Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Remember When Richie Kessel Was A Consumer Advocate?

LIPA Chief Delivered Us From The Evils Of LILCO -- Right Into Hands Of "Warm Weather" Surcharges, Fuel Adjustments, And Other Euphemistic Paddings Of LIers Electric Bills

Talk abounds that Richie Kessel, the guy who almost singlehandedly took down LILCO on behalf of Long Island's ratepayers, may be in line for Nassau County Comptroller, that is if current Comptroller, Howard Weitzman, gets Governor Spitzer's nod as State Tax Commissioner.

Kessel climbed the utility pole from rabble rouser to boss, and now seems poised to take his live wire act over to West Street in Mineola, as the County's chief fiscal watchdog.

Is Richie the guy we want watching over the financial pot at the County? How did he do managing the finances of the Long Island Power Authority? Is LIPA an efficient, well-run operation, or just another bloated public authority, sucking the life -- and the dollars -- out of the taxpayers and ratepayers to whom it is conveniently (and exclusively) plugged in?

No question that Richie Kessel championed the cause of the consumer in the 80s, but did he join the dark side as a corporate fat cat and political -- if not electrical -- power broker in the 90s and beyond?

This should be an interesting one to watch should the Weitzman move pan out, and one which you may want to offer opinion on by posting comments to this blog.
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From The Spin Cycle at Newsday. . .

Kessel is a possibility

Nassau Comptroller Howard Weitzman has been talking with the Spitzer administration about becoming state tax commissioner. Should he take the job, Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi would fill the vacancy with legislative approval.

Long Island Power Authority president Richard Kessel is said to be front-runner to replace Weitzman. Suozzi's office would not comment. Kessel, who has gotten along well with the media for 25 years, is suddenly standoffish. He replies through LIPA spokesman Michael Lowndes "no comment" when asked if he's interested in the job.

But more than one person noted that Kessel's appearance at Suozzi's State of the County address Tuesday was the first they could remember. And there he was at the same table with Suozzi Thursday at a Long Island Association breakfast listening to, and being acknowledged by, Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

- Sid Cassese on Long Island
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Read New boss at LIPA plans big changes, including a code of ethics and a review of salaries and bonuses

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