By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Last Wednesday the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) began proceeding to public hearings on Mobile Gas.
According to the PSC, the commission met to layout and “investigate all regulated aspects of Mobile Gas including the rates currently being charged to customers,” according to a written statement by PSC President President Twinkle Cavanaugh.
Curiously, the man who has been calling for fair and formal hearing of utility companies like Mobile Gas was absent from the meeting.
“Our commission is committed to looking into the utilities we regulate and ensuring the rates they charge are fair to customers,” Cavanaugh said. “These proceedings will be thorough, they will be transparent, and, most of all, they will invite full public input, involvement and scrutiny.”
Commissioners Cavanaugh and Jeremy Oden were present but not Commissioner Terry Dunn. When asked why Dunn did not attend the meeting no one seemed to know as he did not notify the other commissioners.
However, his Chief of Staff, David Roundtree, appearing on the Birmingham-based Matt Murphy on Thursday, said that Dunn was not in the office on Thursday either. When Murphy asked Roundtree,where Dunn was on a workday, Roundtree told Murphy that he could not tell him. When pressed on the matter, Roundtree said Dunn was doing the people’s business but still refuged to reveal the whereabouts of his boss, Terry Dunn.
Roundtree, who makes around $80,000 a year to assist Dunn, has a long history at PSC working under the former democratic leadership. In the radio interview, not only did he attack Murphy for questioning his, “shy and humble” boss but also called this publication and this writer a liar, because we report that Dunn was mostly silent during a recent interview. (We have sent the Matt Murphy Show a tape of the interview we conducted with Dunn for his evaluation as to the accuracy of our reporting.)
Murphy who is considered one of the top talkshow and political commentators in Alabama had invited Dunn on his show but instead Roundtree spoke on Dunn’s behalf.
The running joke around the Capitol and the halls of the PSC is that when ever Roundtree allows Dunn to speak you only have to look closely to see the strings attached to Roundtree’s fingers.
What is not a joke at the PSC are reports of Roundtree’s violent temper, referred to by staff members as an “anger management issue.”
So aggressive have been Roundtree’s outbursts that on one occasion security had to be called for fear that he would physically attack someone.
Dunn who has set himself up a the companion of the people calling for formal hearings of Alabama’s utilities, should give an account as to why he did not attend the first hearing on Mobile Gas.
Concerning the proceeding, Cavanaugh said, “These proceedings are being conducted publicly and in full light of day, and we encourage public participation.”
Once proceedings involving the Mobile Gas rates have concluded, Cavanaugh said the commission will quickly follow with equally thorough looks into the other utilities that fall under the agency’s jurisdiction.
But where was Commissioner Dunn?