PSC nominee David Klement called the Senate's vote against his appointment today, "shameful conduct."
His statement: "Today’s vote by the Florida Senate was an example of government at its worst – using vital public regulatory appointments to get back at the governor and to satisfy the wishes of the utility industry. As Sen. Mike Fasano so well put it at my last hearing on April 19, this is shameful conduct by our elected officials. It is because of such conduct that people are joining the Tea Party. And as a long-time moderate Republican, I can’t say that I blame them.
This whole process is a farce. The Senate spends enormous amounts of time and energy passing an ethics reform bill to close perceived loopholes in relations between the PSC and utilities. And then it refuses to confirm two appointees who absolutely have no previous ties to utilities, whose integrity is without question. Does that make sense? I don’t think so – not from an ethical point of view.
I came here on good faith. I uprooted my household and left a wonderful job to move to Tallahassee to take this appointment. Others who were recruited to serve as staff advisers to me and Commissioner Stevens also put jobs and careers at stake to work for us. Now we are all the victims of extreme bad faith by the Senate. I’m sure many qualified, honest professionals will think long and hard before accepting a full-time state appointment in the future.
Senate leaders Haridopolos, Thrasher, and Alexander asserted that we were not qualified, based on answers to a few questions obviously supplied by utility lobbyists at one brief interview. How can they say that when Commissioner Stevens didn’t even have a chance to say a word at the hearing which they referenced? He wasn’t called to answer a single question.
All I can say to the ratepayers of Florida is, hold on to your wallets. Because it seems clear that the Senate leadership is bent on appointing utility-friendly commissioners to the PSC. Make no mistake, this vote was not about ability, it was about money – and politics.
I want to thank the senators who supported my confirmation, especially Sens. Bennett, Detert, Fasano, and Constantine. They stood up to the special interests. But unfortunately there weren’t enough like-minded senators in that chamber. It was the Third Chamber to which Sen. Fasano referred – the lobbyists in the rotunda outside the Senate – who won this vote. And it was the people of Florida who lost.