Brown, Clark Make First Cut for PSC Seats

Hoping to get reappointed for another four years, state utility regulators Julie Brown and Gary Clark are among the six “most qualified” applicants who will be interviewed next month for seats on the Florida Public Service Commission.

The Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council agreed to invite the two incumbent commissioners, along with candidates Anibal Taboas, Amir Liberman, Monica Rutkowski, and Gregory Hill, to interview for the $132,036-a-year positions, which Brown and Clark now hold on the five-member commission. The interviews will be held July 17 in Orlando.

The six, listed on the council’s website as the “most qualified,” were among 14 people who applied for the positions.

After interviewing the candidates, the council, chaired by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, will forward a short list to Gov. Rick Scott, who will make the final selections. The current terms of Brown and Clark expire at the end of the year.

Brown, an attorney from Tampa, has served on the Public Service Commission since January 2011. Scott reappointed her in 2014.

Clark was appointed to his seat in September to complete the term of Jimmy Patronis, who was named by Scott to serve as Florida chief financial officer. Clark previously was a deputy secretary at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Taboas is an executive consultant with Strategic Leadership & Risk Management in Woodridge, Ill., an appointee to the Governors State University Board of Trustees and a member of the board of directors for the non-profit Center of Excellence for Hazardous Materials Management, according to an application.

“I remain stubbornly based on fact rather than on opinion, apolitical, and dedicated to the public good,” Taboas wrote in the application. Taboas interviewed for the commission last year.

Liberman owns Consulting.Net, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale and is a partner in Liberman Real Estate and Victoria Honey Farm, which his wife runs.

He noted in his application that he is “self-educated in many areas not all of which are directly relevant for this position, however they include religion, history, & evolution. More relevant for my current occupation is the knowledge I have acquired in math, physics, and computer programming.”

Rutkowski is an insurance regulatory compliance consultant from Tallahassee who previously was a vice president of compliance and regulatory affairs for Guy Carpenter and the SmithGroup. In her application, Rutkowski noted she has “27 years of regulatory, public affairs, audit and policy experience.”

Hill has been an assistant general counsel with the Department of Corrections since March 2017. Previous positions included serving as a senior attorney with the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Among those who did not advance on Tuesday were Alton Drew, an attorney from Atlanta who was a staff member at the Florida Public Service Commission for all but a short time between November 1989 and February 1998, and Steven Petty, a former chief economist for Florida TaxWatch who applied for a spot on the commission last year but failed to get an invitation to the interview process.

The commission regulates utilities such as Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Gulf Power and Tampa Electric Co.

Reposted with permission from The News Service of Florida – Jim Turner

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