District Three Public Service Commissioner Roger Koopman blasted the organization he was elected to over eight years ago on the Friday Talk Back show as being politically motivated instead of serving the people of Montana.

Koopman has authored several op-ed pieces over the last few years citing circumstances and naming names that he believes have contributed to the erosion of the commission.

On Friday’s Talk Back, he specifically referenced the relationship between Chairman Brad Johnson and Northwestern Energy, one of the utilities the commission is charged with overseeing.

“I know the current chairman would meet on a regular basis with the CEO of Northwestern (Energy),” he said. “There’s nothing illegal about that, but I advised him right away when he was going to do this and I said ‘don’t do it, Brad’. We can’t meet with the consumers like this. We don’t know what’s being talked about behind closed doors. No, Bob Rowe (the CEO of Northwestern Energy) is smart enough not to bring us an actives docket at the time, but they are influencing us in very subtle ways.”

Koopman said in no uncertain terms that be believes such a relationship is not appropriate.

“It’s unseemly and it isn’t good,” he said. “To be meeting with people who are on active dockets, parties, companies, utilities, who are on active dockets, and for that matter accepting their donations during political campaigns which he has done in particular with garbage company monopolies, including in Missoula.”

Koopman also pointed to a poisoned working atmosphere with the other commissioners.

“Number one, we don’t have the collegiality that’s so important on a five person commission where we can disagree and still be respectful of each other,” he said. “Be truthful to each other and not play political games in secret intrigues and schemes behind commissioners’ backs, but just work as a five person commission with respect and professionalism.”

Koopman will leave his position in January when his term runs out, and there will be at least two new commissioners for the next term.

Find attached the op-ed pieces that Commissioner Koopman provided to KGVO News.


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