Code of the District of Columbia

§ 34–801. Members; eligibility; oath.

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by emergency legislation that will expire on December 30, 2021. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation, click this link: Permanent Version.*

(a) The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia shall be composed of 3 commissioners appointed by the Mayor by and with the advice and consent of the Council, except that the members (other than the Mayor of the District of Columbia) serving as commissioners of such Commission on January 1, 1975, by virtue of their appointment by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall continue to serve until the expiration of the terms for which they were so appointed. One of the 3 commissioners shall be designated as Chairperson of the Commission by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, with the advice and consent of the Council. Such designation shall continue for the length of the appointee’s unexpired term or until otherwise terminated by the Mayor. The members first appointed by the Mayor, by and with the advice and consent of the Council, on or after January 2, 1975, shall serve until June 30, 1978. Of the 3 members of the Commission, for members nominated after October 1, 2021, one member shall have experience in electric grid modernization and renewable energy integration or technology and, where possible, issues impacting the environment, and one member shall have experience in consumer protection. The first member nominated after October 1, 2021, shall be the member with experience in electric grid modernization and renewable energy integration or technology, and the second member nominated after October 1, 2021, shall be the member with experience in consumer protection. The Mayor may remove any commissioner for neglect of duty or misconduct in office. When the Mayor determines that any member has engaged in any neglect of duty or misconduct in office, he or she shall notify such member, in writing, of the charge against him or her and that such member has 10 days within which to request a hearing before the Council on such charge. If such member fails to request a hearing within 10 days after receiving such notice, then the Mayor may remove such member and appoint a new member. The hearing requested by a member may be either open or closed, as requested by such member. In the event such hearing is closed, the vote of the Council as a result of such hearing shall be taken at an open meeting of the Council. The Council shall begin such hearings within 60 calendar days after receiving notice from the Mayor indicating that a member has requested such a hearing. If two-thirds of the Council members vote to remove such member, then such member shall be removed. The Mayor may appoint a new member to serve until the expiration of the term of the member removed or for a new 4-year term. The Chairperson of the Commission shall serve as the chief administrative officer of the Commission. The terms of office for all successors shall be 4 years after being confirmed by the Council or the duration of the predecessor’s term at the discretion of the Mayor. No commissioner shall, during his term of office, hold any other public office. The Commissioners shall receive a salary equivalent to that received by an employee compensated at the midpoint of the E5 level pursuant to subchapter X-A of Chapter 6 of Title 1 [§ 1-610.51 et seq.]. The Chairperson shall receive a salary equivalent to 5% higher than the midpoint of the E5 level pursuant to subchapter X-A of Chapter 6 of Title 1 [§ 1-610.51 et seq.]. The Chairperson and Commissioners shall receive cost-of-living adjustments and other base salary increases equivalent to those received by an employee compensated pursuant to subchapter VIII of Chapter 6 of Title 1 [§ 1-608.01 et seq.]. The Mayor shall furnish the Public Service Commission with suitable offices and quarters. No person shall be eligible to the office of commissioner of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia who has not been a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia for a period of at least 3 years next preceding his appointment or who has voted or claimed residence elsewhere during such period. No person shall be eligible to the office of commissioner of the Public Service Commission who is, or who shall have been during a period of one year preceding his appointment, directly or indirectly interested in any public utility or other entity appearing before the Commission or in any stock, bond, mortgage, security, or contract of any public utility or entity, except for stocks that are part of a publicly listed mutual fund other than a utility-focused mutual fund. A person shall not be eligible for appointment as a commissioner if the person, at any time during the 5 years preceding appointment, personally served as an officer, director, owner, manager, partner, or legal representative of a public utility, affiliate, or direct competitor of a public utility. If any such commissioner shall voluntarily become so interested, his office shall ipso facto become vacant; and if any such commissioner shall become so interested otherwise than voluntarily he shall, within a reasonable time, divest himself of such interest, and if he fails to do so his office shall become vacant. Before entering upon the duties of his office each commissioner, the secretary of the Commission, the counsel of the Commission and every employee of said Commission shall take and subscribe the constitutional oath of office, and shall in addition thereto make oath or affirmation before and file with the clerk of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that he is not pecuniarily interested, voluntarily or involuntarily, directly or indirectly, in any public utility in the District of Columbia.

(b)(1)(A) Notwithstanding the provisions of Unit A of Chapter 14 of Title 2, the Commission shall use a ranking system based on a scale of 100 points for all employment decisions for positions within the Commission.

(B) An individual who is a District resident at the time of application shall be awarded a 10-point hiring preference over a nonresident applicant; provided, that the individual claims the preference. This 10-point preference shall be in addition to any points awarded on the 100-point scale.

(C) At the time of appointment, an individual who claimed the 10-point residency preference shall agree, in writing, to maintain District residency for a period of 7 consecutive years from the effective date of appointment into the position for which the individual claimed the residency preference.

(D) An individual who claimed the residency preference and who fails to maintain District residency for 7 consecutive years from the individual's effective date of appointment shall forfeit the individual's District government employment.

(E) Each applicant for a position covered by this subparagraph shall be informed in writing of the provisions of this subparagraph at the time of application.

(2) The Commission shall verify and enforce District residency requirements pursuant to § 1-515.04.

(3) By November 1 of each year and pursuant to § 1-515.06, the Commission shall submit to the Mayor an annual report detailing, for the previous fiscal year, compliance with residency requirements.