Fresh from favoring the state’s electric companies, utility “regulator” Lisa Edgar has been tapped to run Florida’s 171 state parks without any park experience. If Edgar protects the parks the way she looked out for utility profits at the Florida Public Service Commission, prepare to pave paradise for moneymaking schemes. Just like utility customers, park users will be collateral damage.
This is another power play by Gov. Rick Scott. The veteran boss of the park system was exiled to run a single park in Gainesville. Then Edgar was handed the job as an apparent reward for helping out the utilities at the PSC. Never mind that Edgar has never managed any park, even if she was once at the Department of Environmental Protection. The governor looks out for his friends.
Neither Edgar nor the parks system has enjoyed positive reviews recently. Edgar comes to the job as she wraps up three terms on the PSC, which rarely objects to anything the utilities want. The person she’s replacing, Donald Forgione, was a park ranger who joined the DEP in 1983 and faced demands by the Scott administration to turn parks into cash cows.
“She took care of the utilities for the governor, and now he’s taking care of her,” said a longtime critic and former state senator, Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano.
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That about sums it up. A DEP spokeswoman said Edgar’s prior experience as a deputy secretary for the agency makes her well-suited for the parks job. The agency could not produce a single application from another candidate. Imagine that.