Pols Get Jobs With Companies They Regulated


What’s it take to get a regular pay check of almost $200,000 for a part-time job?

Become a Broward County Commissioner?


Commissioners have a part-time job, which requires them to show up less than 30 or so days a year.  But they only get something north of $90,000.

The better way is to become a leader of the Florida Legislature.  Then glom onto the high-paying job as a director of a utility you once regulated.

J. Hyatt Brown, 71, was speaker of the Florida Legislature from 1978-80.   He now is a director of FPL Group and last year earned $177,758. 

Toni Jennings, 59, was Florida Senate president for two terms, before becoming Lieutenant Governor from 2003-2006 under Gov. Jeb Bush

She earned $184,994 from as a FPL Group director last year.

The former politicians are among the business leaders and FPL executives that run the huge utility.

Yes, Brown and Jennings run businesses, too. 

Brown is chief executive of Brown & Brown, an insurance broker.  Jennings runs Jack Jennnings & Sons, her family’s construction business.

Call me cynical, but something tells me that Brown and Jennings would not be members of FPL’s board without their extensive political credentials.

In particular, Brown was very instrumental in transforming the way utilities were regulated. He engineered the 1978 change of the state’s Public Service Commission from an elected to appointed body.

One argument for appointed office is that PSC members are no longer beholden to utility industry campaign contributions.

 I believe that if PSC members had to run for election and listen to voters, they would be tougher on FPL.  

Brown and Jennings election to the FPL board points out a long-time disturbing perk of politics: politicians working for those they formally regulated. 

It happens in Washington.  It happens in Tallahassee.

It has happens in Broward.  Former School Board officials have gone to work for construction companies that build schools.

The Broward ethics commission now drafting ethics laws should tightly shut this revolving door. 

4 Responses to “Pols Get Jobs With Companies They Regulated”

  1. Smackaroo says:

    Face it Buddy, the ethics panel is a stocked pond and will nothing that will really impact the way business gets done. It is ear candy to hear that they are being proactive, but come on. This is destined to be another toothless policy that is really intended to allow maximum flexibility while convincing the public that something of substance is being drafted. Well I haven’t even seen the draft and I can tell you it will be poppycock.

  2. Another Thought Going Nowhere says:

    You say it happens in DC, in Tallahassee, in Broward. It happened in the Roman Empire also, this stuff is older than Julius Caesar. Companies need people that understand government to help them compete. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with that. The federal ethics rules requires two conditions of former officials (1) that you not appear before government ever on any particular matter that you as an official you controlled, and (2) that you have a two-year waiting period before you can appear in any capacity before the government you once represented. Those are fair rules. But you can’t say, especially in a state with term limits, that no former official can make a living using the knowledge and experience they collected over their careers. Nor can you blame companies that hire these people because the experience and ability they bring is invaluable.

  3. This Is Worse says:

    What is worse is the county commissioners like Eileen “I know everything” Lieberman and Joe “bagman” Eggelletion lobbying for companies working at the county.

  4. Keep Eye On Ball says:

    The issue isn’t so much where an elected official works unless that job was secured via some kind of quid pro quo. The issue is an official using their authority as a public official in return for personal gain; as in voting for something or helping something happen with the intent and expectation of personal gain to the official. That’s the problem. How people make a living once they leave government is less worrisome. Now, as to lobbying while in office that one needs more thought. Ideally, people in elected office should not be lobbying at all, and surely not in ways that could affect their votes. I could see a commissioner in Dade say, who is a lobbyist for companies outside of Dade is not creating a conflict problem or appearance issue. But lobbying in their own town, with other cities in their county, eventually that’s going to cause a conflict issue and should be avoided. As to the lawyers in public office, we need to better define the difference between “lobbying” and “representing a client.” legally. Lawyers like that to remain vague, but it should not be vague because defining it is not so very difficult to do.