Bill would undo Senate’s new role in picking Department of Citrus chief

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A state representative who is a former chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission filed a bill this week that would restore the panel’s authority to appoint the head of the Florida Department of Citrus, reports Bruce Ritchie.

The Legislature in 2011 passed SB 2122 requiring Senate confirmation of the Department of Citrus executive director. The move was viewed by some as a power play by Senate Budget Committee Chairman JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, whose family is in the citrus business, according to aTampa Tribune report.

Executive Director Ken Keck resigned under pressure after the legislation passed, according to the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times).

On Thursday, Rep. Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, filed HB 1237, which would delete the 2011 law change requiring Senate confirmation. He was commission chairman from 2007 to 2010, when he was elected to the House.

The bill states that the executive director serves at the pleasure of the Florida Citrus Commission and shall be appointed by a majority vote. Albritton did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.