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McMurrian resigns PSC effective today

Katrina_mcmurrianbio-100x100 At a meeting of the Public Service Commission's internal affairs committee this morning, Commissioner Katrina McMurrian resigned her job, effective today. McMurrian was bypassed for a second term by Gov. Charlie Crist last week when he choose two newcomers to fill the two open seats. Download ResignLtrGov

In her letter to Crist today, she said her resignation was in keeping with the governor's request on Friday to have the commission delay a vote on the Florida Power & Light $1.3 billion rate case and the Progress Energy $500 million rate case. "I respect this request and want to ensure that the new Commission is positioned to set the course for the agency, one guided by different leadership.'' 

McMurrian had refused to remove herself from the Florida Power & Light's $1.3 billion rate case after serving on a panel with one of the company's top executives and attending a dinner with utility executives after FPL had sent notice it was seeking the rate hike. She apologized for her actions, however.

The controversy prompted a lengthy discussion at the meeting about how commissioners should behave when it comes to attending meetings and conferences. They concluded they'll hold a future workshop on on the issue anda workshop to address the 1992 grand jury report recommendations, as first brought to light by the Herald/Times.

McMurrian is prohibited by law from going to work for the utility industry for two years after leaving the regulatory panel, although several former commissioners have joined law firms that do work for utility industry clients.

Here is McMurrian's full statement:


It's been an honor and privilege to serve the people of Florida for the past 15 years and to work with you all during my time as a Commissioner.  I am proud of the work of this agency and the things we have achieved. 


While a lot more work needs to be done, much progress has been made.  The PSC has implemented policies that have allowed for more innovation, investment, and competition in advanced communications for the benefit of consumers and the betterment of Florida's economy.  In the energy arena, the Commission has worked towards keeping electric service safe, reliable, and affordable while protecting the environment.  In the water industry, there have been ups and downs, but the Commission has remained focused on finding solutions to ensure better quality water is provided at prices consumers can afford. 


I am honored to have had the opportunity to participate in these efforts, none of which could have been achieved without the dedication and hard work of the fine men and women who work here.  I do not believe that there is a better team of regulatory professionals in the entire country, and they have served the citizens well.


No doubt, I am an insider.  I started out at the Commission in 1994.  I grew up in this process, moving up from a Regulatory Analyst to a Commissioner's Aide to a Commissioner.


There are rules that govern all aspects of the Commission process.  I know the rules, and I have followed them.  But members of the public have spoken, and the Governor has spoken.  They want a new set of rules... and new leadership.  I respect that.  I hope that the suggestions I put forward provide a framework for the discussion about new rules.  I recognize that this issue is much bigger than me.  I don't want to be a part of the problem - I want to help with the solution.


The Commission has been asked to postpone our vote on major cases until the new Commission is in place.  I respect that request and want to ensure that the new Commission is positioned to set the course for this agency, one guided by different leadership.  It is with great respect for the agency that I tender my resignation effective today.




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The Real Story


Tallahassee – Ben A. “Steve” Stevens, CPA, a member and immediate past president of the FICPA was appointed yesterday by Governor Charlie Crist to serve on the Florida Public Service Commission.

Serving as budget chief for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office until December 2008, Stevens finished the last six months of his term as FICPA President focusing on leading the 19,000-member organization through lean economic times and through significant changes in the Florida CPA licensure standards. With the support of his fellow executive committee and board members, Stevens supported the passage of legislation during the 2009 session that created CPA licensure mobility similar to legislation passed by over 45 other states.

“I am thrilled to have my predecessor as FICPA President serving as the newest Commissioner on the Public Service Commission,” said Jose Valiente, FICPA’s 2009-10 President. “I know he will bring a strong financial and fiscal discipline to the commission’s deliberations.”

Stevens finished his term as FICPA President in June 2009 and now serves as chairman of the FICPA’s Committee on Nominations.

“Since the day I passed the CPA exam, I knew my career would be devoted to this profession,” said Stevens. “I strongly believe in the standards of the CPA profession. As a former local government employee and current small business owner I know what it takes to maintain fiscal soundness and to keep a balanced budget. I am excited about the challenges ahead.”

“We are thankful that Governor Crist accepted our recommendation for Steve’s appointment to the PSC and know he will be an asset to the Commission.” said FICPA CEO-Executive Director Kathy Anderson.

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