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Public Service Commission nominees down to 3, Rick Scott to decide winner

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Three candidates won nominations Wednesday to sit on the Florida Public Service Commission. Their names go to Gov. Rick Scott, who will make the final selection.

The top vote-getter during a meeting in Orlando of the PSC Nominating Council was Donald Polmann, with eight votes. The Dunedin resident is a registered professional engineer with three degrees, including a doctorate in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He wrote a chapter for a scholarly book on water use and supply. He’s now a senior manager at Atkins, an international design and engineering firm, specializing in water projects.

Todd Chase won seven votes. This Harvard Business School graduate is a Gainesville city commissioner who first took office in 2011. He was motivated to enter public service, he has said, when he watched his mother “tearfully (holding) her utility bill and wonder(ing) how she would pay it.” He’s a former Navy aviator and venture capitalist.

The committee needed three ballots to settle on a third candidate, but ultimately Cynthia Wilson Orndoff secured the support of six committee members—the minimum required. The Fort Myers resident was a civil engineer, then became an attorney and now teaches construction management at Florida SouthWestern State College.

Among those left in the lurch was Jeffrey Bragg of Palm Harbor. Earlier, he applied for the job of state Insurance Commissioner and emerged as Scott’s top pick. Chief financial officer Jeff Atwater didn’t support Bragg, however, and the job eventually went to David Altmaier.

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