Florida Public Service Commission chairman Art Graham today denied portions of a Miami Herald account of the chain of events leading to the resignation of executive director Timothy Devlin, which played out in recent days behind closed doors.

The commission regulates pricing and reliability for the state’s utilities. Critics have long charged that the utilities exert undue influence on the commission’s activities. The Herald story suggested the utilities might have been seeking Devlin’s ouster. The story notes that Devlin had received glowing performance reviews, and that he likely rankled the utilities when he tried to investigate their hiring of former regulators, an unusual move that some utilities resisted.

Graham acknowledged that he had asked for Devlin’s resignation, but did not elaborate on why. He said it was a “private matter,” and that his decision was not motivated by “retribution.” He said he had decided not to discuss the issue in a public meeting, out of concern for Devlin’s wish that he be allowed to move on.

Here’s the portion of the Herald story (which is worth reading in full) that Graham denied:

Sources at Florida Power & Light told the Herald/Times that after Graham was confirmed by the Senate, he met with Eric Silagy, the company’s chief lobbyist and senior vice president of regulatory and state government affairs, and Ken Hoffman, an FPL lobbyist, to discuss removing Devlin.

Graham said that meeting never happened.

He also said today that the commission’s general counsel, Curt Kiser, would be filling in for 6 months while the commission looks for a permanent replacement.

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