Ex-U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez joins Progress Energy board of directorsby Dara Kam | March 4th, 2010
Former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who left office last year before finishing out his first term, has joined the board of directors of the state’s second largest utility.
Martinez, 63, was elected to Raleigh, N.C.-based Progress Energy’s board earlier this month.
Progress Energy operates Progress Energy Florida, which provides power to nearly 2 million customers in the Tampa Bay area. State utility regulators recently turned down the utility’s $500 million rate hike request.
Not a bad part-time gig for Martinez. The annual pay for outside directors like him is $80,000 including $30,000 towards a deferred compensation plan, according to the company’s federal SEC filings.
Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate in 2005, Martinez was the mayor of Orange County and was on the Orlando Utilities Commission. He’s been lobbying as a partner with the law firm DLA Piper since leaving office last year.
Martinez’s early retirement set off a political cascade in Florida and paved the way for Gov. Charlie Crist to take his place.
Crist appointed his own former chief of staff George LeMieux as a place-holder to fill in for Martinez until the November election. Crist is running in a GOP primary for the seat against former House Speaker Marco Rubio.