Cal­i­for­nia up­holds fir­ing of top black judge

Lodi News-Sentinel - - LOCAL/STATE - By Adam Ash­ton

The first black woman to be the chief judge at the Cal­i­for­nia Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion lost a bid to re­claim her job this week when the State Per­son­nel Board re­jected her ar­gu­ment that she ex­pe­ri­enced racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and whistle­blower re­tal­i­a­tion in her eight years at the en­ergy reg­u­la­tor.

For­mer PUC Chief Ad­min­is­tra­tive Law Judge Karen Clop­ton has one more shot to re­turn to her po­si­tion over­see­ing the 40 or so judges who weigh com­plaints re­gard­ing the state’s largest en­ergy com­pa­nies.

She’s su­ing the com­mis­sion in San Fran­cisco Su­pe­rior Court, where she al­leges she ex­pe­ri­enced racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and re­tal­i­a­tion for co­op­er­at­ing with in­ves­ti­ga­tions that drew at­ten­tion to cozy re­la­tion­ships be­tween Pa­cific Gas & Elec­tric Co. and the civil ser­vants who were sup­posed to reg­u­late the com­pany’s op­er­a­tions. The com­plaint ar­gues that the scru­tiny she faced in her fi­nal years at the com­mis­sion was mo­ti­vated in part by racial dis­crim­i­na­tion.

The State Per­son­nel Board, which set­tles dis­putes be­tween state work­ers and their em­ploy­ers, found there was no con­nec­tion be­tween Clop­ton’s Au­gust 2017 dis­missal and her co­op­er­a­tion with the in­ves­ti­ga­tions that ex­posed ties be­tween PG&E and the com­mis­sion.

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