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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Kiser and Twomey up for PSC's top lawyer job



Public Service Commission Executive Director Mary Bane said Friday that applications for the agency's general counsel position are now closed. For the third time.

Making it to the list of applicants to be selected by the PSC's five commissioners are former state Sen. Curt Kiser, now a Tallahassee attorney and lobbyist, and former PSC attorney and utility lawyer Mike Twomey. The agency has extended the deadline so many times, Kiser said he was frustrated.

"This process has been strung out so long, it appears that the deadline for the job is not really a deadline at all,'' he said.

The vacancy was created in September when Booter Imhof left after less than a year at the agency and returned back to the Legislature, where he had been a long-time staff director in charge of utility issues. His departure came at the height of the agency's turmoil over improper communications between agency staff and commissioners and the utilities they regulate.

Outsiders and those close to some commissioners started suggesting the PSC should hire a temporary general counsel who would "clean the place up" and revive the public trust. Among the names suggested: former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, former FSU Law School Dean Sandy D'Alemberte, and Kiser. 

D'Alemberte wasn't interested. Butterworth told the Herald/Times he wasn't interested but wondered how "FPL could screw up so badly." And Kiser said he'd apply. After Kiser applied, the commission decided the job should be permanent after all, so they advertised the post and required candidates to apply to the state's People First personnel application system. 

Since then, Butterworth has been hired to recommend to FPL how it can improve its image.

Meanwhile, former PSC Commissioner Diane Kiesling, who was asked to apply by Commissioner Nathan Skop. But the People First deadline had passed, so the PSC told candidates they were extending the deadline and no longer using the system to submit applications.

On Friday, Kiesling said she considered applying but told the commission today that she "is happy where I am." Kiesling, an attorney at the Department of Health, said her decision "has nothing to do with the PSC" but she made the decision for personal reasons.

Skop also suggested that two attorneys for the Office of Public Counsel, Charlie Beck and Charles Rehwinkel, be sought to fill the post that was vacated in September by Booter Imhof. They also declined the offer.

Also on the list are Bonnie Davis, a Tallahassee attorney that specializes in utility representation; Annemarie Kraft, a Tallahassee workers compensation attorney; Jose Lorenzo, an attorney with the Department of Education; Colin Roopnarine, hearing officer at the Public Employee Relations Committee; Thomas Barnhart, an assistant attorney general; Ephraim Livingston, an attorney at the Department of Health; Lynn Rhodes, a former assistant public defender in Bradenton; Julie Forrester, attorney at the Department of Health.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:05pm]


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