Fired utility reg panel staffer reassigned to general counsel’s officeby Dara Kam | September 17th, 2009
Public Service Commissioner Nancy Argenziano’s former aide Larry Harris is back at work at the utility regulatory agency in the general counsel’s office.
Argenziano fired Harris earlier this month for giving his secret BlackBerry personal identification number (PIN) to Florida Power & Light Co. attorney Natalie Smith.
The PINs allow BlackBerry users to exchange messages that can be impossible to trace.
Two other commissioners – including Chairman Matthew Carter – put their aides, who make at least $84,000 a year, on paid leave until investigations into the messaging mystery are resolved.
Carter also banned the use of the PINs or other types of communication that don’t leave a public record.
Harris was reassigned to the general counsel’s office as a senior attorney where he now earns $60,000 a year. The PSC’s general counsel Booter Imhof resigned Friday. He gave two weeks’ notice and said he is going back to work for the House of Representatives.
The PSC’s lobbyist Ryder Rudd resigned earlier this month after it was revealed that he attended a Kentucky Derby party at the Palm Beach Gardens home of FPL VP Ed Tancer. An internal investigation could not prove whether Rudd, who oversaw staff handling several FPL rate requests, broke state law or rules by going to the fete.
The musical chairs at the PSC takes place during a $1.3 billion proposed FPL rate hike hearing. Progress Energy Florida is also seeking a $500 million rate increase. That case is scheduled to resume next week.