Two men from Trumbull County who served the Valley in the Ohio Legislature are among 31 people vying for the vacant commissioner’s post on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Former state representative Michael Verich and outgoing state senator Sean O’Brien, both Democrats, have applied for the job formerly held by Sam Randazzo who resigned last month following an FBI search of his home.

Randazzo’s resignation also came after the Associated Press reported that fired former FirstEnergy executives improperly paid a firm tied to a future Ohio utility regulator about $4 million to terminate “a purported consulting agreement” that had been in place since 2013, one of the nation's largest electric utilities told federal regulators on Thursday.

Randazzo was not mentioned by name in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission report. However, AP reported that Randazzo fits the description of someone who “subsequently was appointed to a full-time role as an Ohio government official directly involved in regulating” FirstEnergy.

Sen. Obrien, who has also served as a state representative from Trumbull County, lost his reelection bid in November to Republican Sandra O’Brien.

Verich served nine terms through 1998 as a state representative from Trumbull County.

Verich and Sean O’Brien, both attorneys, state in their applications to the PUCO Nominating Council that they are members of the Democratic Party. Both applicants say they are accustomed to working across party lines. The new commissioner will be appointed by Republican Governor Mike DeWine.

One of the most recognizable names among PUCO commissioner candidates is Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French.  The Republican just lost reelection this fall.

The 12-member PUCO Nominating Council will review the resumes, then after December 21 will submit the names four finalists to Gov. Mike DeWine. The governor will have 30 days to either appoint a commissioner from the list or request a new list from the Nominating Council.

The commissioner’s salary will be determined by the Governor but ranges from of $73,715 to $195,728. 

Applications from Verich and O’Brien may be seen below.