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CURB’s problems are of own making, not a conspiracy

CURB chairwoman Ellen Janoski, left, and former consumer counsel Niki Christopher at a Jan. 6 board meeting.
CURB chairwoman Ellen Janoski, left, and former consumer counsel Niki Christopher at a Jan. 6 board meeting. Dion Lefler/The Wichita Eagle

A conspiracy theory pitched by the chairwoman of the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board doesn’t appear to have any merit – not surprisingly. Ellen Janoski alleged that CURB’s former consumer counsel, Niki Christopher, who was fired last week, may have conspired with two House members on the introduction of a bill to restrict CURB from changing the agency’s mission and to rescind the board’s decision to bar Christopher from speaking with legislators and the news media on utility issues. Janoski promised to “thoroughly investigate” collusion, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. But Christopher and Reps. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, and Annie Kuether, D-Topeka, say there was no collaboration. “I’ve never met Miss Christopher,” Ward said. “I’ve never talked to Miss Christopher.” – Phillip Brownlee

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