Board members of the Orange County Power Authority could be picking a new CEO on Wednesday after years of complaints from activists that their current leadership lacks the expertise to guide the agency. 

While Brian Probolsky has been the agency’s CEO since its inception at the tail end of 2020, he has faced repeated questions about his expertise, with many environmental activists questioning if he could run one of the largest clean power programs in the state without a college degree or experience in the sector. 

He headed up the agency as it’s faced four scathing audits, which pushed the County of Orange to withdraw from the power authority last year.

The agency includes the cities of Irvine, Fullerton, Huntington Beach and Buena Park, and was created with the goal of providing residents with more renewable power than Southern California Edison. 

Questions around Probolsky continued to grow after the agency’s first year saw the abrupt resignation of the chief operating officer, a price hike and a $1.9 million fine from state regulators, which agency leaders later said was an intentional choice to avoid paying for power that was more expensive than the fine. 

[Read: OC Clean Power Agency’s First Year Sees an Executive Resignation, Transparency Concerns]

In 2022, the agency formally launched with one of the highest opt out rates in the state, failed three audits that found the agency had failed to be open with customers, a failure that ultimately led the county board of supervisors to pull out of the agency in December.   

[Read: Cloudy Contracts, Audits and Lost County Support: A Rough Year For OC’s Green Power Agency]

The agency’s prices for its cheapest power options also dropped below Edison for the first time, but most of its customers were automatically opted in at the more expensive, cleaner power options. 

The final straw for many activists was a fourth audit, this time from the California state auditor’s office, which found Probolsky had not disclosed multiple contracts to the board that he’d approved himself. 

[Read: State Auditor Lambasts OC’s Green Energy Agency Over Transparency and Contracting]

Activists also called for Probolsky’s resignation in a letter signed by representatives from 24 different environmental and political groups that came out after the third audit. 

“We are writing to you today regarding the urgent need to replace Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) CEO Brian Probolsky and General Counsel BBK as soon as possible,” activists wrote. “Time and again over the last two years, Probolsky, BBK and the OCPA Board failed to deliver a trusted CCE program.” 

The agency’s legal counsel from Best Best & Krieger, Ryan Baron, resigned earlier this year, but the agency has continued to work with the firm itself. 

[Read: OC Green Power Agency’s Top Lawyer Resigns Before Possibly Being Fired]

The only audit the agency passed was one from the city of Irvine, which city staff repeatedly said they lacked necessary information to complete. 

The report was also completed by EES Consulting, the same consultant who created the initial report encouraging the city of Irvine to launch the authority. 

This isn’t the first time Probolsky’s job had been on the chopping block, but it will be the first time the new board of directors voted on whether or not he’d stay employed since they started in January. 

[Read: Can New Board Members Save OC’s Embattled Green Power Agency?]

The prior board discussed firing him behind closed doors multiple times, but backed off after he filed a whistleblower complaint against them, alleging they were trying to remove him to complete their own corrupt scheme. 

[Read: Chaos Grips OC’s Green Power Agency, CEO Under Fire, Files Whistleblower Complaint

His claims were investigated by an outside contractor, but the agency never publicly released the results of that investigation. 

Probolsky also helped create the agency’s new redemption plan, aimed at responding to the complaints in the audits about a lack of transparency and proper oversight. 

[Read: OC’s Controversial Green Energy Agency Tries Winning Back Public Trust]

The agency is still in the midst of implementing many of those recommendations, but board chair Fred Jung is asking for the public to judge them on their performance going forward. 

“Utilize this as the measuring stick to which you are going to hold us accountable,” Jung said at the board’s March meeting. 

Probolsky’s departure could also guarantee that Irvine will remain a member of the agency, as city Councilwoman Kathleen Treseder repeatedly pledged that if Probolsky was not gone by June she would vote to pull the city out of the agency. 

[Read: Irvine Councilwoman Threatens To Pull City Out of Green Power Agency if CEO Isn’t Replaced]

Huntington Beach and Fullerton are both still examining what it would take to get out of the agency.

Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at or on Twitter @NBiesiada.

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