PSC staffer who went to PBC Kentucky Derby party resignsby Dara Kam | September 8th, 2009
Public Service Commission staffer Ryder Rudd resigned this morning after an internal investigation found that he may have broken the regulatory agency’s ethics rules.
Rudd, who earned $92,000 a year, attended a Kentucky Derby party at the Palm Beach Gardens home of Florida Power & Light Co. vice president Ed Tancer although Rudd was involved in at least two of the utility’s rate filings.
Knowledge of Rudd’s attendance at Tancer’s gala was the first in a string of events, the latest including two PSC staff resignations and two commissioners’ aides being place on administrative leave.
Also today, Sen. Mike Fasano asked for a Senate Ethics and Elections Committee hearing into whether the regulators and their staff are too cozy with the utilities they oversee.
“After reading and hearing of what’s happening over at the Public Service Commission, it sounds to me like they’re ready to implode over there,” Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said.
In the meantime, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also conducting an informal investigation into the same possible problem.
Two sitting PSC commissioners – Chairman Matthew Carter and Commissioner Katrina McMurrian – were included in the list of six nominees given to Gov. Charlie Crist last week. Fasano asked Crist to hold off on the appointments until the panel votes on a proposed $1.3 billion FPL rate hike.
Carter’s aide Bill Garner and Commissioner Lisa Edgar’s aide Roberta Bass were put on leave today after the Times/Herald reported that the aides had given secret Blackberry PIN numbers to an FPL attorney. Commissioner Nancy Argenziano fired her aide, Larry Harris, who is seeking reemployment elsewhere within the agency.