Maine Public Utilities Commissioner Carlisle McLean resigned Friday, signaling that she will not seek or was not in line for reappointment by her former boss, Gov. Paul LePage.
The three-person commission announced McLean’s departure in a prepared statement Friday afternoon. A former legal counsel to LePage, she served two years, the last months of which were marked by tension.
McLean was the first commissioner up for reappointment after LePage called for all three commissioners to resign over changes to the state’s solar energy policy, which he said was too generous to owners of small-scale solar systems.
McLean stated in her letter that she “sought to deliberately, independently and thoroughly consider each decision in light of the record before me with the public interest and the Maine ratepayer front of mind.”
She also had been absent from the commission’s two most recent deliberations, which PUC spokesman Harry Lanphear said was a planned vacation. She was present last at the commission’s May 31 hearing.
In the Friday statement, McLean expressed her appreciation for the appointment and the challenges of adjudicating matters related to the state’s public utilities, but did not elaborate on what prompted her resignation.
“I feel so fortunate to have had this incredible privilege to serve the Maine people and work on cutting edge energy and utility regulatory issues,” McLean said. “I will cherish the experience throughout the future and reflect upon it fondly.”
Lanphear wrote in an email that McLean would not be taking interviews.
Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy said McLean will be “truly missed” on the panel.
Before her appointment to serve out the term of former chairman Tom Welch, who resigned four years into his six-year term, McLean was LePage’s chief legal counsel. Before that, she was in private practice at the Portland law firm Preti Flaherty.
McLean added that she enjoyed working with the other commissioners, colleagues across the region and commission staff.
“…they are a dedicated group of professionals who work extraordinarily hard every day for the citizens of Maine,” McLean said. “I look forward to pursuing my next career challenge while spending some personal time with my family.”
It’s unclear whether LePage has selected a successor for McLean. Lanphear directed that question to the governor’s office.
Spokespeople for LePage were not immediately available for comment Friday and the governor’s office had not issued a statement regarding McLean’s resignation.