Organizational changes in store for PSC

The state Public Service Commission is getting a new member and a new chair.

Walker administration secretary Mike Huebsch will become a PSC commissioner, while current commissioner Ellen Nowak will become the chair.

Former MG&E exec Scott Neitzel will replace Huebsch as Department of Administration secretary. Neitzel, a former PSC commissioner who Republican sources say came close to joining the administration in 2011, had been senior vice president at Madison Gas & Electric until abruptly stepping down last week. He had been part of the utility’s management team since 1997.

Huebsch, a former GOP Assembly speaker who has been Walker’s DOA secretary since the guv took office in 2011, is slated to replace Eric Callisto at the PSC. Callisto is the last remaining Doyle appointee on the three-member board, and his term ends March 1.

Meanwhile, Nowak will become PSC chair, taking a post that had been held by Commissioner Phil Montgomery since Walker appointed him to the body in March 2011. Terms as chair are two years, and Montgomery was re-appointed to the position in 2013.

Bob Seitz, a veteran staffer and operative who has served as spokesman for Gogebic Taconite as the company works to site an iron mine in northern Wisconsin, will become Nowak’s executive assistant.

Walker also announced new appointments to WEDC and WHEDA, two agencies he wants to merge.

Tricia Braun, who has been WEDC’s vice president of Economic and Community Development, will take over as chief operating officer. She replaces Ryan Murray, who resigned late last year to join a consulting firm.

Walker also appointed Brian Schimming, vice chair of the state GOP and a former Thompson administration official, to be deputy executive director and chief operating officer at WHEDA.

The announcement didn’t explain if those jobs would be affected if the proposed merger is approved by lawmakers.