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House | May 29, 2013 | Committee Room | Utilities

Full MP3 Audio File

I was yet I get our seats was getting me started. you guys know if you like this committee. Magnuson soon speaker change: are a recognized the Sergeant at arms of the pharmacy is of the guys that do all the all the heavy lifting force and committee guys that were Charles Godman felt felt I get a bill by us Jim Crow and Carl Barela was gone. I felt like you got to be in here speaker change: is my a list 's speaker change:pages today, but you guys are being here today. I've got that far. Bailey makes them losing a rest goes in there. Elizabeth Paulson was thank you surly last but not least at me again familiar. we have to build on the calendar today with one of whom is the, the person will be the confirmation for the public staff Chris Ayers is a BCS in that direction. Calvin Louisiana Theseus divorce like two hours. my bill sponsor at the Ritz and more. your recognize the left to the present PCS household resolution one zero zero seven. are you up like a Mrs. ten oh seven. how short resolution Tedder sent a message ever members the committee. this is the year of the confirmation Chris repairs as speaker change: Executive Director of theproblem levels in rivers and more resolute yet questions are either searching necessary, although since the non-Microsoft I like to mix things up. will there may, speaker change:as most members of this committee know the governor appoints the slugs to the do utilities commission into the into the public staff. this term will commence June thirtieth two thousand thirteen hundred expires June thirtieth two thousand nineteen. there is a data packet of information on the stairs in your appointments in the folders I have is his bio here, but even Marilyn Emmis Chairman, Mister Ayres is here in his chair 's pleasure for the primitive address the committee also praise the news, legislative counsel for the governors also here and I make any comments is necessary for the committee and the mechanism well right speaker change:now they're good for Rosenstein to bring Mister Harrison moved to the that the Marco Agnes speaker change:Chairman and Chris Ayers is here today against the window, and the be identified. we appreciate that the governor doesn't want preserve to the public utilities commission, and we do appreciate the committee 's letter in an affirmative for him. we appreciate that sport and not worth for your support. the stairs was tousled about Saturday self muzzled of myself as a very quick. speaker change: my name is Chris speaker change:Harris and Mister has a long real quick, helpful woman of a father Benitez is is a good run for County boys, so I would give him my, my condolences. all maps. speaker change: this is true. I was born and raised run for County as finale seniors. growing up there and talking out for school in nineteen ninety five and nine in the triangle. ever since my name is ChrisAyres, I may utilities lawyer at Porter 's rule had been at the law firm will rule your own last four years after the previous six years I practiced at Hudson Williams also here in Raleighon the utilities and government relations team and not when you're part of that immediately mammals who are the reviews with the Honorable Desmond Magid, my utilities practice has so to span the spectrum, I have represented a number of water, sewer, electric customers. I have represented by the consumer advocate here and withdrawn. I have represented customers with industrial and residential homeowners associations, so I have broad-based experience of the last ten years. I working on utilities matters in North Carolina matter scoming before the commission also to the point that they intersect either in front of Diener in front of to the extent they are compelled legal issues that relate litigated from the Superior Court of the Court of Appeals that is extent of my experience. I excited and honored how that the governor has nominated me to serve as executive director of public staff I had a great deal of respect for them. I have worked with them for the last ten years in and my representation

Plans are many great deal of respect for Mr. Burton has died down this job for 30 years and U.S. lives more are formed the organization is, jumping he leaves for big shoes to fill from the unexciting it's an exciting time, to be injuring B of a distance position is unconfirmed, we have eight million recently a merger of two electric company's North Carolina street is one of the largest electric utility some states, we have on a one of the issues with potential new fuel sources of becoming a list of money invested in tracking here in North Carolina which can produce some are potentially some local special gas sources that will officially transform some of her car fuel sources , in the years to come back, we also are coming out of eight, struggling economy (SPEAKER CHANGES) we've had a conversation for number of years and as we try and balance on bounced various on one issue to try and get back on track with a fundamental things that you have to look at as utilities on being competitive, with neighboring states in terms of utility rates also making sure that we have safer reliable water and sewer sources and Electric Supply line gas supplies are important to attracting both on the residence in the business and industry lawsuits and exciting side of the 2B1 to be in this position down on the governor, has faith among Indians nominated me four for this position in the past for your support, as the committee and has a house body that would love to answer any questions they miss their summer, looking -term and am not sure that Washington before in this version for rich and more home repairs and the question all that come I will say the client will give the documentation that was the seven of his problems offers the merchants can set the soldiers and novels am very troubled by the nomination , it seems to be valid for the philosophical makeup of the utilities commission is a consuming ago when deployed on the public can call to the commission did some work on the haven't been working on behalf of the Philippine this is a nine to point to the commission's call to the public stance of some sort of a selection can I understand them and that's one thing, Mr. Aristide seemed well qualified for retransmission the problem is you been nominated by the governor to public static Ellison care about the chiles issues and we all the work they are all the discussion of alternative issues progress promise them the first generation commerce and now are just all the city's 40 discretion for the last 30 years we have had missed a broker representing a symbolic staff governors nominations to do is commission of course of particular interest because he served his nation's workers and employees to the company which has a obviously a major anchors to fully utilize commission to my concern I really think, said one woman with Miller's District your two, Korea conversion CI think this is a flawed nomination in racism unread over the materials and first of all the state ethics commission says your situation is so serious that they considered a potential conflict of interest and armor system are a blend of a letter from a (SPEAKER CHANGES) Mr. Perry Mason indicates there's the potential for come from interest now because saying his letter to the government is not funded actual conflict of interest fact is you don't reread the lower issues that you work for clients: corners will probably have been no indication should only five you had taken will continue to work because commission's latest in a funny area so is the first point of memories committee and ½ to abolishing the nation's chairs can redeem the governor's nomination is his first of all you have not represented the public in your work for governor nominate someone at work experience of consumer protection division and are just as some of the legal aid Atty. On some days it would look on the reconciliation substantial, and instead representing if you will, bell that's fine with us now we have in your work is done on the apple owners who lives in the business of the reference apartment owners or ??.....

Whatever industries, I’m not sure. So that’s number one. Number two, I think if we look at Mr. Gruber’s record over the years, he was not an active Democrat, in the sense that he did not get involved in political campaigns. According to this, according to the documents we have, you’ve been, and that you’re right, to be the Treasurer for the Chad Barefoot for Senate campaign. Now again, that’s absolutely your right as a citizen but what we’re looking at today is not your role as a citizen, your role as a director of the public staff, acting on behalf of the public. And I just question whether people are active, partisans in the party, are a good choice for that. So to me, we have three issues. Your work record is not, does not have any indication that you spent any time representing the average person, the average consumer. Number two, you’ve been in a partisan role supporting a candidate for the Senate. As you know, he was successful. And number three, we have the letter from Mr. Newsome saying that there’s a potential conflict of interest. And I just, I don’t know if anyone wants to respond to that. Mr. Harris, Representative Moore. But to me, I wish the Governor would withdraw your nomination, appoint you to the utilities commission, so we could vote yes on you on the utility commission. But this is just very, very bad for the public. Six years of having someone direct the public staff, who’s had no record of supporting the public. So members, I urge you to vote no on the nomination, with due respect to Mr. Ayers. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I didn’t think I was going to need this but we plan on taking a vote by 12:30. Representative Moore. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just say that I think Mr. Ayers is more than qualified and I think he’s very well qualified for this job, knowing what I know about what he probably does, I would imagine he’s making a pretty significant personal sacrifice frankly, to take this appointment. I don’t think, Representative Luebke, that the criteria that you would want to use and certainly that has not been employed in the previous administrations is whether a person has never been involved in politics whatsoever. I think Mr. Ayers has a great history. The statement of economic interest, the state ethics commission finds there is not a conflict, and I think anything that would try to argue that there is, is just not accurate at all. But you know, this is the Governor’s appointment. I have full faith and confidence in Mr. Ayers to do this job. Again, I think he’s making a huge personal sacrifice and I would remind the gentleman from Durham that when his party was in the majority and when I was in the minority, we did not act in such a way to the Governor’s nominees at that time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Brawley. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Ayers, welcome to Raleigh. [LAUGH] I’m reminiscent of a story I once read, about Joseph Kennedy, who was a great speculator and then when Roosevelt appointed him head of the SEC, because he knew all the ways that people were playing with markets, he went out and completely reformed them. And I’ve seen from your resume, you’ve been a long career in utilities and you’re also an attorney and while some of us would see that as almost a disqualification for any honest profession, [LAUGHTER] I realize attorneys represent their clients. You take the point of view of your client. If you’re representing a utility, you’re going to put the best argument for the utility that you can. And now your client is going to be the using and consuming public of North Carolina, and you’re going to be taking your 20 years or so of experience and representing them and perhaps using it against the utilities if one assumes the adversarial bent that Representative, the other Representative has put today. So that might be an argument for not confirming you because we’re giving the public staff too competent a person [LAUGH]. But I will say this sir, I think as an attorney as with your background, yes you have to take unpopular positions but you have to represent your client. Having a little bit of utility experience, I see that you really are conversant with a broad range, having worked with the public staff, I quite frankly am glad I didn’t have to face you. And Mr. Chairman, I am so impressed with this gentleman that I would like to make a motion at the appropriate time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Representative Brawley. Hold that just for a minute. Let’s get a few more folks and we’ll come back to you. Representative Arp. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m truly amazed at Representative Luebke’s analysis of the situation. I first of all, I think it’s appalling that you would question the integrity of Mr. Ayers, that are total meritless and founded

And action in the future based on your perception of what you think his character is. Groundless, baseless. And to say that someone because they’ve exercise their right in a political process is going to rule some way or another because of some perceived future action is just beyond the bell to me in this discussion. I don’t know if you got the same letter I do, I’m assuming we do, it says, we did not find an actual conflict of interest, but found the potential for a conflict of interest. The potential conflict identified does not prohibit service on this entity. It even addresses the potential. And so to politicize this is just beyond thought to me. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Whitmire. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Brawley has beat me to the punch and I concur with Representative Arp’s comments. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Blackwell. [SPEAKER CHANGES]`` Thank you, Mr. Chairman I’ll be quick. Two basic comments. First, want to echo what Representative Brawley said. It seems to me, that the Governor has made a wise choice that can well serve the public interest and consumers in selecting someone who has spent time working the other side of the road. That is a common occurrence for attorneys. It’s something that they understand their responsibility is to the client they represent at the time of the representation and I see absolutely nothing wrong from an ethics standpoint or from a practical standpoint and feel that Mr. Aires could well serve, maybe better serve the interests of the consuming public because of his prior associations with utility companies. Secondly, regarding the letter. The letter regarding what the potential conflict I find to be very difficult to figure out what they’re talking about. On the one hand they make reference to his prior membership, or his membership in the firm of ??. He’s leaving that firm so he’ll no longer have any connections to them economically. And he’s no longer representing the clients that he used to represent. So unless now it’s going to be considered a conflict of interest for a lawyer to do something against the interest of a former employer and a former client, which I think is sort of a new concept, I don’t see any ethical problems here. To the extent that there’s a problem the only thing I can see is if something came up that might involve knowledge or a matter that he had previously had some involvement in, in which case I think the rules of the bar would require him to recuse himself. So I don’t’ see any problems here at all, it’s an excellent nomination I urge the Committee to approve Mr. Aires. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Representative Blackwell. I wanted to introduce Mr. Groover, the current Director of Staff. Mr. Groover I saw you walk in, thank you for being here today. Appreciate that. Representative e Reives, I imagine you’ve already been pre-staged to give your report. Thank you, you now offering a motion. Any further questions, comments? With that, Representative Brawley. Ya’ll draw straws over there. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well what I was going to say in the interest of bipartisan cooperation I’ll be happy to defer to Representative Reives. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Reives. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m moving that we approve the motion of House Joint Resolution 1007 and confirming ??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You want a favorable report on the PCS, unfavorable for the original? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. All those in favor, say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, the motion passes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Aires. Now in front of you is House Joint Resolution 1006, I’m sure I don’t think we have a PCS on that. Representative Moore you are recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is, and for members to let you know, that resolution will be added to today’s calendar for consideration as well as the second ??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Rules Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The always glad to serve the Public Utilities Committee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Before you start Representative Moore, I apologize, I want to recognize we’ve got 3 member of the Utilities Commission here, they’re sitting right here to my right. Chairman Ed Finley, Chairman Finley, Ms. Brown-Bland, thank you for coming here, and Ms. Allen. Thank you very much.

Continue, Representative Moore. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. It's good to see Representative Allen here today, so we came in as freshman a couple years ago. Good to see you back. [SPEAKER CHANGES] She looks younger than you, Representative Moore. [SPEAKER CHANGES] She does, she does. She chose better than I. She went to the utilities commission, I stayed in the House. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, it is an honor to be here today to speak on behalf of the two nominees for the Utilities Commission. Those individuals are James Patterson. Mr. Patterson is from Greensboro, is also here. He's a CEO and founder of Webb Patterson Communications, which was rebranded in 2006 as Patterson Partners Incorporated. Has a long and distinguished history. He's very well qualified for this job and I know will probably be coming forward in a few moments. As well as our own Jerry Dockham, who of course seated over here to my right. And we all know Jerry from being a colleague of ours here in the House. I'm very proud, as a North Carolinean, that the Governor has made these two nominations to the State Utilities Commission. And am honored to have been asked to run these bills. Mr. Chairman, with that being said, I don't know if you want to hear from Representative Stein or if you want to hear directly from our nominees. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Moore, I... [SPEAKER CHANGES] I know a lot of members really were looking forward to asking a lot of questions of Representative Dockham, last I heard. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, I noticed they had to put Mr. Patterson, Mr. Dockham and Mr. Patterson so we'd make sure it passed, right? Representative, I mean for Representative Stein? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. With careful consideration, the Governor has made these two appointments and we would hope that you, as you just did, confirm these two appointees. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Dockham, would you like to say a few words? You may. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is with great trepidation I come before the committee today, but Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for hearing this resolution and I really want to thank Governor McCrory for his confidence in me and appointing me to this position. And I really want to thank members of the utility for setting utility commission to be here today. That's very kind of you to be here in support. Members, this is kind of a bittersweet day for me. It's sweet in that I have a new opportunity, a new challenge, which I really look forward to and I welcome. But it's bitter that after spending 23, almost 24 years here in the General Assembly, I'll be leaving you. But I really am honored that the Governor chose to choose a nominee from the House. I don't think he...he could have chose any one of you and made a good choice. I was thinking about qualifications for this and for 23 years I've been doing exactly what you have been doing all this time. We've been, I feel like I've been preparing for this for the past 23 years. We get all the information we can, we think about it, we make the best decision we can and then we try to do what's best for the people of North Carolina. And that's my pledge to you today that that's what I will do if confirmed by this committee to the North Carolina Utilities Commission. I appreciate your support and Mr. Chairman, I'll be glad to make a motion, if you'd like for me to. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hold on, hold on. Hold on, hold on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It ?? order, but... [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Patterson, Mr. Patterson, will you come up and join us, please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] But Mr. Chairman, you do have my biography, you have a letter from the State Ethics Committee, you have my Statement of Economic Interest with an addendum showing that I do not own any utility stock and I'll be happy to answer any questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Apodaca, I forget to tell you, we're going to take up 298 real quick, House Bill 298. [laughter] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Patterson, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. This is a brand new experience for me and one that I am just honored and happy to be able to participate in. I've spent my entire career in the private sector so coming into government is a new experience and one where I hope that the experience that I've had as a small business owner, the experience that I've had working with large companies, working with many companies in many of the industries that are very important to the future of North Carolina. Education, healthcare, food, the whole agribusiness sector. Many of the clothing and textile companies that I've worked for over the years. It's important how we move forward and keep North Carolina competitive and I'm glad to...

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