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Staff Attorney

February 08, 2013 - April 05, 2013
Location:Amarillo, TX
Salary Range:DOE
Employment Type:Full Time
Description:This position is responsible for assisting in the development of and managing a corporate compliance program at Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, Inc. (GSEC) with direct management of the GSEC North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Internal Compliance Program (ICP). Other areas of compliance that fall under the purview of the position include environmental compliance, power market compliance, contract and record management, and internal policy management. The position will also be responsible for issues relating to safety, natural gas pipeline compliance, and other regulatory issues from time to time. The position will proactively monitor the energy industry, federal energy legislation, federal energy regulatory agencies, state legislation and regulatory agencies, including Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), Texas Reliability Entity (TRE), Southwest Power Pool Regional Entity (SPPRE), Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Southwest Power Pool (SPP), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for all activities and developments related to compliance and for performing, or causing to perform, analysis to support management efforts to review and evaluate GSEC’s position in the various regulatory environments.

Although this position’s primary focus will begin in the NERC Internal Compliance program, in an effort to become fully integrated in the legal department and to gain a comprehensive understanding of the legal function within GSEC, it is anticipated that this position will provide services to others on the legal team and over time may rotate through the various functions within the legal team.
Duties:NERC Internal Compliance Program (50%)
• Provides primary leadership and management of the ICP by leveraging the expertise of the organization’s subject matter experts (SMEs) through a cross-functional structure to achieve stated objectives and effective implementation including, but not limited to, the following activities:
• Supports and enhances the climate of awareness (“Culture of Compliance & Reliability Excellence”) associated with the NERC standards;
• Chairs the NERC Compliance Committee and convenes meetings when necessary or as required by the program;
• Provides primary expertise, knowledge, interpretation of standards;
• Ensures on-going compliance with existing and future standards;
• Actively utilizes self-assessments and reporting to minimize penalties and sanctions;
• Assures that objective evidence is compliant, complete, and accessible;
• Develops and coordinates NERC-related awareness and training program;
• Oversees the compliance database;
• Manages periodic review of NERC-related policy and procedure documents by SMEs;
• Actively provides corporate communications aimed at maintaining the climate of awareness and informing the status of compliance with requirements/standards;
• Develops and manages a compliance budget and prudently seeks resources when necessary;
• Utilizes direct access to President & General Manager when prudent and necessary to do so;
• Performs initial investigations and proactively reports compliance issues/concerns to appropriate leadership;
• Monitors standards development and revisions, and proactively communicates proposed changes to SMEs and facilitates corporate responses to proposed standards and revisions;
• Participates on TRE and SPPRE working groups and NERC standards development teams, as directed;
• Acts as GSEC’s primary contact and audit interface for TRE, SPPRE, NERC, and FERC (on NERC matters); and
• Performs other duties as assigned in the GSEC NERC ICP.

Environmental Compliance (10%)
• Monitors EPA, TCEQ and PUCT rule changes and PUCT proceedings at a high level;
• Serves as a resource to other GSEC departments regarding compliance with the EPA, TCEQ, PUCT Rules and related rules and guides; and
• Responds to requests for information from EPA, TCEQ and PUCT staff regarding environmental compliance issues.

Power Market Compliance (10%)
• Monitors SPP, ERCOT and PUCT rule changes and PUCT proceedings at a high level;
• Serves as a resource to other GSEC departments regarding compliance with the SPP Criteria, ERCOT Protocols and Operating Guides, PUCT Rules and related rules and guides; and
• Responds to requests for information from SPP, ERCOT, SPPRE, TRE and PUCT staff regarding power market compliance issues.

Contract Management (5%)
• Oversees GSEC’s contract management, records and tariff management systems;
• Reviews and approves GSEC standard contract forms and procedures for contract approval, execution and compliance; and
• Reviews contracts as needed prior to execution.

Internal Policy & Records Management (10%)
• Oversees the organization of GSEC’s internal policies and procedures and supports change management for these policies and procedures; and
• Oversees GSEC’s legal records management processes.

General Legal Support (10%)
• Assists in the management of litigation as assigned including examination and assessment of legal data to determine advisability of prosecuting or defending a lawsuit. Lead or direct, coach and provide work direction to direct-assigned employees to maximize productivity and teamwork;
• Works closely with and optimizes efficient utilization of outside counsel in various areas of expertise.
• Provides research and drafting support to others in the legal department.
• Prepares and reviews various legal instruments and documents, such as contracts, leases, licenses, purchases, sales, and real estate documents.
• Represents GSEC during business contract negotiations as assigned.

Safety Policies and Procedures (5%)
• Ensures compliance with corporate headquarters’ safety policies and procedures, reports and investigate accidents, maintain safety awareness, and promote all aspects of GSEC’s corporate headquarters’ safety program.
Qualifications:• J.D. or LL.B from an accredited law school and at least five to ten years of active legal practice in private practice, an in house position or with a regulatory agency.
• Admission to Texas State Bar, or willingness and ability to join Texas State Bar.
• Experience in regulated markets.
• Knowledge of regulations, policies, standards, and procedures of entities and agencies regulating the electric industry (NERC, FERC, PUCT, EPA, TCEQ, ERCOT, TRE, SPP or SPPRE), with knowledge of NERC preferred.
• Excellent communication skills.
• Excellent organizational and analytical skills.
• Ability to self-motivate, working independently and as part of a team.
• Ability to reduce complex issues into clear and concise language, including analysis of complex policy and regulatory issues.
• Ability to estimate budgetary requirements and effectively manage expenditures within budgetary constraints.
• Skill in innovative decision making and problem solving.
• Skill in leadership, including the ability to motivate, train and give performance feedback.
• Proficient with e-mail, word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software (MS Office Suite) and internet based programs, including document exchange programs (Adobe), and legal research databases (Westlaw or Lexis).
• Demonstrated ability to perform legal research, prepare complex documents, and maintain confidentiality.
• Skills in teamwork, flexibility, member relations, analysis, and communication.
• Skills in technical writing to develop policies, procedures, and reports.

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