Talk about burying a lead.
In the press release from Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s office that he was re-nominating Jack Betkoski as one of the three directors of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority was this little side note: “Governor Malloy also received formal notification from PURA Director and current Chairman Kevin M. DelGobbo that he is declining the Governor’s offer for re-nomination and intends to resign from his current position effective May 11.”
“Everybody’s going to think it’s some weird thing,” DelGobbo said from his office where he was still crunching through a never-ending workload, and said would be until he left.
In fact, he said, he began thinking about leaving over Christmas. “I began thinking, what’s next?”
Well so far nothing – DelGobbo, 48, said there’s no job waiting, he plans to take a little time off. “Given the workload, I need to take a bit of a break.”
DelGobbo has overseen public utility regulation at perhaps its most challenging and groundbreaking time in Connecticut. He arrived as one of five commissioners of the Department of Public Utility Control, then an independent body, in January 2009 after 12 years as a Republican member of the state House of Representatives, including 10 years as the ranking member of the Energy and Technology Committee.
He became chairman of the DPUC later that year and about a year ago was nominated by Gov. Malloy to be the first chairman of the new PURA, which was being re-invented under the new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
While some balked at the idea of a regulatory body falling under the jurisdiction of an agency it regulates, DelGobbo was publicly on board, telling the Mirror it was “the right direction,” and a way for PURA to get back to its core regulatory function.
“This allows the state to make better decisions, developing and executing policy in an arena all agree is important,” he said at the time.
While there have been rocky patches as DEEP and PURA sorted out their boundaries, including the unexpected resignation of DelGobbo’s immediate superior, Deputy Commissioner for Energy Jonathan Schrag, DelGobbo said he felt the toughest challenge was behind PURA.
“That was the initial incubation period of this reorganization,” he said. “Clearly a lot of this we continue to work on. But that initial part, and I said this publicly, no one should have expected it would be done easily. This was not just bolted on to DEEP. It fundamentally changes the paradigm.
“Do I think this can work; yes I do.”
DelGobbo said one of the tugs that stood to hold him back from resigning was the loss of director Anna M. Ficeto, who became a superior court judge. Gov. Malloy announced Tuesday he had nominated Arthur House to replace her. With only three directors, PURA now faces a landscape with two-thirds of its directors new to the job.
“The governor’s been gracious,” DelGobbo said. “I didn’t want to add to the turmoil.
“In the end,” he said, “I’ve loved it up here.
“It’s been an interesting kismet of events between storms and reorganization and major legislative initiatives I’m happy to have engaged in.
“I think of the things that have been most fulfilling for me in my life and this has been one of them.”