The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has a five-member slate for the first time in over three years. Recently sworn in were Nils J. Diaz and Edward McGaffigan, Jr. Diaz was a professor of nuclear...
Behind the Limelight: An Interview with the Advisors for Five Key Regulators
But what of commissioners' aides and advisers? The people behind the scenes, who, in some cases, propose decisions for regulators to act on. What wisdom can commission aides share with the industry?
Further, are these posts proving grounds? Can we expect to see aides filling commission seats someday? Elizabeth A. Moler, deputy energy secretary, started as a Senate Energy Committee aide. James J. Hoecker, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, was once a FERC adviser.
Public Utilities Fortnightly spoke with five aides, whose average age is 37. One made a run at a commission job and two met their bosses while in law school. All are outspoken, free to speak on regulatory issues (em even if their position conflicts with that of their boss and his colleagues.
"Most of the work that I do is essentially trying to develop a majority," says Peter Meadows Adels, aide to Pennsylvania Commissioner John Hanger. "So I do a hell of a lot (em negotiation is a little bit too strong (em sometimes it's that, but more of laying out the issue¼ It's fundamentally a political process."
Bob Lane, adviser to California Commissioner Jessie J. Knight Jr., says he and his boss are "philosophical soul mates on the benefits of competition and free markets." But, "from case to case, after discussion, the commissioner's viewpoint may differ from mine. And my job then is to still advance his policy preferences."
Read on to see how these advisers work behind the scenes, readying the regulatory framework.
Peter Meadows Adels: Advisor to Commissioner John Hanger (Pa PUC)
RECEPTIVE TO ALL VIEWS. Boss: Pennsylvania Commissioner John Hanger. Background: Graduated in 1979 from the University of Chicago with a bachelor's degree in geography; received his law degree and masters in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. Met Hanger in law school. Worked at a law firm and a small nonprofit. Later took Hanger's job at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia. Joined the commission as Hanger's legal counsel in 1993. Age: 40.
Do you aspire to become a commissioner? My ambitions are less job-title-oriented or forum-oriented than they are to keep doing interesting work that I feel is really helping get the act together in our country a little bit, related to energy. And God knows we need a lot of that still.
What's a typical day? What's your interaction with the commissioner? I get up at 5:00, leave at 6:00 and I get home at 7:00 or 8:00. I have a four-hour commute daily¼
I do a lot of reading of reports or the briefs for whatever the category of cases, and making recommendations¼ in order to do that, I'm not only doing the basic reading of the documents, I have to do background research, meet with the other commissioners' assistants to try to develop a consensus: What do we want to do differently? Can we all agree on this?
How are staffers hired? Each commissioner has their own staff of five people. I am on Commissioner Hanger's personal staff. In addition, we have the bureaus of the commission