A number of Board of Public Utilities commissioners have seamlessly moved into top positions at companies they used to regulate.

An analysis by northjersey.com shows that state rules that are supposed to address these concerns aren't as strong as they seem.

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Like other state employees, board staffers face lifetime restrictions on being involved in matters in which they had an intimate role while in state service.

High-level officials are banned for a year from representing, appearing or negotiating on behalf of any party, for any reason, before the agency in which they just served.

BPU employees are also bound by the agency’s own six-month restriction on appearing before the board on any matter, even those where they “took no active part.”

But in practice, the regulations are not as onerous as they might at first seem. Top BPU officials routinely move quickly and easily into the industries that once came before them.

Steve Hughes

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