Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Public Service Commissioner Katrina McMurrian resigns after Gov. Crist doesn't reappoint her

TALLAHASSEE — Public Service Commissioner Katrina McMurrian resigned from the embattled state utility regulation board Monday, three months before her term expires, after Gov. Charlie Crist failed to reappoint her last week.

In her resignation letter to Crist, McMurrian cited the governor's request that the PSC postpone decisions on increasing base rates for Progress Energy and Florida Power & Light until his two new commissioners begin their jobs in January.

"I respect this request and want to ensure that the new commission is positioned to set the course for the agency, one guided by different leadership," McMurrian wrote.

On Thursday, Crist bypassed both McMurrian and commission Chairman Matthew Carter for reappointment when he named David Klement and Benjamin "Steve" Stevens to the five-member PSC, saying, "It was time to clean house."

He said he hoped the remaining commissioners would be more consumer-friendly. Crist previously had appointed Commissioners Nancy Argenziano and Nathan Skop to the panel; in January, he reappointed Lisa Edgar, originally named to the panel by Gov. Jeb Bush.

Crist doesn't have the authority to name a temporary replacement for McMurrian's seat without first receiving nominations from the PSC nominating council. On Monday, Crist asked the council to give him three names immediately. If the council supplies him with the names of Klement and Stevens, he could appoint one of them to finish McMurrian's term before starting his own four-year term.

Carter said Monday through a spokeswoman and that he has "no intention of resigning," opening the possibility of a tie vote on PSC issues until Crist fills McMurrian's spot.

Also on Monday, Sen. Mike Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican and outspoken critic of the PSC, called for another commissioner — Edgar — to resign. Fasano was the lone vote against Edgar during her Senate confirmation hearings in the spring.

"As a sitting commissioner who has been privy to the ongoing day-to-day operations of the PSC, you know better than anyone that the PSC lacks leadership in this time of turmoil and crisis," he wrote in a letter to Edgar.

McMurrian's resignation comes after her refusal last month to remove herself from FPL's $1.3 billion rate case after consumer advocate Steve Stewart accused her of improperly serving on a panel with one of the company's top executives and attending a dinner with him. She apologized, saying her actions created a "cloud" over the commission, but insisted she could remain impartial.

The governor's request to postpone the decisions on rate increases — both Progress and FPL are asking for about 30 percent increases in their base rates — is still being reviewed by the PSC legal staff, said Carter's spokeswoman, Cindy Muir.

For the past two months, the panel has been shrouded by allegations that commissioners and staff members have become too close to the utilities they regulate. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.

McMurrian is prohibited by law from working for the utility industry for two years after leaving the regulatory panel. In the past, however, several former commissioners have avoided the ban by joining law firms that work for the utility industry.

Mary Ellen Klas can be reached at meklas@MiamiHerald.com.

Public Service Commissioner Katrina McMurrian resigns after Gov. Crist doesn't reappoint her 10/05/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 5, 2009 9:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida Specialty Insurance acquires Pinellas Park's Mount Beacon Insurance

    Banking

    Tens of thousands of homeowners who were pushed out of Citizens Property Insurance for a private carrier since 2014 are finding themselves changing insurance companies yet again.

  2. Pope Francis presents Trump with a 'politically loaded gift': His encyclical on climate change

    Global Warming

    VATICAN CITY — On Wednesday, Pope Francis appeared to make his point with a gift.

    Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Wednesday.  [Evan Vucci/Pool via The New York Times]
  3. Tampa police say 41-year-old man shot and killed by ex-boss, investigation ongoing

    Crime

    TAMPA — A 41-year-old man was shot and killed by his former boss Wednesday morning outside the West Tampa auto body shop where they once worked together, according to Tampa police.

  4. Father and brother of alleged bomber detained in Libya

    World

    The father and younger brother of the man who British police say bombed an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester have been detained in Libya, where anti-terror authorities said the brother confessed to knowing "all the details" of the attack plot.

    Hashim Ramadan Abedi appears inside the Tripoli-based Special Deterrent anti-terrorism force unit after his arrest on Tuesday for alleged links to the Islamic State extremist group. Abedi is the brother of Salman Abedi, who has been identified as the man behind the bombing that killed 22 people and wounded scores at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester. [Ahmed Bin Salman, Special Deterrent Force via AP]
  5. Marijuana extract Epidiolex helps some kids with epilepsy, study shows

    Health

    A medicine made from marijuana, without the stuff that gives a high, cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy in a study that strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits.

    An employee checks a plant at LeafLine Labs, a medical marijuana production facility in Cottage Grove, Minn. [Associated Press (2015)]