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Personnel note: Sydney Ridley joins Frontier Communications

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Sydney Ridley, former House Republican Leader Dana Young’s right-hand woman, is leaving to head government and regulatory affairs for Frontier Communications’ Florida operations.  

Ridley, who will be based in Tampa, “will represent Frontier’s Florida interests, involving extensive interaction and advocacy with public officials to include state and federal legislators (and) state agency representatives,” according to a press release. 

“Our growing presence in Florida as a critical telecommunications provider as well as nationally makes it extremely important that our company’s positions are represented to policymakers and regulatory bodies in a thoughtful and professional manner, which I know Sydney will do,” said Allison M. Ellis, Frontier’s senior vice president for regulatory affairs for the Southeast region.

Ridley, who has been Young’s top legislative aide and her state Senate campaign manager, joins Frontier after a widely-publicized customer service disaster that resulted in a rare public apology from the company.

On April 1, Frontier took over Verizon’s landline, internet and cable TV service in Florida, specifically for Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota customers.

Soon after, thousands of customers have taken to the company’s Facebook page to complain of outages, poor service, and sudden billing increases. California and Texas are the two other states affected by Frontier’s takeover.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi met with Frontier executives and announced the Connecticut-based telecommunications company had “committed to improving communications and customer services in Florida.”

By May, Melanie Williams—Frontier’s top executive for Florida operations—said in a public statement the company “apologize(s) to every Tampa Bay area customer who has experienced service disruptions.”

Young called Ridley her “political right arm for six years, from the early days when I was a freshman member in the 11th floor Capitol Tower office, to the hustle and bustle of the House Majority office.” 

“Her knowledge of the (state) budget is second to none,” Young said in a text message. “I will miss her terribly, but am very excited for her as she starts this new chapter in her professional life.”

Ridley, a graduate of the University of Virginia, also has worked on the campaigns of Mike Prendergast for Congress, Jeff Brandes for Florida Senate and Dorothy Hukill for Florida Senate, the release said. 

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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