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Guv’s utility regulators could be sent home

by Dara Kam | April 20th, 2010

GOP Senate leaders refused to sign off on two of Gov. Charlie Crist’s appointees to the Public Service Commission and the likelihood of the pair getting confirmation from the Senate required for them to stay on the job is dim.

Committee chairman J.D. Alexander, who is also the Senate’s powerful budget chief and has long been at odds with Crist, abruptly called an end to the meeting this morning with three minutes left on the clock as the panel was in the midst of interrogating Commissioner David Klement.

That drew the wrath of Sen. Mike Fasano, a Crist supporter who has been a vocal critic of the PSC but praised Crist’s latest appointees. An irate Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said Alexander was “rude” and “inappropriate” to cut off the meeting before voting on the appointees.

Alexander denied that the failure to confirm Crist’s appointees was political retribution against Crist, who alienated GOP leaders with his veto of SB 6 and increasing speculation that he is going to break away from the Republican Party and run as independent in the U.S. Senate race against primary opponent Marco Rubio.

Alexander’s committee isn’t scheduled to meet again before the session ends on April 30, and the budget chief doesn’t appear interested in keeping Crist’s picks on the panel.

He said that Klement, a former editorial writer, and Benjamin “Steve” Stevens, a Panhandle bar owner and accountant, are unqualified to regulate billions of dollars in utility rate because they lack financial expertise.

The committee unanimously approved nearly four dozen other gubernatorial appointees before taking up the PSC appointments but left Klement and Stevens for last.

“I think we need more time to consider whether these folks are qualified. I don’t think these folks are qualified,” Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said.

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10 Responses to “Guv’s utility regulators could be sent home”

  1. Owlguin Says:

    Politics is really so backstabbing and partisan anymore it’s really a turn off. This move is so political Alexander should be admonished.

  2. Kevin Says:

    Crist must run as an independant in the Senate race. He is not a partisan hack like Rubio is. He actually uses his own brain and listens to all Floridians instead of just the Republican ones when considering the passage of legeslation. I liked the premise of SB6 but the truth of the matter is that it was poorly crafted by a partisan skewed legeslature and would have been ruled unconstitutional anyway. Run independant Charlie, you have my vote.

  3. melody Says:

    So tell us again how the GOP is pro-business and job creation? What business regulated or not can operate with this type of psychotic political behavior? Cost effective and efficient electric utility operations need legislation that is stable, intelligent, and far thinking beyond speculating on the next election! Going back on agreements with businesses for short term political gain and speculation is harmful to creating profits and jobs.

  4. oscar Says:

    I think Crist is the biggest d-bag in Florida politics and his appointees should be held up, but saying Stevens (a CPA) lacks financial expertise is hilarious.

  5. 757 Says:

    As a Democrat I find the current political climate extremely destructive. It would be great if the people could come together and come up with 5 or 10 things that we can agree on and demand that all politicians follow them or get voted out. I suspect that the current hate laced climate and those who lack the imagination t empower the people will simply laugh at this.

  6. LicensedToSteal Says:

    I am afraid the GOP is in bed with the utility companies. The prognosis: we the people are screwed!

  7. LicensedToSteal Says:

    Folks, for the sake of this country, we cannot elect people with extreme views. This country has been great because of our ability to compromise. Rubio is far right and will further split the country. As a Republican, I am ashamed the party is not confirming these PSC commisioners appointed by Crist. Something is down right dirty.

  8. Mr. K Says:

    The Republicans are out of control in this state. There are no moderates left in the party. The future speaker of the House [who they have already selected] has his house in foreclosure.

  9. Mary Says:

    Crist will come out on top. The Florida Reps are coming apart at the seams. I hope the whole lot of them go down with the sinking ship. Charlie will call a special session on ethics and keep the grand juries busy this summer. JD included. Sad thing is they are all so arrogant and- their blatant violations are really quite easy to find.

  10. Raptor Says:

    Politics pure and simple…A CPA lacks financial experience to determine utility rate increases? Get real! Never thought I as a longtime R would be a Crist supporter but the R party is to extreme now that they control the legislature.I have worked the halls in Tally since the mid 70s and when Bush and Rubio were in power positions… I have never experienced such destructive politics as supported and pushed by Bush and his faithful lackies like Rubio,Alexander and company…Charlie run as an independent in Nov. 10…God and moderate thinking voters SAVE FLORIDA …HELP!! VOTE in 2010.

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