New Director of Committee of Consumer Services Starts Job

New Director of Committee of Consumer Services Starts Job

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Richard Piatt ReportingA political firestorm is still simmering, but the Governor's pick to lead a consumer watchdog agency is on the job. Leslie Reberg is on the job at the Committee for Consumer services--replacing Roger Ball.

Leslie Reberg is in the spotlight more than she's used to, but that's part of the deal as executive director of the committee of consumer services. Reberg is Governor Huntsman's pick to fight for low utility rates, especially when monopoly companies ask for increases.

Leslie Reberg, Committee of Consumer Services Exec. Dir.: "Anyone who knows me knows I'm a fighter, I'm an advocate, and knows I stand up for what I believe in."

Reberg replaces Roger Ball for the job, a man the Governor fired in March. That firing and Reberg's nomination sparked an intense, mostly insider fight between the Governor's administration and consumer watchdog Claire Geddes. Geddes fears the committee's independence has been compromised, and questions Reberg's credentials.

Claire Geddes, Utah Legisaltive Watch: "It won't matter what the committee does from now on, the committee has lost its credibility, and that's just the bottom line.”

At Governor Huntsman's monthly KUED news conference he defended his decision to make the change.

Governor Jon Hunstman Jr.: "I think she'll be an aggressive consumer advocate, which I think is the most important feature here. And so I think we need to give her a little bit of time."

Reberg has a steep learning curve, dealing with powerful companies like Questar and Pacific Corp. Reberg counts past experience at US West--now Qwest--as a plus.

Leslie Reberg: "A committee like this serves as a surrogate, so it's absolutely essential that we do our job, do it well, are well informed."

Reberg started her first day buying bagels for the staff in her office. But from now on, she's going to be working to prove to critics she hasn't bitten off more than she can chew in this job. The Committee of Consumer Services board approved Reberg's nomination yesterday.

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