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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fasano scolds utility regulators for not firing staff



Sen. Mike Fasano chided the Public Service Commission Monday for failing to fire staff lobbyist Ryder Rudd after he admitted socializing with Florida and Power & Light officials at a party in May.

Fasano said Rudd "should go" and that he first violated the public trust when he actively lobbied on behalf of Commissioner Lisa Edgar who was seeking Senate confirmation for her reappointment to the commission. "That is not what he is paid to do,'' Fasano said.

Rudd was one of about a dozen PSC staffers who receive rare pay increases this year and, the 10 percent pay hike, was the highest given to any PSC employee. Fasano believes the pay hike was pushed by Edgar and other commissioners. "The 10 percent pay raise is a quid pro quo,'' for his help in her confirmation, Fasano said. 

Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican, was the lone vote in opposition against Edgar on the panel that approved her confirmation. He said that Rudd's was wrong to "be wining and dining with the people he regulates." The commission has asked its inspector general to investigate whether Rudd violated commission rules on accepting gifts or partying with officials from regulated utilities. 

"I can't believe the commission even hestitated,'' Fasano said. "He should have been removed right away."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:59pm]


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