Lisa Edgar, who is ending a 12-year run as a state utility regulator, has been appointed director of the Florida Park Service, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Tuesday.
Edgar, who will leave the Florida Public Service Commission at the end of the year, will start in mid-January overseeing more than 1,000 park-service workers and 29,000 volunteers. Florida has 174 state parks, trails and historic sites.
Prior to joining the Public Service Commission, Edgar was a deputy secretary at the Department of Environmental Protection, where she worked from 1999 to early 2005. Before that, she served as a policy analyst in the governor's Office of Policy and Budget under former Gov. Lawton Chiles.
In a release from the Department of Environmental Protection, Edgar called it an honor to return to the state agency.
"From my time at DEP and as a frequent visitor of our state parks, I've seen first-hand the high caliber of the Florida Park Service team," Edgar said in a prepared statement. "I look forward to working with this team to continue to achieve the Florida state parks mission to provide resource-based recreation while preserving, interpreting and restoring natural and cultural resources."
Edgar will replace Donald Forgione, who has been reassigned to Paynes Prairie State Park outside of Gainesville after nearly six years as the director of the system.
The department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Forgione's move.
"We're excited to welcome Lisa back to the department," said Gary Clark, the department's deputy secretary for land and recreation said in a prepared statement. "She will bring a wealth of agency knowledge, superb leadership skills and an understanding of, and appreciation for, Florida's diverse environmental resources to this role."
Edgar, who has been paid $131,000 a year on the Public Service Commission, will earn $115,000 a year in her new job. In September, Gov. Rick Scott appointed Pinellas County engineer Donald Polmann to replace Edgar on the commission.
On Dec. 6, at her final commission meeting, Edgar said public service would continue to be "a calling."
Early this year, in announcing she would not apply for a fourth term, Edgar said in a statement she intended to use her "regulatory and governmental experience as I pursue new endeavors and other career opportunities."
Edgar was first appointed to the regulatory panel by former Gov. Jeb Bush and began the job in January 2005. She was later reappointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott.
At times, Edgar has faced criticism for her work on the Public Service Commission, including in 2013 when some lawmakers contended she favored electric utilities over consumers. Before Edgar got reconfirmed in a 26-13 vote in the Senate, Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, said he'd like to see "us put someone a little more consumer friendly" on the commission.
But when he reappointed her in September 2012, Scott wrote that Edgar "has demonstrated the ability to review complex issues and show fairness in considering those issues."