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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Carter and McMurrian make the cut, will Crist acquiesce?



Two of the commissioners sitting on the panel that will decide whether or not to award Florida Power & Light its $1.3 billion rate increase have a greater chance of keeping their jobs for another four-year term today.

The Public Service Commission Nominating Council late Thursday sent to the governor the names of six candidates for him to choose from for the two openings on the PSC. The list includes the two sitting commissioners who had hope to be reappointed to the $130,000-a-year job: Commission Chairman Matthew Carter and Commissioner Katrina McMurrian.

The council met Tuesday at the Orlando airport and interviewed the 13 candidates they had deemed most qualified for the PSC, which regulates the state's utilities. State law requires them to screen the candidates and hand three names for each opening to the governor. The governor has 30 days to make the appointment or ignore the list and make the council start over again.

Sen. Mike Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican, told the Herald/Times that he wants the governor to hold off on the appointments until the commission decides whether or not to grant the FPL and Progress Energy rate increases. Fasano opposes the rate hikes and, while Crist has said he opposes them too, the governor has been reluctant to be too outspoken about it.

"I would ask the governor to hold off on any decision until these dockets are competed,'' Fasano said. "The public is outraged. Let's find out how these commissioners are going to deal with these dockets and how they deal with the questions that have been brought up by their cozying up to the utility companies.''

Making the cut were:

* Carter, a lawyer and former staff director in the Florida House of Representatives was first appointed to the PSC by former Gov. Jeb Bush.

* McMurrian, who has been on the PSC staff since 2000, served as a staff advisor to three previous PSC commissioners. She was also appointed by Bush.

* John Grayson, a Tallahassee accountant who was the PSC's inspector general for six years between 1996-2000 and was inspector general at the Department of Education 1994-95. He also made the final cut for commissioner in 2000.

* David Klement, director of the University of South Florida Institute for Public Policy & Leadership and former editorial page editor for the Bradenton Herald.

* Benjamin Stevens, a Pensacola accountant and the chief financial officer of the Escambia County sheriff's department, He is also a former county commissioner.

* Felicia Banks West, was an staff attorney with the PSC from 2001-2006 and is now working as a utilities consultant in Washington, D.C.

Rejected were Emilio Bruna, an economist, engineer and former owner of a solid waste management company who is now director of the Lake County solid waste programs; Bill Dawson, an administrator at the Orlando Utilities Commission; Charles Grambaro, a Palm Coast battlion officer in the U.S. Army Reserves and a former member of the Flagler County School Board; Billie Greenlief, a retired general manager of BellSouth's Northeast Division in Jacksonville; Kenneth Hatcher, an engineer and project manager for Baskerville-Donovan who has done consulting work for the PSC's office of public counsel on water projects. Fred Rapach, a manager with the South Florida Water Management District; and Joseph Wiggins, a lawyer and engineer who now works in the Clay County state attorney's office.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:16pm]


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