Chief Administrative Law Judge

  • Oregon Public Utility Commission
  • Salem, OR, USA
Full Time Executive Government Legal

Job Description

The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) is looking for an enthusiastic and forward-thinking individual to become our Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This position serves as part of the agency's Executive Management team and manages the conduct of fair and impartial agency proceedings addressing legal, technical, and policy issues related to the rapidly evolving utility industries.

If you are looking for a challenging, rewarding career where you can make a difference, then the PUC is the place for you.

Questions regarding this position should be referred to Stacy Wren, Human Resource Analyst, at (503) 373-1368 or


The PUC is responsible for the regulation of investor-owned energy utilities, large water companies, and telecommunications utilities, and has exclusive jurisdiction over matters related to utility rates and services. The PUC's mission is "To ensure Oregon utility customers have access to safe, reliable and high quality utility services at just and reasonable rates. This is done through robust and thorough analysis and independent decision-making conducted in an open and fair process."

The Chief ALJ reports directly to the Executive Director providing overall administrative and operational leadership to the Commission's decision-making functions and responsibilities. The Chief ALJ serves on the agency's Executive Management team and manages the Administrative Hearings Division (AHD), which is an independent division within the agency that consists of five Administrative Law Judges and four legal support staff. The PUC's ALJs preside over highly complex cases involving utilities, industrial customers, consumer groups and competitors, and other stakeholders.

This an executive service position and is not eligible for overtime. The PUC is an other funds agency, funded through fees paid by the utilities we regulate. This recruitment will be used to establish a list of qualified candidates; this list will be used to fill the current vacancy and may be used to fill other vacancies as they occur.

The Chief ALJ is directly responsible for oversight of all PUC regulatory processes, including ensuring proper processing of legal filings, fairness and transparency of proceedings, evaluating the legal adequacy of orders and recommendations submitted to the Commissioner, and that the Commissioners receive a broad range of legally acceptable policy opinions on a variety of complex issues.

Major duties include:

  • Works collaboratively with the agency's executive-level leadership in developing and implementing agency-wide strategic goals and initiatives that support long-range program and organizational planning.


  • Hires and supervises all AHD employees; plans, assigns, and approves work. Assesses performance and provides feedback, coaching, and, as needed, discipline. Identifies training and other employee development opportunities.


  • Ensures matters brought under PUC jurisdiction receive legal and timely processing and meet the needs of the parties, stakeholders, and the Commissioners. Ensures a full and fair inquiry is made during the decision-making processes to provide an adequate factual basis for Commission decision making.


  • Advises Commissioners on procedural and legal issues, Commission policy, and agency practice and precedent. Attends Commission bi-weekly public meetings and assigns work to various agency personnel to ensure Commission decisions are properly memorialized and carried out.


  • Presides over complex and highly technical proceedings to ensure safe and efficient provision of utility services at just and reasonable rates. Oversees and manages all formal case activities to ensure full inquiry and fair resolution of all disputed issues. Coordinates the activities of agency professional and support staff, Commissioners, attorneys, regulated industry representatives, customer organizations, public interest advocates, and the public.


  • Leads and coordinates the activities of a variety of agency programs and activities, including: the Commission Filing Center, Agency Rulemaking, Intervenor Funding, Records Retentions, Public Records Requests, and Agency Appeals. The Chief ALJ is responsible to develop, maintain, and adapt systems and tools and ensure Commission compliance with these activities consistent with legal requirements, as well as the agency's objectives and business needs.


Minimum Qualifications

Graduation from an accredited law school with a LL.B. or J.D. degree and admission in good standing to the Bar of any state or federal jurisdiction.


Six years of management experience in a public or private organization which included responsibility for each of the following: (a) development of program rules and policies, (b) development of long- and short-range goals and plans, (c) program evaluation, and (d) budget preparation.

The Commission recognizes that work in the legal field often does not explicitly use management work titles to describe duties and experience that would qualify under these requirements. We will evaluate all prior work history and experience to determine whether a candidate has performed duties to meet the minimum qualifications, and encourage potential applicants with any questions about management experience to contact Stacy Wren, Human Resource Analyst, at (503) 373-1368 or


Successful candidates will possess all or most of the following skills:

  • Executive or managerial responsibility leading and directing an organization or program with significant public impact, including responsibility for determining program and operational priorities, personnel development, budgets, and resource management.


  • Experience providing high-level legal and policy direction, advice and consultation to key decision makers within an organization or government agency (i.e. executives, managers, Commissioners, board members).


  • Progressively responsible, extensive experience serving as an administrative law judge, Commissioner, attorney, advisor, or other comparable position in matters involving utility or other regulation, administrative law, or comparable legal issues that required legal analysis and the application of law to fact.


  • Knowledge of legal and policy issues related to the economic regulation of utilities, with experience addressing utility rates and service, industry restructuring, competitive market issues, network engineering, accounting, and financial practices.


  • Excellent writing skills and ability to provide advice and interpretation of laws, rules, and policies to assist in resolving disputes, and to write clearly and effectively with good organization, grammar, and use of legal authority.


  • Ability to work effectively as part of a team with Commissioners, advisors, and stakeholder representatives. Demonstrated ability to work independently and manage a busy and ever-changing list of assignments while keeping managers and clients informed of the status of projects.


  • Judicial temperament, including the ability to be objective, balance competing interests, conduct formal administrative hearings, and develop and implement policies consistent with applicable law and record evidence.


To learn more about this opportunity or to apply for this position, please visit the PUC website: and click on “Jobs at PUC.”


The Oregon Public Utility Commission is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer Committed to Workforce Diversity.