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The Latest Developments Regarding OCPA

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Here’s the latest from the ongoing saga at the embattled Orange County Power Authority (OCPA).

After four scathing audits, the OCPA Board of Directors fired the agency’s controversial CEO, Brian Probolsky — a longtime political consultant with no previous experience in the electricity field. However, even that action has resulted in controversy.

According to last week’s article in Voice of OC, the OCPA Board paid Probolsky “nearly four times the severance payout promised in his original contract in exchange not to speak about the agency.” Even though his contract only stipulated six months salary, which would have amounted to about $120,000, the Board paid Probolsky $450,000.

The Board then hired the agency’s former Communications Director, Joe Mosco, to serve as interim CEO, and approved a $750,000 six-month media campaign in an attempt to re-brand OCPA.

These two unusually large payouts come as Irvine electricity ratepayers continue to be charged higher monthly electricity rates by OCPA.

During the June 13th Irvine City Council meeting, a heated discussion took place regarding Irvine’s continued involvement with OCPA.

Councilmember Mike Carroll — who previously served as OCPA Board Chair — questioned the new board’s decision to remove weighted voting for Irvine. (Since the City of Irvine established OCPA and is the only member city to have invested millions of taxpayer dollars in the agency, Irvine receives two votes on the OCPA Board while all other member cities receive only one vote. “Weighted voting,” which is based on kilowatt hours consumed by each city, gives Irvine an added advantage with respect to certain important OCPA Board votes.)

Recently, Irvine’s two OCPA representatives — Councilmember Tammy Kim and Kathleen Treseder agreed to remove Irvine’s weighted voting option.

Councilmember Carroll — joined by Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmember Larry Agran — argued that Irvine needs to retain its weighted voting advantage because it has shouldered the costs for the agency since its inception. To that end, Carroll added an agenda item calling for the City’s OCPA representatives to follow directions from their Irvine City Council colleagues. Both Khan and Agran voted in support of Carroll’s motion, which passed 3-2.

Meanwhile, Kim and Treseder voiced their opposition to Carroll’s motion and voted against it. Councilmember Kim chastised her Council colleagues for even discussing OCPA publicly at a Council meeting, and for questioning OCPA Board votes.

ICNV Staff

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