PSC Commissioner Resigns
McMurrian quits after governor refuses to reappoint her.
By BILL KACZOR
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TALLAHASSEE| One of two Public Service Commission members whom Gov. Charlie Crist has refused to reappoint resigned Monday so her successor can take office before the panel rules on rate increases being sought by the state’s two largest power companies.
Commissioner Katrina McMurrian resigned effective immediately.
Crist last week declined to reappoint McMurrian and Commission Chairman Matthew Carter when their terms expire Jan. 2 amid allegations that some of the five commissioners and staff members have been too cozy with the utilities they regulate.
Crist, who is opposed to the base rate increases of about 30 percent each being sought by Florida Power & Light Co. and Progress Energy Florida, named two appointees without experience in utility regulation.
The governor has asked the commission to delay action in both cases until the new members take office, which McMurrian noted in her letter of resignation Crist.
Carter said through a commission spokeswoman that he had no intention of resigning before his term expires.
One of new appointees is David Klement, 69, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Leadership at the University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus and a former Bradenton Herald editorial page editor.
The other is Pensacola accountant Benjamin "Steve" Stevens, 44, part owner of a bar and package store in Cantonment and former chief financial officer for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
Crist’s office did not return a call seeking comment,
When he announced the appointments, he did not specify which of the new commissioners would replace each of the outgoing members.
McMurrian last month refused to step down from the FPL case although she had dinner in March with a company executive and others participating in an economic conference in New York.
She noted state law permits commissioners to "attend conferences and associated meals" as long as they aren’t sponsored by regulated utilities.
Commissioner Nancy Argenziano’s chief adviser resigned at her request and aides to Carter and Commissioner Lisa Edgar are on leave pending an investigation of reports they gave FPL the private codes for instant messaging to the staffers’ and Edgar’s smartphones.