Friday, June 18, 2010

55 apply for seats on Florida Public Service Commission

Fifty-five applications were submitted by the Thursday deadline for the Public Service Commission seats now held by Chairman Nancy Argenziano and Commissioner Nathan A. Skop. Argenziano had submitted her application on Wednesday and Skop was among those submitting on Thursday.

The nomination process and eventual confirmation likely will be controversial. Argenziano has suggested there are efforts underway by utilities to oust commissioners who voted against rate hike requests by Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy. The Senate in April refused to confirm David E. Klement and Ben A. "Steve" Stevens III in a move widely seen as political payback against Gov. Charlie Crist and against the PSC for voting down the rate hike requests in January.

Crist has until July 15 to choose from a list of eight applicants submitted by the Public Service Nominating Council for the Klement and Stevens seats. Four of those eight who were recommended also applied for the Skop and Argenziano seats: Former PSC Executive Director Mary Bane, Jacksonville City Councilman Art Graham, former Missouri PSC member Connie Murray and legislative analyst Kevin Wiehle. The PSC Nominating Council is scheduled to meet June 30 and August 19-20 to review the new applications and conduct interviews.

Skop's application included letters of recommendation from U.S. Rep Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, former Democratic House Speaker Jon Mills, and 13 legislators including Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Cross Creek, Rep. Paige Kreegel, R-Punta Gorda and Rep. Franklin Sands, D-Plantation, and Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek. Argenziano's application did not include letters of recommendation.

(Story provided by The Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission, which can be obtained by contacting

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