Gorak out as Senate votes down governor’s Public Utilities Commission pick

Thomas Gorak

Gov. David Ige’s appointment to the Public Utilities Commission was voted down by the state Senate Friday.

Ige appointed Thomas Gorak to the commission last June to fill the seat of outgoing commissioner Michael Champley.

He has been serving as commissioner since July 1, 2016.

Prior to the appointment, Gorak was the commission’s legal counsel, and was heavily involved in the Hawaiian Electric-NextEra Energy merger discussion.

Critics said the pick was illegal and unethical. Former PUC chairwoman Hermina Morita even filed a lawsuit, calling the move illegal because it was done when the Senate was not in session for a confirmation process, and because Champley had not stepped down. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.

In a 15-10 vote, the Senate chose not to confirm Gorak. His term ends next week.

It’s now up to the governor to appoint a new commissioner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s