Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two named to PSC board bring diverse experiences

TALLAHASSEE — The two new commissioners named to the state's utility regulation board persuaded the governor and nominating council that they were prepared for the job, one by pitching himself as an independent voice, the other as a budget-trimmer.

David Klement, 69, the former chairman of the Bradenton Herald editorial board, said he emphasized his lack of connections with the PSC and utilities in his interview with Crist this week.

"I said, frankly, I come without any baggage. … I told him I think he needs at least one generalist who understands policy," Klement said.

He said he hopes to focus on policy that encourages renewable energy and more access to broadband, particularly in rural areas.

"I don't intend to go in with a huge agenda and say I hope to change things overnight," he said. "That would be futile."

Klement said he didn't remind Crist that the Bradenton Herald endorsed him only two of three times when he was running for office.

"We didn't support him when he was 'Chain Gang Charlie,' but we did when he was running for attorney general and governor because he had proven himself — after having maybe a slow start," he said.

Stevens, 44, a former finance director of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, told the nominating commission during his Sept. 1 interview that, "I understand the challenges in state government, in trying to handle a budget deficit and making things fit."

He said his experience as a budget manager and a department head will help him work with PSC staffers to understand the issues facing utilities. "I always do my homework and make sure I have the background to make the decision," he said.

Stevens lists no current employer on his resume and is half owner in a bar and package lounge in Cantonment, near Pensacola. The four-year appointment to the PSC pays $130,000 a year.

Crist told the Times/Herald that he has no problem with Stevens owning a bar.

"What's wrong with owning a small business?" he said, adding that his grandfather owned a bar when he first came to the United States. "He certainly will be aware of the cost of his utility bill."

In the next few years, the panel will make decisions that will affect every Florida resident, deciding how many new power plants to build and replacing outdated telecommunications systems and aging water and sewer pipes. It will direct how utilities use renewable energy, will set policy for the construction of nuclear plants and decide how utilities handle hurricanes and storm recovery.

Crist said that given these challenges, he is "hopeful and encouraged they will carry out their duties with consideration of the consumers and the economy we're in."

Mary Ellen Klas can be reached at

Two named to PSC board bring diverse experiences 10/01/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 2, 2009 12:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jack Latvala can win


    From today's column:

  2. Forecast: Isolated showers to start along the coast before pushing inland


    Tampa Bay residents can expect isolated showers mainly along the coast this morning before they push inland this afternoon.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast [WTSP]
  3. Rick Scott for President?


    Reubin Askew tried. So did Bob Graham. And Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. When you've shown an ability to win statewide elections in America's biggest swing state, you're almost automatically a credible contender for president.

    Rick Scott
  4. The next step in a sex abuse survivor's recovery: Erasing her tattoo


    TAMPA — Even after 20 years, Sufiyah can't escape the memories of being sexually exploited by gang members as a teenager.

    The tattoo makes it impossible.

    Sufiyah, an aAbuse survivor, prepares to have a tattoo removed  at Tampa Tattoo Vanish  on Thursday. During her teen years, she was sexually exploited by a gang. The tattoo is a mark of her exploiters. 

Tampa Tattoo Vanish is a new tattoo removal business run by Brian Morrison, where survivors of human trafficking get free tattoo removal.  [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  5. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs


    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)