Glenn F. Ivey, the Maryland Public Service Commission chairman who presided over deregulation of the electric power industry in the state, announced yesterday that he will resign his position by the end of the month to return to private legal practice and pursue a political career.
Ivey, who was tapped by Gov. Parris N. Glendening in March 1998 to chair the PSC, will become a partner at the Washington law firm of Preston, Gates, Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds. Ivey also said he is contemplating a 2002 run for the state's attorney's office in Prince George's County, where he resides.
"I wanted to get back to private practice," said Ivey, whose term was to end in 2003. "I had accomplished a lot of the things I had come to do, like the electric restructuring and setting up a fund for low-income electricity customers. I'm proud of that.
"But I have been considering the state's attorney's run and I thought it was important not to try and put that together while you're a regulator. The risk of ethical entanglement is too great."
Ivey's last day at the PSC will be Oct. 31.
During his tenure, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Electric Customer Choice and Competition Act, which enabled the PSC to help create a framework for deregulating the electricity market. The Baltimore region's deregulation plan helped restructure incumbent utility Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., ensured 1.1 million customers a 6.5 percent rate reduction in their electric bills and created a $34 million fund for low-income electricity customers.
Ivey also helped the PSC deal with the issue of how best to monitor telephone services and foster competition in the telecommunications industry.
"Glenn Ivey has helped guide Maryland into a new era of electricity deregulation," Glendening said yesterday. "We appreciate the work Glenn has done to ensure that Marylanders are provided with effective utility, telecommunication, water and sewer services."
The governor, who received Ivey's resignation letter yesterday, "hopes to fill the position shortly," said Michelle Byrnie, a spokeswoman.
Ivey will return to the law firm he left in 1989 to join the U.S. Attorney's Office, where he worked until 1994. Then he became counsel to the Senate Whitewater and banking committees, where he coordinated the Senate investigation into the death of Vincent W. Foster Jr., the deputy White House counsel. Ivey later became chief counsel to Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and was responsible for telecommunications issues.
The timing of Ivey's resignation took some by surprise, including the governor. "I don't think he was expecting this," Ivey said.
But it was well-known among his colleagues and other industry associates that Ivey was interested in the political arena.
"It's been rumored for some time that Glenn would be running for public office," said Claude M. Ligon, one of five commissioners on the PSC. "He's a young, intelligent chairman and he handled some very complex issues in an outstanding manner. But it was known that he would be seeking other career paths before his term expired." Bob Fleishman, vice president of corporate affairs and general counsel for Constellation Energy Group, the parent company of BGE, said, "His time at the commission was well-spent and his leadership will be greatly missed."