Beth Trombold will be the next member of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, gaining the recommendation of the Senate Public Utilities Committee last week. There are no questions about her qualifications. She doesnít lack the experience of Lynn Slaby when he first joined the commission. Trombold spent more than 15 years working as the commissionís director of public affairs and legislation.
What has troubled about her nomination is the way John Kasich has paid too little heed to the required composition of the five-member commission, the law barring more than three members affiliated with any one political party.
The governor and his staff point out that Trombold is an independent. That is true, at least lately. She also has been part of his Republican administration, serving as the assistant director of the Development Services Agency. When she earlier applied for an opening on the commission, she sought a seat filled by a Republican.
The commission already has two Republicans, with Andre Porter, a third, recently departing to head the state Department of Commerce. Add Trombold, and the argument easily can be made that Republicans hold three seats out of the current four.
Imagine the Republican howling if Ted Strickland had pulled such a move.
The concern is that playing loose with the requirements opens the door to further mischief, and further massaging of the requirements, by Republicans and Democrats. In voting for Trombold, state Sen. Frank LaRose, a Copley Township Republican, voiced his wish for the governor to stick with the partisan balance when he chooses again. Too bad he didnít do so this time.
Correction: As originally published, this editorial erred in describing the current composition of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. With the addition of Beth Trombold, the commission now has one vacancy, Andre Porter having recently moved to head the state Department of Commerce. The above editorial reflects the correction.