Public Service Commission incumbents draw 22 challengers

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Two members of the Florida Public Service Commission are being challenged for their seats at the state’s top utility regulatory agency by at least 22 other applicants, reports Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida.

Commission Chairman Ronald Brise and Commissioner Art Graham have both applied to keep their governor-appointed positions, with competition for the $130,036-a-year positions coming from a wide-ranging list of people with business and government experience.

The most notable name among the challengers is former state House member and short-time PSC commissioner Ken Littlefield.

Littlefield, who spent eight years in the House, was appointed to the PSC by former Gov. Jeb Bush in September 2006 but was replaced shortly after being sworn-in in January 2007 by former Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist contended Littlefield was not consumer-friendly enough.

Several tea party groups unsuccessfully urged Gov. Rick Scott to return Littlefield to the commission last year, imploring the governor to replace Commissioner Lisa Edgar, who faced criticism that she did not adequately represent ratepayers. Scott reappointed Edgar.

Brise and Graham were both appointed to the commission by Crist in July 2010 and reappointed by Scott. Their terms will expire in January.

The deadline to apply for the seats was Tuesday. A nominating council will meet July 24 in Tampa to whittle the applicant list to those deemed “most qualified.”

People on the short list will appear before the council for interviews on August 28 in Orlando. The council will then submit at least six names from which Scott will make the final appointments.

The applicants:

— Brise, of Tallahassee, a former state House member who has served on the PSC since 2010 and been its chairman since 2012.

— Graham, of Jacksonville Beach, a former Jacksonville City Council member and PSC member since 2010.

— Israel Rodriguez-Soto, of Pembroke Pines, an engineering and safety consultant.

— Martha Hicks, of Milton, a U.S. Navy retiree who is employed by the Escambia County Health Department and is a special-needs shelter consultant.

— Julia Holtzhausen, of Boca Raton, an environmental specialist with the Palm Beach County Health Department.

— James Baumstark, of Crystal River, a former vice president of central engineering for Con Edison in New York

— Albert Martin, of Fleming Island, a professional engineer.

— Littlefield, of Wesley Chapel, a former state House member, a PSC member in January 2007 and funeral home medical liaison.

— Paul Wood, of Naples, a nuclear engineer.

— Jennifer Reeves, of Pensacola, manager of Ferguson Airport.

— Frank Stubbs, of Fleming Island, former deputy chief of staff for operations at Navy Medicine Support Command and former head of hospital operations at Naval Hospital Jacksonville.

— Julian Dan McCarthy, of Ponte Vedra Beach, former chief assistant state attorney, 4th Judicial Circuit, and former Jacksonville director of Military Affairs, Veterans and Disabled Services.

— Dennis Clarke, of St. Johns, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation resolutions specialist and former CFO at both First Bank of Jacksonville and Independent Bancshares, Inc., Ocala. 

— Michael Ward, of St. Johns, a finance manager and self-published author.

— Jocelyn Brown, of Wellington, a West Palm Beach wastewater industrial pre-treatment program supervisor.

— John Bruce, of Gulf Breeze, an independent insurance and financial services contractor.

— William “David” Outlaw, of Seminole, vice president of operations for Cavaform International LLC.

— Donald Polmann, of Dunedin, director of science and engineering for Tampa Bay Water.

— Joseph Colon, of Kissimmee, a member of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and a retired assistant vice president for Manufacturers Hanover Trust.

— Michael Duggar, of Orlando, an attorney.

— Timothy Altenau, of Beverly Hills, an attorney.

— Dianne Williams-Cox, of Tallahassee, a business analyst with the Department of Revenue child support establishment.

— David Tyler Van Leuven, of Tallahassee, an attorney with the firm Williams, Gautier, Gwynn, DeLoach & Sorenson, P.A.

— Keith Jones, of Port St. Joe, a self-employed certified public accountant.

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.