OC Power Authority Ignores OC Grand Jury Report

The Orange County Grand Jury (OCGJ) released a report on the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) last month. The report was titled, “Orange County Power Authority, Come Clean.” One of the findings related to issues of the OCPA not reporting public comments accurately in the minutes:

“In a detailed review of the OCPA Board minutes, the OCGJ found inaccuracies and unnecessary or potentially misleading omissions, including failing to refer to questions and statements made during public comments.”

Finding F6 of the Grand Jury report specifically called out the OCPA on this issue: 

“F6 OCPA Board meeting agendas and staff reports are distributed at the last minute and Board meeting minutes are not always accurate, complete, or posted in a timely manner.”

True to form, the OCPA’s June 29, 2022 meeting minutes maintained their usual practice of omitting details pertaining to public comments.

The minutes of the June 29, 2022 OCPA meeting are missing descriptions of the public comments; only commenter names were provided. These comments were made by members of the public working to push the public agency in the right direction — away from mismanagement, incompetence, and further imposition of fines by the California Public Utilities Commision.

Here’s how public comments were reported in the OCPA’s June meeting Minutes:

In comparison, here is how public comments are reported in Irvine City Council meeting Minutes:

Per the TimesOC,

Doug Elliott, an attorney and blogger for Irvine Watchdog, criticized Probolsky’s whistleblower complaint.

“His attorney’s letter was tantamount to a declaration of war on the organization that employs him,” Elliott said. “The claim that he is a whistleblower is ludicrous.”

Dr. Kathleen Treseder, a UC Irvine biology professor and Irvine City Council candidate, also spoke in support of an executive leadership shakeup at the agency.

“I was a very enthusiastic supporter of OCPA before these issues with Probolsky and Baron came to light,” she said. “I would be happy to recommend that other cities join OCPA under different leadership.”

Doug Elliott’s public comment can be heard here:


Dr. Kathleen Treseder’s public comment can be heard here:


Walter Norbrega’s public comment can be heard here:


Branda Lin’s public comment can be heard here:


While some improvements in transparency have occurred in light of the investigation by the OCGJ, the OCPA continues to show that it needs oversight and threats of litigation in order to adhere to the Brown Act and Public Records Act. Both of these acts serve to preserve transparency and are vital for keeping corruption from undermining public agencies. The OCPA is not a private agency even if it prefers to act as one. The Grand Jury Report states:

“CCEs are public agencies subject to the Brown Act and the Public Records Act. Board meetings are open to the public. CCEs produce financial reports on an annual basis subject to third-party audit. Transparency, particularly financial transparency, helps keep corruption in check, bolsters public confidence in government, and promotes fiscal responsibility.

In the case of OCPA, a hint to the attitude of the CEO and OCPA Board Chair is reflected by the Chairman’s comment in the December 21, 2021, special meeting of the Board when the Chair [Mike Carroll] stated, “We’re not a typical agency; this is about as private as a public agency can get.” OCPA is not a private agency.”

The OCPA’s failure to include the public comments from the June 29 meeting shows the agency intends to continue flouting the rules intended to provide public access and transparency. As the OCPA prepares to enter another critical phase with the upcoming rollout of residential services in October, more scrutiny will be needed to ensure the OCPA comes clean.

The next OCPA Board meeting is Tuesday, July 12, 2022 at 10:00AM. To participate via Zoom or read the agenda click link here.