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Three former lawmakers, UCF trustee vie for PSC post

Three former state lawmakers and University of Central Florida trustee are among the applicants vying to fill a Public Service Commission seat left vacant when Gov. Rick Scott’s appointee withdrew last month following a sexual misconduct allegation.

Also applying is the long-time advisor to the last occupant of the $132,000-a-year post.

The Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council is scheduled to discuss the applications on Jan. 18 in the Senate Office Building before inviting finalists for interviews a week later. The council then will submit several names to Scott.

The five-member board regulates the rates charged by Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co. and Gulf Power.

The position is advertised as seeking an individual with knowledge in accounting, economics, energy, engineering, finance, law, natural resource conservation, public affairs, or fields substantially related to the regulation of gas, electric, telecommunications, water and wastewater utilities. The deadline to apply for the job was Friday.

Applications have been submitted by:

Robert Bennett, of Pensacola, a former chairman and chief executive officer with the U.S. Green Energy Corporation.

Stephany Carr, an attorney from Naples whose practice focuses exclusively on bankruptcy matters.

Baldwyn English, who served as the chief advisor to former Public Service Commissioner Ronald Brise for the past seven years.

William Conrad, a former mayor of Newberry and chairman of the Florida Municipal Power Agency.

— Former state Rep. Rich Glorioso, a Republican from Plant City.

— Former state Rep. Ken Littlefield, a Rebplican from Wesley Chapel.

— Former state Rep. Ray Pilon, a Republican from Sarasota who was a county commissioner and spent a decade as government affairs and communications director for the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority.

Erik Sayler, an associate public counsel with the state Office of Public Counsel, who has practiced before the commission.

— Former Pasco County Commission Chairman Ted Schrader.

Eric Seidel, a managing partner with the Tampa law firm Mclntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito.

David Walsh, of Winter Springs, who held the top role for Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems in the Western Hemisphere and was appointed by Scott in 2016 to the University of Central Florida Board of Trustees. Walsh, now an advisor to the energy industry, is also a former Westinghouse executive.

Both Glorioso and Littlefield made one of the short lists when three seats on the commission were open this summer.

Scott had appointed Ritch Workman, a former state House member from Melbourne, to the position in September. But Workman but withdrew his name from consideration after Senate Rules Chairwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto, a Fort Myers Republican, said she would not put his appointment on her committee’s agenda because of what she described as “abhorrent” sexual behavior toward her last year.

Workman, a Melbourne Republican, said he did not recall such an incident.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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