Code of the District of Columbia

§ 34–801. Members; eligibility; oath.

(a) The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia shall be composed of 3 commissioners appointed by the Mayor by and with the advice and consent of the Council, except that the members (other than the Mayor of the District of Columbia) serving as commissioners of such Commission on January 1, 1975, by virtue of their appointment by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall continue to serve until the expiration of the terms for which they were so appointed. One of the 3 commissioners shall be designated as Chairperson of the Commission by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, with the advice and consent of the Council. Such designation shall continue for the length of the appointee’s unexpired term or until otherwise terminated by the Mayor. The members first appointed by the Mayor, by and with the advice and consent of the Council, on or after January 2, 1975, shall serve until June 30, 1978. The Mayor may remove any commissioner for neglect of duty or misconduct in office. When the Mayor determines that any member has engaged in any neglect of duty or misconduct in office, he or she shall notify such member, in writing, of the charge against him or her and that such member has 10 days within which to request a hearing before the Council on such charge. If such member fails to request a hearing within 10 days after receiving such notice, then the Mayor may remove such member and appoint a new member. The hearing requested by a member may be either open or closed, as requested by such member. In the event such hearing is closed, the vote of the Council as a result of such hearing shall be taken at an open meeting of the Council. The Council shall begin such hearings within 60 calendar days after receiving notice from the Mayor indicating that a member has requested such a hearing. If two-thirds of the Council members vote to remove such member, then such member shall be removed. The Mayor may appoint a new member to serve until the expiration of the term of the member removed or for a new 4-year term. The Chairperson of the Commission shall serve as the chief administrative officer of the Commission. The terms of office for all successors shall be 4 years after being confirmed by the Council or the duration of the predecessor’s term at the discretion of the Mayor. No commissioner shall, during his term of office, hold any other public office. The Commissioners shall receive a salary equivalent to that received by an employee compensated at the midpoint of the E5 level pursuant to subchapter X-A of Chapter 6 of Title 1 [§ 1-610.51 et seq.]. The Chairperson shall receive a salary equivalent to 5% higher than the midpoint of the E5 level pursuant to subchapter X-A of Chapter 6 of Title 1 [§ 1-610.51 et seq.]. The Chairperson and Commissioners shall receive cost-of-living adjustments and other base salary increases equivalent to those received by an employee compensated pursuant to subchapter VIII of Chapter 6 of Title 1 [§ 1-608.01 et seq.]. The Mayor shall furnish the Public Service Commission with suitable offices and quarters. No person shall be eligible to the office of commissioner of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia who has not been a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia for a period of at least 3 years next preceding his appointment or who has voted or claimed residence elsewhere during such period. No person shall be eligible to the office of commissioner of the Public Service Commission who is, or who shall have been during a period of one year preceding his appointment, directly or indirectly interested in any public utility or other entity appearing before the Commission or in any stock, bond, mortgage, security, or contract of any public utility or entity, except for stocks that are part of a publicly listed mutual fund other than a utility-focused mutual fund. A person shall not be eligible for appointment as a commissioner if the person, at any time during the 5 years preceding appointment, personally served as an officer, director, owner, manager, partner, or legal representative of a public utility, affiliate, or direct competitor of a public utility. If any such commissioner shall voluntarily become so interested, his office shall ipso facto become vacant; and if any such commissioner shall become so interested otherwise than voluntarily he shall, within a reasonable time, divest himself of such interest, and if he fails to do so his office shall become vacant. Before entering upon the duties of his office each commissioner, the secretary of the Commission, the counsel of the Commission and every employee of said Commission shall take and subscribe the constitutional oath of office, and shall in addition thereto make oath or affirmation before and file with the clerk of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that he is not pecuniarily interested, voluntarily or involuntarily, directly or indirectly, in any public utility in the District of Columbia.

(b)(1)(A) Notwithstanding the provisions of Unit A of Chapter 14 of Title 2, the Commission shall use a ranking system based on a scale of 100 points for all employment decisions for positions within the Commission.

(B) An individual who is a District resident at the time of application shall be awarded a 10-point hiring preference over a nonresident applicant; provided, that the individual claims the preference. This 10-point preference shall be in addition to any points awarded on the 100-point scale.

(C) At the time of appointment, an individual who claimed the 10-point residency preference shall agree, in writing, to maintain District residency for a period of 7 consecutive years from the effective date of appointment into the position for which the individual claimed the residency preference.

(D) An individual who claimed the residency preference and who fails to maintain District residency for 7 consecutive years from the individual's effective date of appointment shall forfeit the individual's District government employment.

(E) Each applicant for a position covered by this subparagraph shall be informed in writing of the provisions of this subparagraph at the time of application.

(2) The Commission shall verify and enforce District residency requirements pursuant to § 1-515.04.

(3) By November 1 of each year and pursuant to § 1-515.06 the Commission shall submit to the Mayor an annual report detailing, for the previous fiscal year, compliance with residency requirements.


(Mar. 4, 1913, 37 Stat. 995, ch. 150, § 8, par. 97(a); Dec. 15, 1926, 44 Stat. 920, ch. 8, § 1; June 25, 1936, 49 Stat. 1921, ch. 804; June 25, 1948, 62 Stat. 991, ch. 646, § 32(b); May 24, 1949, 63 Stat. 107, ch. 139, § 127; Aug. 30, 1964, 78 Stat. 634, Pub. L. 88-503, § 21; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 572, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(c)(39)(A); Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 811, Pub. L. 93-198, title IV, § 493(b); Jan. 3, 1975, 88 Stat. 2178, Pub. L. 93-635, § 17; Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-139, § 3205(hhh), 25 DCR 5740; Oct. 24, 1981, D.C. Law 4-43, § 2, 28 DCR 4261; Apr. 12, 2005, D.C. Law 15-342, § 303(c), 52 DCR 2346; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-191, § 50, 53 DCR 6794; May 3, 2014, D.C. Law 20-101, § 2, 61 DCR 1880; May 23, 2019, D.C. Law 22-315, § 11, 66 DCR 1983.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-401.

1973 Ed., § 43-201.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-315.02, § 1-523.01, § 1-636.02, § 2-223.01, § 34-804, and § 34-2001.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-342 substituted “The Chairperson shall receive a salary equivalent to that received by an employee compensated at grade 17, step 10 pursuant to subchapter VIII of Chapter 6 of Title 1. The Commissioners shall receive a salary equivalent to that received by an employee compensated at grade 17, step 8 pursuant to subchapter VIII of Chapter 6 of Title 1.” for “Each of the commissioners shall receive a salary equivalent to that received by an employee compensated at the top level of grade 16 pursuant to subchapter XI of Chapter 6 of Title 1.”; and substituted “No person shall be eligible to the office of commissioner of the Public Service Commission who is, or who shall have been during a period of one year preceding his appointment, directly or indirectly interested in any public utility or other entity appearing before the Commission or in any stock, bond, mortgage, security, or contract of any public utility or entity, except for stocks that are part of a publicly listed mutual fund other than a utility-focused mutual fund. A person shall not be eligible for appointment as a commissioner if the person, at any time during the 5 years preceding appointment, personally served as an officer, director, owner, manager, partner, or legal representative of a public utility, affiliate, or direct competitor of a public utility.” for “No person shall be eligible to the office of commissioner of said Public Service Commission who is, or who shall have been during a period of 5 years next preceding his appointment, directly or indirectly interested in any public utility operating, owning, or having an interest in property in the District of Columbia; or in any stock, bond, mortgage, security, or contract of any such public utility.”

D.C. Law 16-191 validated a previously made technical correction.

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-101 rewrote the 11th, 13th, 15th, and 16th sentences.

Cross References

Agency heads, mayoral nomination, review and approval of Council, see § 1-523.01.

Applicability to actions pending on effective date, see § 34-406.

Contracts, whistleblower protection, “instrumentality” defined, see § 2-223.01.

General provisions, construction and severability of law, see § 34-403.

Government reorganization procedures, “agency” defined, see § 1-315.02.

Merit system, implementation task force, effective date provisions, see § 1-636.02.

Separability clause, see § 34-405.

Telecommunications competition, “Public Service Commission” defined, see § 43-1451.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 303(c), 401 of Omnibus Utility Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-12, January 28, 2005, 52 DCR 2945).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Public Service Commission Holdover Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-633, January 3, 2009, 56 DCR 659).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Public Service Commission Holdover Temporary Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Law 17-385, March 31, 2009, law notification 56 DCR 3451).

Editor's Notes

Section 401 of D.C. Law 15-342 provided: “Sec. 401. Applicability. Sections 303(c)(1) and 307 shall apply as of October 1, 2004.”

Section 4 of D.C. Law 20-101 provided that §§ 2(a), 2(b) and 3 of the act shall apply to nominations made on or after May 3, 2014.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.