The list of eight candidates for two vacant seats on the Florida Public Service Commission is a roundup of the usual suspects. It includes two state legislators, the PSC's general counsel who is a former legislator, the PSC's former executive director, a Senate staffer and a Jacksonville City Council member. So much for casting a wide net.
This illustrates why everything about the PSC is too incestuous. The PSC should not be a creature of the Legislature. The Senate abused the confirmation process by rejecting the appointments of two new commissioners who voted against enormous rate increases sought by Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy. The PSC nominating council that recommended candidates for the open seats is chaired by — ta da! — state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Sarasota. No wonder Floridians have no confidence in the way this state regulates utilities.
To their credit, members of the nominating council discussed the poisonous atmosphere at the PSC, from commissioners scheming against each other to staffers and commissioners who were too cozy with utilities. So why in the world would they include among the finalists Mary Bane, the former PSC executive director?
Gov. Charlie Crist should choose carefully. Good luck finding two new commissioners on this list who will be as independent as the two who were ousted.