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PSC Uses Force to Avoid Questions

September 10th, 2009 by flanews

Two Florida Public Service Commission staffers have been put on administrative leave while two others resigned amid the controversy surrounding the PSCís relationships with the utilities they regulate. Commissioners arenít talking about the scandal and as Whitney Ray tells us, their staff is going to great lengths to keep media at bay.

The Florida Public Service Commission is using force to avoid answering questions about the appearance of a cozy relationship with the utilities they regulate. Our photographer was hit, temporarily shutting her camera off and our reporter was restrained as they tried to ask PSC Chairman Mathew Carter about the commissionís communications with utility executives.

The chairman slipped away, but we asked PSC Spokeswoman Cynthia Muir why she physically restrained us. She didnít have an answer.

Muir is one of several PSC staffers who gave private Blackberry messaging codes to people on FPLís payroll. The codes allow FPL executives to communicate with the PSC without leaving a paper trail skirting public records request.

State Senator and attorney general hopeful Dan Gelber says the PSCís relationship with utilities needs to be brought into the sunshine.

ďRight now there is a sense that things arenít operating as above board as they ought to and I think that is something that needs to be look at very quickly and very aggressively,Ē said Gelber.

The state senate is considering a request to hold a committee hearing to question all five commissioners about their dealings with the power company. PSC Chairman Mathew Carter has called for an end to all unnecessary Blackberry messaging for staffers.

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