Work­man named util­ity reg­u­la­tor

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE -

TAL­LA­HAS­SEE — Lit­tle more than a year af­ter los­ing a bid for the Florida Senate, for­mer state Rep. Ritch Work­man has been tapped by Gov. Rick Scott to serve as a util­ity reg­u­la­tor.

Scott late Fri­day ap­pointed Work­man and Gary Clark, deputy sec­re­tary of land and recre­ation at the Florida Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, to serve on the state Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion. Scott also reap­pointed vet­eran Com­mis­sioner Art Graham to an­other four-year term on the panel.

Work­man, whose ap­point­ment is ef­fec­tive Jan. 2, will re­place Com­mis­sioner Ron­ald Brise, who sought an­other term but was not se­lected by Scott.

Clark fills a Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion seat that was left va­cant when Scott ap­pointed for­mer Com­mis­sioner Jimmy Pa­tro­nis as state chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer in June. Clark’s ap­point­ment is ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.

Scott did not com­ment on the ap­point­ments an­nounced in a news re­lease Fri­day night.

The five-mem­ber Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion makes de­ci­sions that af­fect the wal­lets of mil­lions of Florida res­i­dents and busi­nesses, in part be­cause it reg­u­lates the rates charged by Florida Power & Light, Duke En­ergy Florida, Tampa Elec­tric Co. and Gulf Power. Com­mis­sion­ers are paid about $131,000 a year.

The terms of Graham and Brise, who each were ini­tially ap­pointed to the com­mis­sion in 2010 by then-Gov. Char­lie Crist, will ex­pire in Jan­uary. With his reap­point­ment, Graham, 53, a for­mer Jack­sonville City Coun­cil mem­ber, will be able to stay on the com­mis­sion un­til Jan­uary 2022.

Scott made the se­lec­tions from short lists of can­di­dates for­warded by a nom­i­nat­ing coun­cil. Brise, who served in the state House be­fore join­ing the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, was on a short list. Other can­di­dates who made one of the short lists but were not ap­pointed in­cluded for­mer Rep. Rich Glo­rioso, RPlant City, and for­mer Rep. Ken Lit­tle­field, R-Wes­ley Chapel.

Work­man, 44, a Mel­bourne Repub­li­can, served from 2008 to 2016 in the House. Dur­ing his fi­nal two years, he was a top lieu­tenant to then-Speaker Steve Crisa­fulli, chair­ing the Rules, Cal­en­dar & Ethics Com­mit­tee.

Work­man is em­ployed as di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment for Keiser Univer­sity but drew at­ten­tion while in the House for a part-time job as an Uber driver. Among his high­est-pro­file leg­isla­tive is­sues, Work­man sought to over­haul the state’s al­imony laws — con­tro­ver­sial ef­forts that were thwarted twice by Scott ve­toes.

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