State & National News

Evers finalist for Public Service Commission

August 9, 2017

By JIM TURNER
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

State Rep. Tom Goodson, former State Sen. Greg Evers and three other former lawmakers are among 14 candidates — including two sitting Public Service Commission members — who will be interviewed next week for openings on Florida’s utility-regulatory board.

The Public Service Commission Nominating Council on Wednesday trimmed the number of candidates from 26. Among those cut without comment was former state Comptroller Bob Milligan, who failed to receive a single vote of support.

Milligan served as comptroller from 1995 to 2003, when the Cabinet position merged with the insurance commissioner, treasurer and fire marshal to become chief financial officer. Milligan also briefly served as Gov. Rick Scott’s interim veterans’ affairs director in 2011.

After the Aug. 17 interviews in Orlando the council will make recommendations to Scott on filling three Public Service Commission seats, including a seat vacated when the governor appointed former Commissioner Jimmy Patronis as state chief financial officer.

The other two openings stem from the expiring terms of commissioners Ronald Brise and Art Graham, who are both seeking reappointment and were included in the list of candidates who will be interviewed. Brise and Graham were initially appointed to the Public Service Commission in 2010 by then-Gov. Charlie Crist and were reappointed by Scott.

Because of an overlap in candidates applying for the Brise, Graham and Patronis seats, the interviews will be held in a single session, said nominating council Chairman Mike La Rosa, a Republican state House member from St. Cloud.

State Rep. Mike Miller, an Orlando Republican who sits on the nominating council, voted against Brise and Graham.

The council is required to nominate at least six candidates for the seats held by Brise and Graham. The council must submit a minimum of three names to Scott to replace Patronis.

Along with Goodson, R-Rockledge, other candidates seeking the Patronis seat include former Rep. Rich Glorioso of Plant City; former Rep. Ken Littlefield of Wesley Chapel; former Sen. Greg Evers of Baker; and former Rep. Ritch Workman of Melbourne. All are Republicans.

Not every former lawmaker who applied made the scaled-back list. Former Rep. Dave Murzin, R-Pensacola, received only a single vote of support from the council.

Others who will be interviewed include:

— Gary Clark, the Department of Environmental Protection’s deputy secretary of land and recreation who oversees the state’s 174 parks.

— William Conrad, a former mayor of Newberry who owns Conrad Construction Company and serves as chairman of the Florida Municipal Power Agency’s board of directors.

— Clayton Lindstrom, director of the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority.

— Anibal Taboas an appointee to the Governors State University Board of Trustees from Woodridge, Ill.

— Ted Schrader, president of the Winter Haven Citrus Growers Association.

— Jody Newman, a former assistant director with the Orange County School District.

— Erik Sayler, a former senior attorney with the Public Service Commission who now works for the state Office of Public Counsel.

Candidates who failed to advance to the interviews included former Duval County Property Appraiser Jim Overton; Steven Petty, a former chief economist for Florida TaxWatch; and Bill Veach, deputy county manager for Lake County who previously served as director of the Division of Hotels and Restaurants at the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

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