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Business Observer Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2010 12 years ago

Klement, Stevens miss PSC

Neither David Klement nor Benjamin Stevens will serve on the commission.

Neither David Klement or Benjamin “Steve” Stevens will serve on the state's Public Service Commission following the Florida Senate's vote April 27 not to confirm the appointments.

The PSC regulates utility rates among other responsibilities.

Gov. Charlie Crist had appointed the two from a list of nominees submitted by legislators. But legislators opposed the men on two grounds. Republican opposition was based on what they claimed was a lack of qualifications while Democratic opposition was based on a lack of diversity. The two white men are replacing a black man and a white woman.

But Klement said in a statement that the vote was all politics and money.

“All I can say to the ratepayers of Florida is, hold on to your wallets,” he said. “Because it seems clear that the Senate leadership is bent on appointing utility-friendly commissioners to the PSC.”

Despite the support of Senate President Pro tempore Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Sarasota and Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, Klement was turned down by a 17-21 vote. Stevens' confirmation was rejected 14-23.

Klement, of Bradenton, is the former editor of the Bradenton Herald, and most recently headed the Institute for Public Policy and Leadership at the University of South Florida's Sarasota-Manatee campus. Stevens is a certified public accountant.

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