Panel names 4 finalists for Ohio utility regulator

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The four finalists recommended for a soon-to-be-vacated seat on the Ohio commission that regulates public utilities include a former state budget director and a utility-rate administrator for the commission.

A nominating panel considered 27 applicants for the seat on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and submitted the finalists Thursday to Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik). He can make his choice from that list or ask for a new one.

The commission will have an open seat because Chairman Todd Snitchler (SNIHCH'-lur) decided not to seek reappointment when his term expires April 10.

The finalists include two from Columbus: utility-rate administrator Patrick Donlon and Tom Johnson, who was budget director under Gov. Bob Taft. Toledo city Councilman Tom Waniewski and Cleveland lawyer Stacey Polk also made the short list.