Gov. Ducey 'open' to picking Corporation Commission instead of voters

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Gov. Ducey said he was open to the idea of appointing members of the Arizona Corporation Commission instead of voters choosing them. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Gov. Ducey said he was open to the idea of appointing members of the Arizona Corporation Commission instead of voters choosing them. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Former Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce (pictured), his wife Sherry Ann Pierce, utility owner George Harry Johnson and prominent lobbyist Jim Norton were indicted last week. (Source: http://www.azcc.gov) Former Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce (pictured), his wife Sherry Ann Pierce, utility owner George Harry Johnson and prominent lobbyist Jim Norton were indicted last week. (Source: http://www.azcc.gov)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Should voters still elect members of the Arizona Corporation Commission to oversee utility companies?

It is now a question among state leaders in light of a major scandal to hit the five-member commission last week.

[RELATED: Ex-AZ Corp. Commissioner, owner of Johnson Utilities indicted on bribery charges]

Gov. Doug Ducey weighed in on the issue Thursday, saying he's open to a proposal that gives him the power to pick the commission, taking it away from voters.

"I'm open-minded to any reform that would improve government, that would improve the relationship and the public trust," Ducey said. "I'd really like to look at this and see what other states are doing if there is a better model or the best practices that we could apply in Arizona."

Arizona is one of 12 states that directly elect utility regulators to oversee the power and water companies.

The change would require the approval of voters, but some believe having a governor pick the commission would add more accountability.

Last week, the federal government indicted a former commissioner on suspicion of selling his vote to the owner of a water company.

[RELATED: Former Arizona utility regulator indicted on bribery charges]

Three others were also indicted on bribery and fraud charges.

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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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