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Janell Cole, Published January 03 2009

Kalk settling in to office

BISMARCK – Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk, who is busy moving in to his office in the Capitol and an apartment in Bismarck, said Friday he’s feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information he’ll be dealing with in the job.

Friday was Kalk’s first day in office after being elected in November to a six-year term. He is the only new statewide officeholder. All other incumbents were returned to office.

“We didn’t focus much on this (moving) until after the election,” said the retired Marine Corps officer and North Dakota State University professor.

Kalk’s daughter, Jordan, who will begin classes at Bismarck High School next week, helped him unpack books, mementos and other items Friday morning in the Capitol’s 12th-floor office that has been occupied for several years by Commissioner Tony Clark.

Clark has moved into the commission’s southwest corner office that was held by Commissioner Susan Wefald until her retirement from the PSC on Wednesday. Wefald declined to seek another term.

Kalk said he hopes to be able to sit down with Wefald in the coming weeks to learn more about the job.

Kalk said one of the first things that will happen next week is the divvying up of portfolios among commissioners. The commission’s broad jurisdiction covers a range of issues, from coal mining and electricity rates to licensing auctioneers and grain elevators.

Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum. She can be reached at (701) 224-0830 or forumcap@btinet.net