DeSantis reappointed “Alligator” Ron Bergeron and Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch in an announcement late Friday. Both Bergeron and Thurlow-Lippisch were first named to the Board in early 2019 shortly after DeSantis took over as Governor, in an effort by DeSantis to reshape the SFWMD Governing Board.
Bergeron is the president of Bergeron Land Development and Bergeron Properties and Investments Corporation. That position led to some questions as to whether he could serve on the Board following his 2019 appointment.
Bergeron Land Development signed a $25 million contract with the SFWMD to handle work on a Martin County water cleaning facility. The company agreed to that contract just a week after DeSantis announced his appointment of Bergeron.
Ultimately, the Commission on Ethics approved Bergeron’s appointment, and noted that while Bergeron’s companies will not be barred from doing business with the Board entirely, those proposals must be submitted through sealed bids, and Bergeron must not involve himself in the transactions.
Bergeron is a longtime environmental activist, with a particular interest in the Everglades. He founded the Bergeron Everglades Museum and Wildlife Foundation and spent a decade on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He is also a member of the Everglades Coalition, the Florida Sportsmen Conservation Association and the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force.
Thurlow-Lippisch is a former Mayor and Commissioner from Sewall’s Point, and mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the Martin County Commission in 2016. She works as a referral agent with Lifestyle Realty Group and served as an environmental advocate for the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon for years prior to her original appointment.
The Senate must confirm both selections, though that seems likely given they approved of both members the first time around.