with start all over again.
"The industry is changing so much I hope to bring a new perspective to the process," Ober said.
The IURC is an administrative agency that hears evidence in cases filed before it and makes decisions based on the evidence presented in those cases. An advocate of neither the public nor the utilities, the commission is required by state statute to make decisions in the public interest to ensure the utilities provide safe and reliable service at just and reasonable rates.
While in the General Assembly Ober worked on a lot of utility issues and chaired the House Committee on Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications.
He is 30 and is moving to Indianapolis to marry his fiancée.
The commission regulates various aspects of the public utilities' business including the rates, financing, bonding, environmental compliance plans and service territories. The commission has regulatory oversight concerning construction projects, and acquisition of additional plants and equipment. The commission has authority to initiate investigations of all utilities' rates and practices.