November 14, 2016 – Orlando Sentinel
by Scott Maxwell
As many people know, Florida has a national reputation for being one of the most corrupt states in America – not just for illegal acts, but also for acts that, while technically legal, still appear conflicted or unethical. (“Harvard finds Florida among most politically corrupt states in U.S.“)
Well, this week, the St. Johns River Water Management District — which taxes your property and helps set water policies for Central Florida — has a chance to show it cares about ethics, conflicts and appearances.
Tomorrow, the board will elect its next chairman. And if members give one whit about public confidence, they will end the chairmanship of John Miklos — a man who makes private profits by doing business with the board the board he helps run.
Miklos really has no business even being on this board at all. You can plenty of reasons why here: “Get Conflicted Consultant Off Water Board.”
But chief among those reasons is that Miklos (in his private business life) offers people the chance to pay him $155 an hour as a consultant to get things from the agency he helps runs in his “public service” life. That’s just whack.
Miklos has reported more than a dozen personal conflicts. And the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that Miklos’ conflicts doubled after he became chairman. (Funny how that happens, isn’t?)
Miklos — an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott — argues he has always followed the letter of the law. But my contention has always been that: In a state with 20 million residents, surely we can find people to run government agencies who don’t have their personal finances tied in any way to the public agency they want to run.
That’s why Scott should’ve gotten Miklos off the board long ago.
But the least board members (contact info here) could do this week is find someone else to lead the agency.
Especially since Miklos has an ethics complaint against him pending.
And since there’s an ongoing state attorney’s investigation on DeBary City hall — one of the clients that hired Miklos at $155-an-hour for help on a land deal. [READ MORE]