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State Reopens Search To Fill PSC Post After Workman Withdraws

From the left Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, and Rep. Douglas Vaughn "Doug" Broxson, R-Midway, debates on the House floor March 22, 2013.
Mark Foley
Florida House of Representatives

The state has reopened a search to fill a spot on the Florida Public Service Commission, after appointee Ritch Workman withdrew this month following a sexual misconduct allegation.

The Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council issued a notice Friday setting a Jan. 12 application deadline for the utility-regulatory job.

Gov. Rick Scott in September appointed Workman, a former state House member, to the $132,000-a-year post. The appointment was slated to take effect Jan. 2, with Workman later subject to Senate confirmation. But Workman withdrew this month after Senate Rules Chairwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, said she would not put Workman's appointment on her committee's agenda because of what she described as “abhorrent” sexual behavior toward her last year.

Workman, a Melbourne Republican, said he did not recall such an incident. His withdrawal and the process of selecting a replacement means the PSC will start 2018 with four of its five seats filled, as longtime Commissioner Ronald Brise's term is expiring.

He is one of three current and former lawmakers in Florida forced to step aside due to harassment allegations. Republican Sen. Jack Latvala resigned after two investigations validated claims of sexual harassment from female aides and lobbyists; Democratic Sen. Jeff Clemens resigned in November after Politco Florida reported he had an affair with a lobbyist.