Sen. Constantine, Bane among Florida PSC nominees

Sen. Lee Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs, and former Public Service Commission Executive Director Mary Bane were among seven candidates recommended Thursday to the governor for two upcoming vacancies on the PSC.

The PSC Nominating Council on June 30 passed over commissioners Nancy Argenziano and Nathan A. Skop for reappointment, as some council members cited discord at the commission. Argenziano and Skop said they were ousted because they challenged the control that utilities have had over the commission.

Four of the seven nominated on Thursday also were nominated earlier in June for two other PSC vacancies, but were not picked by Crist. They are Constantine, Bane, former Missouri Public Service Commission member Connie Murray and Florida legislative analyst Kevin Wiehle.

The other three are Eduardo Enrique Balbis, James Baumstark and Julie Imanuel Brown. Balbis is assistant city administrator overseeing utilities in West Palm Beach. Baumstark is a retired vice president of central engineering at the ConEdison electric utility in New York. Brown is vice president and senior legal counsel at First American Corp. in Largo.

In June, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said he objected to Bane being considered for the PSC because of text-messaging between agency staff and utility representatives during a Florida Power & Light hearing on a rate hike request. Bane, who left in 2009 after 23 years with the PSC, said the agency took action when she became aware of the problem.

The governor has 30 days to make the appointments but he fails to make a choice then the selection will be made by the nominating council. The job pays $133,036 per year.

New commissioners will take office in January.

(Story provided by the Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission, which can be obtained by contacting