August 21, 2013 10:18:07 AM
JACKSON -- Republican Leonard Bentz has stepped down from the Mississippi Public Service Commission, as expected.
Bethann Dufour, spokeswoman for the PSC's southern district, said Tuesday that Bentz's resignation took effect at 7:59 a.m. Monday.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint a new commissioner to represent the southern one-third of the state, and that person will serve the rest of the four-year term, which expires in January 2016. Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock told The Associated Press that he won't speculate about the governor's timetable for making an appointment.
Bentz served two years in the state House of Representatives before then-Gov. Haley Barbour appointed him in 2006 to the PSC, the three-member group that regulates utilities. The 41-year-old from Woolmarket has been hired as executive director of the South Mississippi Planning and Development District.
On the PSC, Bentz was paid $78,000 a year. His salary for the 15-county planning district will be $150,000.
After his final meeting as a PSC member last week, Bentz defended his support of a generating plant that Mississippi Power Co. is building in Kemper County.