Ohio Revised Code section 4901 establishes that there will be five commissioners for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and not more than three “shall belong to or be affiliated with the same political party.”

There are currently four active commissioners, with one seat vacant. Three of those spots have been filled with Republicans appointed by Kasich and one is held by a Democrat appointed by Governor Strickland.

As we found out yesterday, three Republicans is more than enough to destroy years of work on important green energy initiatives in Ohio.  Just imagine if there were four Republicans on the five-member commission?

We’re hearing this is exactly what Kasich is planning.

In March 2012, the Canton Repository identified “Beth Trombold, the PUCO’s director of public affairs and economic development” as a possible candidate for commissioner.  In June, Kasich appointed her assistant director at the Development Services Agency.

The Canton Rep identified Trombold as a “Columbus Republican” – which is an accurate description.

She is a 2002 graduate of the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute, which trains women for prominent roles in the Republican Party, attending the training the same year as former Lucas county GOP official (and friend of Tom NoeMaggie Thurber.

Despite overwhelming evidence that Trombold is a Republican, including the fact that she voted in three Republican primary elections up until 2006, we’re hearing Kasich plans to present Trombold as an “independent” appointee for the commission.

Kasich had his chance to appointee Trombold as a Republican to the commission back in March, but instead he chose to appoint State Rep. Lynn Slaby to the job as likely payback for support from his wife on the oust-DeWine effort.

Without a doubt Ms. Trombold has more knowledge about how PUCO and Ohio’s energy industry works compared to Slaby who fully admitted he had “nearly no experience working on public utility issues” prior to his appointment by Kasich.

But that ship has sailed.

Had Kasich been serious about appointing an experienced Republican to the PUCO instead of paying back unqualified party loyalists, he had three previous opportunities to do the right thing.

Trombold may be more qualified than Kasich’s other Republican appointees (which doesn’t take much), but there’s no doubt she is “affiliated with the same political party” as John Kasich and therefore ineligible for the appointment.

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