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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Skop says PSC council didn't look for best qualified and needs reform

30

June

Public Service Commissioner Nathan Skop, who was rejected for a second four-year term today by the PSC nominating council because the council wanted to "start over" continued to point fingers at his colleague Commissioner Lisa Edgar whose aide delivered a text message to her from an FPL lobbyist while she was at the bench. The Ethics Commission has ruled that Edgar broke no rules.

"Today is a very sad day for the people of the State of Florida,'' Skop wrote in a statement, "a day that reflects the status quo and the desire to keep Commissioners who exhibit an open willingness to exchange PIN messages and engage in secret communication at bench with FPL, while removing honest public servants seeking to uphold the public trust and confidence in the Florida Public Service Commission."


Council member Mike Hightower, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield lobbyist, said at the start of the hour-long council meeting that he thought it was time to "clear the board." He said it was time for the PSC to ‘‘start over'' and create a commission whose members would work well together and with other agencies in the state, including the Legisla-
ture, to create a state energy policy.

Hightower made no reference to the rate case or the performance of the commissioners, but instead focused on internal infighting and lack of trust between council members, which he called ‘‘extraordinary."

Here's Skop's full statement:

Tallahassee, Florida - The PSC Nominating Council met today to designate the list of the “most qualified” applicants to be interviewed for term vacancies on the Florida Public Service Commission. Despite my multi-disciplined education (JD, MBA, BS Engineering) and extensive professional experience (Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy) I was not afforded the opportunity to interview to keep my job. This determination was allegedly made without any debate or discussion.

As many of the letters of recommendation in my application suggested, I am extremely well qualified to serve on the Florida Public Service Commission, and arguably have the best qualifications of any utility regulatory commissioner in the United States.  Accordingly, it is evident that the selection process had nothing to do with selecting the “most qualified” applicants to be interviewed in accordance with the statutory criteria.  If it did, it stands to reason that my name would be included on the interview list.  A comparison of my qualifications to those included on the list clearly demonstrates this point.

Today is a very sad day for the people of the State of Florida; a day that reflects the status quo and the desire to keep Commissioners who exhibit an open willingness to exchange PIN messages and engage in secret communication at bench with FPL, while removing honest public servants seeking to uphold the public trust and confidence in the Florida Public Service Commission.  This concern is overwhelmingly shared by the editorial boards of every major newspaper in the State of Florida which supported my reappointment.

As a quasi-judicial regulatory panel that makes billion dollar decisions on a frequent basis, the role of the Florida Public Service Commission is to decide cases on the merits in a fair and impartial manner.  Today’s outcome clearly illustrates the substantial role that money, influence, special interest, and politics play in the nominating process and why the process is in need of substantial reform.

While apparently afforded no consideration by the PSC Nominating Council, I greatly appreciate the letters of recommendation that Congressman Stearns and members of the Florida Legislature wrote on my behalf, and commend these elected officials for recognizing the importance of having fair, impartial, and ethical representation on the Florida Public Service Commission on behalf of their constituents.


Sincerely,

Nathan A. Skop, Esq.
Commissioner
Florida Public Service Commission

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:45am]

    

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