By Amanda Durish Cook
A new MISO task team this month is seeking stakeholder suggestions to improve the process for choosing the RTO’s board members.
The newly established Board Qualification Task Team is exploring whether to extend to state regulators a one-year “cooling-off” period required of other industry participants before they can apply to serve on MISO’s Board of Directors. The group will also examine other aspects of the board’s makeup and required qualifications.
MISO’s Advisory Committee created the task team in March following last year’s board elections, in which Nancy Lange, then chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, was nominated to fill a seat on the board without observing the yearlong moratorium. (See New Task Team to Review MISO Board Rules.)
The task team could recommend that the board amend its Transmission Owners Agreement bylaws to adopt improvements, which must be approved by FERC. Neither MISO nor its board is under any obligation to act on Advisory Committee recommendations.
During its first conference call Tuesday, the small task team decided it will issue a public document should it identify any worthwhile recommendations for changing the board selection process. Those recommendations would be reviewed and possibly taken up by the board’s Corporate Governance and Strategic Planning Committee, led by Director Theresa Wise.
However, the task team decided against drafting a white paper on board selection improvements, with Chair Mark Volpe saying such documents should be reserved for technical matters.
In addition to taking stakeholder recommendations, the new team will also review the composition of board nominating committees at other RTOs as possible examples for changing MISO’s Nominating Committee, which vets and selects board candidates for stakeholder voting.
The Nominating Committee currently holds slots for two stakeholders and three directors, prompting some Advisory Committee members to criticize its lack of stakeholder diversity and suggest that MISO should ensure broader representation of stakeholder sectors in selecting board candidates.
Volpe said stakeholders might prefer “broadened and more inclusive” representation and suggested that MISO could add stakeholder seats or rotate sector representation year to year. Task team members may also recommend that directors be required to observe an additional cooling-off period before joining a MISO-related organization after having served on the board.
Volpe asked task team members to come up with draft recommendations in time for the group’s May 28 conference call.