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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fasano urges Crist to reject former head of PSC



The legislature's loudest critic of the Public Service Commission on Tuesday urged Gov. Charlie Crist to reject the application of the agency's former executive director, Mary Bane. "Probably more than anyone who may be seeking this position she stands out as the one person who would not be able to carry out your mission of cleaning up the image and integrity of the Commission,'' Fasano wrote. Download Fasano letter about Bane

Fasano said that during her tenure, the commission was engaged in "well publicized ethical lapses at both the staff and commissioner level,'' and that "the various incidents of poor judgment and ethical misdeeds that occurred under her watch'' prompted him to file legislation last session to tighten the ethics rules.

He said that, "rather than being your agent of change she would merely bring more of the 'same old, same old.' ''

By contrast, Fasano has endorsed Curt Kiser, a former state senator who became general counsel of the PSC in November. Kiser was instrumental in setting up the original PSC nominating counsel and said in his interview with the nominating council that he wants the commission to work more closely with the legislature. In his interview with the nominating council, which is dominated by six legislators, Kiser did not mention that the legislature has been reluctant to pass legislation that encourages renewable energy and that the Senate supported the agenda of FPL and others and rejected the confirmation of Crist's PSC appointees.

"We need more interaction and team work with the Legislature,'' Kiser told the group. "For God’s sake, the commission is part of the legislative branch. We shouldn't have the name calling that’s been going on that’s totally out of balance. I think we need a working relationship with the legislature and, having my legislative background, I think I could help that.''

He also wants all internal investigations within the PSC to proceed only with the support of all commissioners --a requirement that would have prevented the agency's inspector general from pursuing many of the investigations into questionable activities at the PSC in the past year. UPDATE: Kiser clarified that he believes internal investigations should be conducted only if a majority of commissioners support.

Crist has until July 15 to appoint two commissioners to replace his ousted appointees, David Klement and Benjamin "Steve" Stevens. His staff told the Herald/Times that he plans to review the applications of the eight names given to him by the nominating council and conduct personal interviews.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:43am]


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