Fetch appointment to PSC surprisingBonny Fetch will fill out the final six months of Tony Clark’s term on the North Dakota Public Service Commission. Although the appointment caught many people by surprise, it has all the appearances of a great choice.
By: The Bismarck Tribune, The Jamestown Sun
Bonny Fetch will fill out the final six months of Tony Clark’s term on the North Dakota Public Service Commission. Although the appointment caught many people by surprise, it has all the appearances of a great choice.
Prior to her appointment, Fetch was not a part of the buzz about filling Clark’s seat. Sen. Randy Christmann, R-Hazen, has the Republican nomination for the position held by Clark, who has moved on to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Republican governor and nominee — connect the dots and Christmann gets the job.
But Gov. Jack Dalrymple, apparently after Christmann indicated he did not want a temporary appointment, chose not to twist the candidate’s arm and picked an administrative law judge.
In a sense, Dalrymple has taken that PSC appointment out of the political fray.
Many North Dakotans do not know Fetch. She’s hardly high profile. However, Fetch handled the hearing when then-Dickinson State University President Richard McCallum appealed his firing. And, Bismarck residents may remember Fetch from when she conducted the hearing on a quiet-rail crossing near Fraine Barracks.
She’s also a supervisory administrative law judge for the state Department of Human Services, and was a personnel specialist and hearing officer for the state Personnel Division. She was the first commissioned woman officer in the North Dakota National Guard.
Clearly, Fetch impressed the governor with her performance. And, we agree her work on the DSU fiasco was first-rate. Her temperament in dealing with the Board of Higher Education, the chancellor and McCallum was cool and judicial, although she’s not an attorney.
The appointment comes at a time when North Dakota needs a fully functioning Public Service Commission. There are proposed expansions in nearly every facet of the energy industry operating in the state. There are pipeline and refinery projects in the works, several natural gas-fired electrical generating plants being developed and ongoing growth in wind production. All of these endeavors, and others, require interest and action from the PSC. Having Fetch, with a certain amount of PSC experience, in place should benefit the state.
Christmann faces Democratic nominee Brad Crabtree in the general election. The decision to appoint Fetch keeps the playing field between these two candidates pretty much even. Voters should appreciate that.