O’Brien: No regrets over Jay Thayer dinner

David O'Brien, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service, sent a letter to VT Digger this week explaining an issue that has plagued him for a few years: The allegations that he was too cozy with Entergy, the owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

Shay Totten, the columnist at Seven Days, reported last year that O'Brien, whose job it is to represent ratepayers before the Public Service Board, had Thayer, the then-vice president of operations at VY, over to his Stowe home for a holiday dinner.

That raised some eyebrows, especially since Entergy was seeking the department's support – and the Board's approval – for some major plans, including extending the life of the plant for another 20 years. O'Brien denied that the party was improper and said that business was not discussed.

With problems plaguing VY, this issue hasn't gone away. In fact, it's become a bit of a chain around O'Brien's ankle and an easy plot point to point to for someone convinced that the regulators are too close to the industry they oversee.

O'Brien has continued to defend that party and this week took to Anne Galloway's Web site to state that he would do it again if he could.

Here's what he said:

In hindsight I regret being forthcoming about my personal holiday party, I should have answered that it was no one’s business who visits my home. Ever since this matter was first raised I feel as though my personal space has been invaded.

What do you think? Should state officials who oversee certain industries be allowed to party with those executives on their off-time. Is this no big deal? Clearly, O'Brien doesn't benefit from having Thayer over his home. But did Thayer benefit? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

- Dan Barlow

6 Responses to O’Brien: No regrets over Jay Thayer dinner

  1. gary fromvermont

    Dear Davey made his bed and now he had best sleep in it. Each Christmas season from here till whenever his reign as DPS Commissioner/ Chair wimp of VT state Nuclear Advisory Panel (WE WILL NOT MEET UNTIL SENATOR MARK MACD IS OFF THE PANEL)ends, I INTEND TO DEMAND MY REQUEST TO HIS BIRTHDAY PARTY.
    802 828-2811… REMINDS THIS MAN WHO “WOULD NOT KNOW A NEUTRON FROM A CROUTON” (source Shadis) THAT FOR REGULATORS TO BE IN BED WITH REGULATED IS NOT the VT way.

  2. Peter Alexander

    On the face of it, David O’Brien, Vermont’s Commissioner of Public Service, was wrong to invite Jay Thayer of Entergy to his holiday party. O’Brien’s rationale that his personal life is no one’s business but his own only shows that he has a deep misunderstanding of the ethical principles of public service. His relationship with Thayer is a function of his public responsibility to serve the people of Vermont; it is NOT a personal relationship in any conventional sense, but an official one. For O’Brien not to the know the difference–and after all this time to continue defending his obviously inappropriate behavior–is deeply disturbing. Whether or not such basic, common sense ethical guidelines are codified in Vermont Law (they should be), O’Brien’s behavior and defiant attitude raise serious doubts about his fitness to serve in such an important position.

  3. Chinese steamed eggs constitute a common dish served throughout China. Vegetables, shrimp, scallions, and tofu are commonly added and steamed with the eggs. In southern areas, eggs are usually served with rice congee, but in the northern areas it is served with Mantou (Chinese steamed buns).

  4. In general, people in rural parts of America, Canada, and other Anglophone countries eat breakfast, dinner and supper. Germans traditionally stick to the same pattern. In these cases, dinner typically happens between midday and early afternoon. But whether town or country, wherever the dominant industry of an area involves hard labor (e.g., farming, mining, timber trade),

  5. very cool space! I love your taste and it looks like it’d be so much fun to poke around in there… I used to live in DE but am now in VA, but if I ever go back that way to visit family I’d love to see it in person :)
    luckily though, here in Virginia I found your Cupcake chardonnay at the grocery store for $8.99 (such a lovely treat to be able to buy wine where I can get cat litter and tampons too!)…. I was intrigued by your love of it ( and its pretty bottle I must admit) so snagged a bottle… thanks for the heads up :) cheers!

  6. Shrimp is a type of seafood, particularly shellfish is an elongated body with 10 legs, looking very similar to shrimps and prawns, with a shell somewhat weaker than them.
    Size between 5 and 8 cm, but there are a variety of smaller size, those who take the name of shrimps.
    The seafood can be consumed fresh throughout the year, although its market price is cheaper during the winter.