KCC Names New Executive Director

Kim Christiansen

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Corporation Commission has a new leader.

The agency announced Wednesday that Kim Christiansen will become the KCC's new executive director. Christiansen succeeds Patti Peterson-Klein, who left the agency in mid-June amid complaints, including alleged violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Christiansen comes to the KCC from the Kansas Department of Agriculture, where she was assistant secretary and chief counsel. The KCC says she will continue to fill both roles until an appropriate time for transition to full-time.

Christiansen also worked for the Kansas Water Office and Fort Hays State University.

Christiansen will work with the three KCC commissioners to oversee agency operations and its 206 employees.

Complete news release from KCC:
Today, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) named Kim Christiansen to the post of Executive Director.

"Kim brings more than two decades of experience and a wealth of knowledge from the private and public sectors to the Commission," stated Chairman Mark Sievers. "She has extensive management and legal expertise that will assist the Commission in analyzing complex issues, and will provide leadership for the professionals that make up the KCC. We welcome Kim and look forward to her positive contribution in advancing the agency and its mission."

Christiansen will work with KCC's three-member commission to oversee the agency's operations, including the headquarters in Topeka, Conservation Division in Wichita, and four Conservation district offices across the state. The KCC employs 206 professionals.

Christiansen leaves her position of Assistant Secretary and Chief Counsel for the Kansas Department of Agriculture to join the KCC. In her capacity at the Kansas Department of Agriculture, she provides leadership and advice in areas including personnel issues, legal mandates, governance and administration issues, conflicts, legislation, contracts, and budget. The Kansas Department of Agriculture employs about 300 professionals.

Prior to the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Christiansen served as General Counsel for the Kansas Water Office. In that role, she administered the Kansas Natural Resources Dispute Resolution program, served as mediator and arbitrator, and served as the Federal Congressional Liaison for the Kansas Natural Resources Subcabinet.

Christiansen has served as the Director of Human Resources for the Dodge City Public Schools; General Counsel and Executive Assistant to the President of Fort Hays State University; Instructor at the College of Business and Leadership at Fort Hays University where she taught courses in employment law; and, an attorney in private practice.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Fort Hays State University, a Master of Arts in Education from Wichita State University, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas.

Christiansen will begin to transition effective immediately and will continue to serve in the Kansas Department of Agriculture. She is expected to assume her new role full-time as soon as practical.

The KCC regulates five cornerstone industries in the Kansas economy and has the responsibility of ensuring that natural gas, electricity, telephone, and transportation vendors provide safe, adequate, and reliable service at reasonable rates. The KCC also has the mandate of assuring oil and gas producers protect correlative rights and environmental resources.