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Curt Kiser and Bob Butterworth: the PSC is calling

Bob Butterworth

Curt Kiser

Former Palm Harbor state Sen. Curt Kiser and former Attorney General Bob Butterworth are among the elder statesmen being sought by insiders at the Public Service Commission to fill the job of general counsel at the embattled agency.

Kiser, a Republican who served for 18 years on the Public Service Nominating Council, is a lawyer and lobbyist who recently left the law firm of Holland & Knight after several years. Butterworth, a Democrat who most recently served as secretary of the Department of Children & Families under Gov. Charlie Crist, has moved back to South Florida where he has returned to practicing law.

Butterworth said that he was contacted on Monday by outgoing general counsel Booter Imhof about replacing him at the agency for three to six months, after which they'd seek a permanent general counsel. Imhof is returning to work for the Legislature, where he has served as staff director of various regulatory oversight committees.

But Butterworth said he's not ready to abandon his clients but he wasn't surprised he got called. "I usually get called when there's a disaster,'' he said, referring to his tenure at the departments of Highway Safety and, more recently at Children and Families. "I think they definitely need someone there at the PSC. It's obvious what's happening. Right now, public opinion is such that something needs to be done.''

Butterworth noted, however, that he is most surprised at FPL's handling of the rate request. "What really surprised me is how did FPL screw up so badly,'' he said. "It's almost like somebody thought: all we need to do is get three votes. They don't understand there are 18 million people in the state you should be concerned about. The jury of public opinion is onto that now.''

Butterworth made a pitch for Kiser. "He'd be perfect,'' Butterworth said.