Mayors to Legislature: Let Nikki Fried retain control of Fl Office of Energy

Nikki Fried
Nikki Fried

Forty local government officials have sided with Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried in her effort to retain control of Florida’s Office of Energy.

Fried’s office released text Wednesday from a letter the officials wrote endorsing Fried’s management of the office, which Republicans in the Florida House want to transfer to the Department of Environmental Protection. The move would boost Gov. Ron DeSantis’ control of the office.

“To move this important office could undo the tremendous progress made in the past year,” the officials – including mayors Jen Ahearn-Koch of Sarasota, Lauren Poe of Gainesville, and Dean Trantalis of Fort Lauderdale — wrote.

“We are concerned that moving the Office of Energy to the Department of Environmental Protection without any plans for success would be detrimental. Without appreciable cost savings or efficiency gains from moving the Office of Energy, we see no reason why it should be moved, now that it is working for the first time in a decade,” the letter continues.

“After years of dormancy, the FDACS Office of Energy is moving in the right direction. We strongly encourage you to reject efforts to move the office from under the purview of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.”

Transfer legislation cleared the House on Feb. 13 but has languished in the Senate. Fried, a Democrat, has clashed repeatedly with the Republicans on the Cabinet, which oversees much of the state’s bureaucracy, over hiring of agency executives and clemency policy.

Fried traveled to Oakland Park last week to highlight energy efficiency projects the energy office has promoted.