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Governor’s office weighs how to replace Public Service Commission seat

Gov. Rick Scott‘s staff has not determined how to fill a Public Service Commission seat after the withdrawal of an appointee who was accused by an influential senator of sexually inappropriate behavior.

Scott said Monday it remains unclear if the Public Service Commission Nominating Council will have to restart the search process or if a name can be selected from among other finalists proposed by the council in August.

“I’ve been talking to our general counsel’s office to understand exactly how it’s going to work,” Scott said after a meeting with community leaders in Gadsden County.

Ritch Workman, a former state House member who was supposed to join the Public Service Commission on Jan. 2, walked away this month from the appointment, which would have required Senate confirmation.

His decision came after Senate Rules Chairwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto, a Fort Myers Republican, said she would not put Workman’s appointment on her committee’s agenda because of his “abhorrent” behavior to her last year.

Workman, a Melbourne Republican, had been selected by Scott in September to replace Commissioner Ronald Brise on the five-member commission. Members are paid $131,000-a-year. Brise, who was on the short list of candidates from the nominating council, has been on the utility-regulatory board since 2010.

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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