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Two surprise resignations at South Florida Water Management District

Two surprise resignations at South Florida Water Management District

for Palm Beach Post
The South Florida Water Management District’s lead counsel and governing board vice chairwoman have resigned their positions with the largest state steward of Everglades restoration, leaving a key staff job and four leadership seats open when additional board member terms expire in March.

Andrew Migneault [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Melanie Peterson, who represents areas including Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast on the nine-member board, was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott for two terms, the second of which was set to expire in March 2022. Her resignation letter to Scott is dated Jan. 1.

Brian Accardo, who was at the district for three years, said he decided before a Dec. 13 governing board meeting that he would accept an offer with a private firm focusing on environmental and government law. His last day was Friday.

The resignations set the stage for a new administration to reshape the state’s largest water management district whose oversight of 16 counties from Orlando through the Keys has often raised the ire of environmentalists.

They also come at a time when the board faces intense public and political scrutiny for a November decision to sign a new eight-year lease with Florida Crystals that allows it to continue sugarcane farming on 16,000 acres slated for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

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