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Crist appoints WPB city manager and former Tampa city attorney to PSC

Gov. Charlie Crist appointed West Palm Beach assistant city administrator Eduardo Balbis, and former Tampa assistant city attorney Julie I. Brown,  to the Public Service Commission today. The selections, both Republicans, round out the governor's appointments to the embattled board after his previous appointees, Nancy Argenziano and Nathan Skop were not selected to be finalists by the legislatively-controlled nominating council.

The decision comes on the last day Crist was allowed by law to announce his picks from a list of six candidates, or the decision would have reverted to the Public Service Commission Nominating Council, which selected the finalists. Several people had been urging Crist to not make the selection and file a lawsuit challenging the ability of the nominating council to make the pick.

Instead, Crist chose to make the appointment, selecting two politically diverse candidates -- an Hispanic and a woman. Crist is a candidate for U.S. Senate, running without party affiation.

The choices are not without some conflict. Balbis, 38, who is also chairman of East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility Board and a Gov. Crist appointee to the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, works with a member of the nominating council, Bevin Beaudet. Beaudet is director of Palm Beach Councy's water utilities division and negotiates water use agreements and partnerships with FPL.

Brown, 35, who has applied before to the commission, previously had not made the short list. Look here for the list of candidates Crist had to choose from.