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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Governor Ron DeSantis’s takeover of the South Florida Water Management District is now complete with three more resignations in the past 24 hours.
In one of his first acts as governor, DeSantis called on the members of the district to resign.
Just days later, two of members stepped down. The resignations came from Daniel O’Keefe and Carlos Diaz. O’Keefe was the Chairman of the nine-member board. Rick Barber followed suit soon after. Former vice Chair Melanie Peterson resigned Jan. 1.
For years, environmentalists have complained the water management district is too closely aligned with Big Sugar and other special interests and failed to protect the public from toxic blue-green algae. His predecessor Rick Scott appointed all nine board members.
In the last 24 hours, the final three members resigned.
Tuesday, the chairman of the district Federico Fernandez resigned, effective February 15, followed by the resignation Wednesday of two more members: Jamie Weisinger who left the district effective immediately and Brandon Tucker, whose resignation will be also be effective Feb. 15.
Read Tucker’s letter below. This now means that @GovRonDeSantis will be able to appoint all nine members of the @SFWMD by the time the Legislature convenes in March.
Tucker writing to Scott, instead of DeSantis, showed the resentment Tucker and others had toward DeSantis. pic.twitter.com/XkcIKdtfHq
— Jim DeFede (@DeFede) January 30, 2019
Two board members, James Moran and Sam Accursio have not resigned, but both will be off the board when their terms end in March.
That means by the time the Florida Legislature meets in March, DeSantis will be able to appoint an entirely new board.
He has already started. DeSantis announced two new appointments Tuesday.
Developer “Alligator Ron” Bergeron and Chauncey Goss were appointed to the board.
Bergeron is a potent political and economic force in Broward County and a former Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioner.
Goss is a Florida water advocate and son of former U.S. Rep. and CIA Director Porter Goss.
DeSantis has been following up on a campaign promises to make the environment a top priority.