It is interesting to note that Miklos is presented for chairman re-election yearly now instead of terming out, as tradition had it at SJWMD and other water districts. One can only wonder what the reason is. One thing comes to mind, is that the board wants to emphasize their independence and essentially thumb their collective noses at their many and severe critics.
That being said, many people would say that if he and Executive Director Ann Shortelle had any honor, both would resign. This type of apparent-corruption is not what we want in our water districts. We have long requested that our governor appoint some environmentalists to the water boards instead of the preponderance of developers and agricultural interests, which most assuredly slants the actions of giving out water use permits.
Miklos’ appointment must be confirmed by the Florida Senate next session. Hopefully, others will follow Sen. Simmons’ lead and ask our representatives in Tallahassee to deny his confirmation.
Read the original article here in the Daytona Beach News Journal.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Miklos re-elected water board chairman
John Miklos, the controversial chairman of the St. Johns River Water Management District’s governing board, has been re-elected to serve in the same position for another year.
At the district’s board meeting Tuesday in Palatka, the board agreed to maintain its current slate of officers, including Miklos, Fred Roberts Jr. of Ocala as vice chairman, Chuck Drake of Orlando as secretary and Ron Howse of Cocoa as treasurer, a district news release stated.
This will be the sixth term as board chairman for Miklos, president of Bio-Tech Consulting. Typically in the past, board chairmen generally served two years in the seat and then the vice chairman was elected chairman. However, the terms have grown longer during the administration of Gov. Rick Scott. The governing board meets monthly and oversees policy setting for the district, which oversees groundwater and surface water supplies in all or part of 18 counties along the river. Board members serve without pay.
Bio-Tech Consulting, an environmental consulting company, has dozens of clients across Florida whose work in wetlands must obtain permits from the water district. Miklos’ role representing clients in district permitting issues has been controversial. State law allows people with environmental consulting experience and other professionally related experience to serve on water district boards, but Miklos has had more stated conflicts than others and his clients have been found in violation of district and federal wetland rules on several occasions.
In one recent example, a client of Bio-Tech, GeoSam Capital, illegally cleared wetlands at its Coastal Woods development in New Smyrna Beach. In September, the developer agreed to pay the district at $75,000 penalty and restore wetlands on eight acres at its sight off State Road 44.
A state ethics commission investigator looking into Miklos’ work with the city of DeBary in 2016 found probable cause that Miklos had violated state ethics laws, but the ethics commission board members voted not to pursue the investigation. Miklos has not responded to any News-Journal requests for comment since that 2016 controversy.
Miklos, whose second four-year term ended last March, was reappointed to the board by Scott last August. That appointment is up for confirmation by the Florida Senate during the next legislative session. Before her death last fall, the late Republican state Senator Dorothy Hukill said the reappointment was “problematic” and should be investigated. Senator David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs also said he would investigate before the confirmation comes up for a vote.