Mayor Vincent C. Gray is withdrawing his nomination of Elizabeth Noel to be a new member of the Public Service Commission.
Well, not quite.
Noel’s nomination is about to expire due to lack of council action, so Gray plans to withdraw it, then immediately resubmit it to start the clock again, according to people with knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity to speak freely.
As a former People’s Counsel for the District whose job it was to advocate for consumers against utilities, Noel’s nomination has been mired in controversy because Pepco has questioned her impartiality.
The utility questions whether Noel can effectively serve on the PSC because she would have to recuse herself from dozens of cases that may come before the panel in which she participated as people’s counsel,
According to two people with knowledge of Gray’s strategy, the mayor’s formal withdrawal and re-nomination will go to the council Thursday. It will be accompanied with a report from a panel Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan assembled to study whether Noel could properly serve.
The report, the two officials said, backs the administration’s assertion that she can.