Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Todd A. Snitchler will not seek reappointment for his term that ends April 10.
The Lake Township Republican was appointed by Gov. John Kasich to lead the regulatory agency that oversees utilities in 2011. At the time, Snitchler resigned in his second term as 50th district Ohio House of Representatives member to take the PUCO position. He succeeded Alan Schriber, who retired after 12 years.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Snitchler said he will work in the private sector, though he does not know what he will do next. “I’ve been in Columbus for a little over five years,” said Snitchler. “This is my expiration date. I’ve enjoyed my time in public service.”
In a Beacon Journal interview in 2011 as he was closing his law practice to move to Columbus, Snitchler — married with two children — said he was determined to make his then-teens’ school activities, even if it meant being on the road frequently.
“We managed to make it work, but it did get to be a challenge,” Snitchler said of driving back to Stark County for his kids’ activities. “I’m still driving the same truck I went down there with and it’s got 230,000 miles on it.”
Snitchler said it was a priority for his wife and children to have family time. His son just left for college and his daughter is a junior in high school.
“I don’t want to miss that senior year. I’m looking forward to being a little more attentive,” Snitchler said.
In his prepared statement, Snitchler said: “I am grateful to Gov. Kasich for this opportunity and for putting his trust in me. It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Ohio in the capacity of chairman of the PUCO. The work of the Commission affects every Ohioan and I am proud of the work to which I was able to contribute to. I have invested more than five years in public service, three of which were at the helm of the Commission, but I believe now is the time to move ahead into my next role. With that said, I am very proud of the hard working, dedicated staff of the PUCO and I have been honored to have worked with such a great team.”
In a statement, Kasich said, “Todd has been an effective leader at the PUCO because he’s got such a thorough understanding of Ohio’s highly complex energy market and he is a fierce defender of the PUCO’s independence. Both are essential for the PUCO to serve Ohioans well. I value those qualities highly and preferred that he seek reappointment but I respect his decision and wish him and his family well in the next chapter of their lives.”
Application deadline for Snitchler’s expiring commision seat is Thursday. Kasich will appoint a new chair from among the commissioners.
According to state law, the five-member commission can have no more than three from any political party. The panel currently has two Republicans, Snitchler and Lynn Slaby of Copley Township; two are not registered with either party, Asim Haque and Beth Trombold; and one Democrat, Steve Lesser.
As chairman of the PUCO, Snitchler led the 320-person agency that oversees the regulation of electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water and commercial transportation.
Snitchler’s annual salary in 2011 was $124,500. A current figure was not available.
He also serves as chairman of the Ohio Power Siting Board that reviews, evaluates and approves decisions involving electric generation plants and electric and natural gas transmission lines.
The PUCO said among Snitchler’s work has been “encouraging the development of competitive markets; advancements in gas pipeline safety; leading the charge on gas and electric industry coordination; ensuring Ohio is involved in cybersecurity discussions; boosting savings and benefits to ratepayers” through legislative measures.
The PUCO also said Snitchler in 2012 created the Office of Retail Competition, charging it with programming to educate consumers on electric and natural gas choice. Additionally, he commissioned a team to develop a new website focused on consumer education regarding electric and natural gas choice, which is scheduled to be released in the coming weeks, the agency said.
Snitchler said he’s not certain about reopening a private practice, which mostly did small-business advising, corporate law and transactional work.
“I’ve had several people ask me, ‘Do you have your landing place?’ I don’t,” he said. “I’m trying to finish my work on the commission strong and I’d like to finish a few things before my term is up.”
Beacon Journal business writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3688 or at email@example.com.