This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.
This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Interviewee: Jack Maloy
Interviewer: Julian Pleasants
Date: November 12, 2003
P: This is Julian Pleasants. It's November 12, 2003. I am in West Palm Beach
speaking with Jack Maloy at the water management district. Would you tell me a
little bit about your early background, where you were born and where you lived.
M: Actually, I was born in Brooklyn [New York]. It was called Kings County then. It
was next to Queens. I was born in Kings County General Hospital. I grew up
during the Depression. My dad and his family were Wall Street [national stock
exchange] people, so, obviously, things were a little rough. In my early years,
which I don't remember much of, we lived in Montreal [Canada] because that's
where my dad found work. He was a CPA [certified public accountant]. Then,
we came back down to the United States when it was time for me to start school.
Actually, [during] that part of [my life], I grew up in Long Island [New York]. It was
kind of in the country then. I went to high school there and then went off to the
University of Kentucky on an athletic scholarship.
P: I understand you played football.
M: Yes, I played a little. I wanted to go to William and Mary in Virginia and my dad
wanted me to go to Yale [University in Connecticut].
P: This was the compromise.
M: So this was a compromise [laughing].
P: I studied engineering to the degree you can study engineering and play sports at
the same time. In 1953, I was drafted. The Korean War was going on then and
my draft board was back in New York. I was off in Kentucky at college and I got
a notice that I needed to report to Louisville, Kentucky. I thought college kids
were deferred at that time, but I got drafted and went to basic training at Fort
Knox, Kentucky, [to be trained] in tanks. Then, right after basic training, [I] was
sent to Korea. I spent seventeen months there. When I got out of the service
and came back home [I found that] my dad had been having some health
problems. I got discharged in June and he died in September.
P: Let me ask you a little bit about your service in Korea. Where were you?
M: Actually, I started out with an organization that ran the narrow gauge railroad.
The Japanese, during their occupation of Korea, built a narrow gauge railroad
right up the spine of the peninsula. I don't know why they thought tank training
was good for railroad people, but I got involved. I was in the communications
group. It's their responsibility to make sure that all the communications are open
so all of the boxcars and all the trains and all the supplies and everything else
are coordinated. Because the harbors were not very good in Korea, most of the
supplies that were brought in came into Pusan at the southern end of the Korean
Peninsula and then were shipped by rail up to Seoul and further north to the
railhead. After I had been in the communications group for a little while, we were
attached to the Eighth Army [under] General Maxwell Lee Taylor. After the truce
was signed, General Taylor, evidently, instructed some of his administrative
people to look at everybody's records and see who had any athletic experience.
So, I got transferred to Seoul. I went to work in the same railroad group, but [I
had] two much more important jobs. [My jobs were] to play ball and to work on
the $1,800 report. That report was, every day seven days a week, 365 days a
year, you had to account for every piece of rolling stock on the railroad. That's
what the communications group provided the backbone for, but somebody had to
be in charge of the $1,800 report. I ended up being in charge of the $1,800
P: This is now after the Armistice?
M: This is after the truce was signed, right.
P: You were installed right at the thirty-eighth parallel, close to it?
P: How would you assess that experience? How did that impact your life?
M: Well, it was very interesting. First of all, there were still some hostilities going on.
The difficulties we had, quite frankly, were [that] it was impossible for us to tell a
North Korean from a South Korean. I mean this business in Iraq [American
occupation in 2003] kind of reminds me of what went on there. Whenever we left
our compound, which was guarded twenty-four hours a day with live ammunition,
we had to travel in groups. I honestly don't remember any incidents that ever
occurred, except one. It was unusual, well, for us anyway, growing up near New
York City. It was a very poor, rural area. None of the agricultural practices [were
recognizable to me], and I grew up on Long Island where truck farming was the
way of life. Their agricultural practices were completely different. They just grew
rice. There was very little of any mechanization. Of course, when you think of
Korea now being an industrial powerhouse, it's almost a paradox how that
country just converted itself so quickly from next to nothing. [They had] no main
roads, no transportation arteries, [and] no harbors of any sense. I mean the
railroad was about it back then.
P: When you left Korea you came back to New York. You're father has passed
away and you were a stock broker for a time?
M: Yes. My dad knew there was something really wrong with him, because he
transferred all his accounts into an old friend's [company], Howard Bates of the
Bates Company. When my dad passed away, Howard Bates and Howard
Devann, who is a very good friend of the family, talked me into coming to work
with Bates and handling my father's accounts. I lasted about a year, I guess. I
really did not like it.
P: Did you not also study engineering at New York University?
M: I did. While I was working on the [Wall] Street, I was going to school at night up
in Washington Heights. After being out of the country for so long and [after]
whatever plans you might have had, being sidetracked by your father's death, I
guess you might say I was a little restless. But I didn't like it. One of the reasons
I didn't like it is because I saw, and I guess that was because it was during tough
times, during the Depression and during WWII, [that] when my dad would work,
he'd work six days a week. We used to go into the city with him on Saturday and
help him with his books. He just kind of went down. I was kind of concerned. [I
decided] I'm not going to spend my life driving to Long Island Railroad station
every morning, taking the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station, getting the
express to Fourteenth Street, changing and getting the local to Wall Street and
then doing the same thing on the way home, and for about five months out of the
year going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark.
P: At this time you really knew you wanted to be an engineer?
M: No, I didn't know what I wanted to be, quite frankly.
P: Well, let me skip ahead a little bit to the time when you come to Palm Beach. I
think when you first came to Palm Beach you were a land surveyor for a local
developer. Is that right?
M: I actually came to Florida based on my Wall Street experience. In the year I was
working with Bates and Company, that's the time when this new phenomenon
was introduced called mutual funds. There were several of us youngsters who
the Bates people asked to go to mutual funds school and learn about the mutual
funds industry so that they could market the mutual funds through their
brokerage firms. So, I went to mutual funds school. I had a couple of pals in
mutual funds school with me who were a little restless also. While we were in
mutual funds school, we got to know several of the entrepreneurs who had
started these mutual funds [such as] Jack Dreyfuss and Gavin Watson of
Value Line [and] people like that. They also wanted to market their funds, but
they didn't necessarily want to market them through brokerages. So we'd have
guest speakers at the school and afterwards we'd have cocktails. A lot of
conversation went on about, how would you fellows like to come and work for
us. So, lo and behold, four of us, who all were at different firms and all kind of
looked at life the same way, decided we would sign a working agreement with a
about three or four of those funds. So we did. We signed a working agreement
with Federated, with Value Line, with Dreyfuss, [and] with Knickerbocker. I
think that was it. We came to Florida.
We came to Ft. Lauderdale and opened a business called the Southern Planning
Corporation. We sold mutual funds. That lasted maybe a year or two. I had met
a young woman from here in West Palm Beach. I met her at one of my best
friend's weddings. She was in the wedding party with the bride and I was in the
wedding party for the groom. The bride and groom had met each other in
college, and this girl that I met was the bride's roommate. She was a native of
West Palm Beach, born and raised here. So, to make a long story short, I left the
mutual fund business and came up here to West Palm Beach. I went to work for
Brockway, Weber, & Brockway, which is an engineering and surveying firm here
in West Palm.
P: Let me get to your beginning at what was then known as the Central and
Southern Florida Flood Control District. The story is that you were coming out to
get a permit of some sort in 1965 and ended up with a job.
M: Well, it was kind of like that. In the intervening time between then [where we
were in the story] and now [to the point in time that you're asking me about], I got
married to this young lady. We spent a year in the Bahamas. When I came back
from the Bahamas, in 1960, we had a son, Michael. I went to work with another
engineer, an old timer, here. His name was Carl Riddle. He had an identical
twin brother. Both of them graduated as engineers from the University of Kansas
and came to Florida. Carl's twin brother, Kenyon, was Addison Mizner's
engineer. Carl was Harry Kelsey's engineer, who developed Kelsey City, which
we now know as Lake Park in Palm Beach Gardens. Well, I worked with Carl
doing engineering and land surveying in a lot of the early developments that were
going on in the early 1960s. That's how I happened to be getting a permit at the
Back in those days, they didn't really have a regulatory program, but if you came
across their right-of-way, which they had a proprietary right in, you had to get
their permission. Lo and behold, I was getting the permission from a young
fellow who I knew very well because we officiated football games together. So,
he took me in to meet the chief engineer and before the day was over, I had two
job offers, one from Bill Brannen and one from Bob Taylor. Bill Brannen ran
the design group and Bob Taylor ran the H and H, or Hydraulics and Hydrology,
group. Bob Taylor offered me $.10 more an hour. So, I took the job and Bill
Brannen never let me forget. I sold him out for $.10 an hour.
P: So, you went to work in the Hydraulics and Hydrology group?
M: [I was working in the] Hydraulics and Hydrology [group] as an Engineer 1, I think,
[for] $6,300 a year. I was happy to get it. At that time, my family had grown. I
had three children.
P: You work there at H and H until 1974, when the executive director resigns.
Then, you are, for a period of around six months, the interim executive director.
In January of 1975 you were appointed executive director. Is that correct?
M: Well, what happened [was that] in the early years we didn't have much of an
administrative organization. As a matter of fact, the executive director, Ed Dale,
was like a one-man show. The district was just in its formative stages. The
[Army] Corps [of Engineers] was beginning construction on a lot of the features of
the C&SF [Central and Southern Flood Control] project. At that point in time our
emphasis was on the acquisition of right-of-way, because we were the local
sponsor for the project, and the operation and maintenance of the completed
works. Nobody knew who we were because we were an organization that was
really in a fledgling stage. But in the late 1960s, when a lot of this work began to
be completed and we began to become operational in a bigger way, the picture
changed quite a bit in terms of additional duties and responsibilities. For
instance, [we had] coordination with local government and [we were] finally
showing up at different places and informing people [of] who we were and what
we did and what this C&SF project was about.
As time grew on, it was just impossible for Ed to keep up with anything. He was
just called upon to be in three different places at once, particularly in these three
counties down here, Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, where a lot of the work
was going on. At that time, the management structure at the water management
district [had] three principal players. There was Ed Dale who was the executive
director who had been appointed by Farris Bryant [Florida governor, 1961-1965].
Ed had been a hospital administrator before that, and when this flood control
district was begun, they needed to have a competent person to head it up
because it was going to be important and it was just beginning. There was Ed
Dale [and] there was Bill Storch [William V. Storch], who was the chief engineer.
Bill was another New Yorker who went to Columbia [University] and went to work
with the highway department in New York and ultimately came down to Florida.
Then there was Bob Grafton [Robert Grafton, Flood Control District (FCD)
attorney] who was the general counsel at the time. Bob was a Florida boy who
went to the University of Florida and, at the time he was tapped to be the general
counsel for the district, he was a city judge in West Palm Beach. So those three
gentlemen were kind of the braintrust of the district.
It became apparent that Ed needed some help because Bill was busy on the
engineering and land acquisition, right-away design kind of things and Bob was
busy on the legal side. They couldn't provide assistance, so I was asked if I
would leave H and H and come downstairs and go to work with Ed. That was in
the spring of 1970. So, I worked in the executive office from the spring of 1970.
My title at first was director of planning, and then I was elevated to assistant
director of operations and planning, and then, ultimately, to assistant director. Ed
had some health problems. I remember when Ed went to Canada to have an
operation for a double hernia. In all those years, all that tremendous pressure on
him really had taken its toll. So, Ed decided to step aside. I don't remember
what year that was, because I had been working very closely with Ed, Storch,
and Grafton, and we had another gentleman who was head of the operations and
maintenance group called Zeb Grant. It's interesting because Zeb Grant's
father-in-law had been one of the early directors of the water management
P: Let me read this into the record. A statement from Ed Dale, "I will be leaving the
office on Friday, September 20, 1974, to have a long-awaited operation. Mr.
Jack Maloy will serve as active executive director during my absence." So that
was the time that he stepped down to have his surgery. Now you were made
executive director. What process did you go through to get that appointment?
M: I honestly don't remember. Well, one thing that was very different about us [was
that] back in those days we only had a five-member board.
P: Obviously, you were appointed by the board.
M: Yes, I was appointed by the board.
P: Did you have interviews or were there other candidates?
M: I honestly don't recall.
P: Let me, if I may, take you through your career, and then I would like to go back
and ask you more specific questions about when you were executive director.
So you were going to stay on as executive director from 1975 to 1984, is that
correct? Why did you decide to resign in 1984?
M: Well, it was as much personal reasons as anything. At the time, we were
approaching our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and things were not going very
well. During the years when the district was growing it seemed like, and my
oldest son confirms this, I really missed out on some of the things that are
important when you're raising a family, because I spent so much time with the
district. I had a very large circle of friends here in West Palm Beach, and my wife
at the time was a very capable and confident person herself. She had a couple
of businesses of her own and she was in politics, she was a mayor. She had
built up a circle of friends. The two circles really didn't intersect, so I just kind of
felt that if we were ever going to resolve our problems [it should be now],
because at this point all of our children were grown, two of them were out of
college and the third one, Patrick, was a junior at Furman [University] at the time.
This should have been a time when we had a lot of time to ourselves to do a lot
of the things we wanted to do, but it didn't seem like things were clicking. So, I
just felt that if there was going to be an opportunity to get things back together,
we just needed to have a change of venue.
P: So this was more personal than professional?
M: Oh, yes. I didn't have a professional problem.
P: At this point, and let's just quickly get up to date, you went to work for A. Duda &
Sons, Inc.. Is that correct?
M: Yes, I went to work for [A.] Duda & Sons [Inc.].
P: What is the change in your attitude when you're working for water management
district and then you go work for a developer?
M: Well, Duda wasn't in the development business then. No, they were just in agro-
business. It was during my tenure there that we moved into the development
business. Quite frankly, I've never looked at it that way. I've been in the private
sector for just as long as I've been in the public sector, and I really don't have a
different attitude. I think some things are easier done in one sector and some
things are easier done in the other sector, but I never approached issues with a
different point of view or a different attitude because I was either in the public or
P: There was a guy you may know, Bob Rhodes. When he went to work for Arvida,
one of his main goals was to create a more sensitive attitude on the part of
Arvida toward growth management. Did you have any idealistic goal like that
when you were working in private industry?
M: No, not when I went to work for Duda, because I was moving into a completely
different arena and a completely different line of business. I went from flood
control to farming, and I was in a different water management district.
P: Would you talk a little bit about the 1972 Water Management Act, because, as I
recall, you were on the governor's Land Use and Planning Task Force. I
understand they had quite a bit of significant input into the Florida Water
Resources Act of 1972.
M: Yes, shortly after Governor [Reubin] Askew became governor of Florida [1971-
1979] along came the 1971 drought. It was right on the heels of one of the
wettest periods in the last fifty or sixty years. [In] 1967, 1968, and 1969, we had
144 inches of rain. That was a wetter period than 1948 and 1949 that created
the district. Right after that we entered into a drought. So in 1971, which was
probably the first real drought after World War II, where the population had grown
so much that it was noticeable that there was a drought and it had impact, there
were some problems in Miami and some of the other coastal cities with their well
fields. They had to reduce pumpage. One of the interesting issues that came up
was, there were a lot of people, and particularly politicians, who wanted to know,
who's in charge [and] who could do something about this. The truth of the matter
was, there wasn't anybody in charge. From a localized perspective, the county
commission might have been in charge of some things in the county, but, from a
regional perspective for the southeast region, there was no entity who could
assess the situation in the coastal areas and make some recommendations and
have the authority to carry them out.
There was also a great deal of concern about the growth that was going on.
Because post-World War II south Florida just [grew]. After the 1950s, south
Florida just took off and started to grow. There was a lot of concern about the
situation where we just went through one of the wettest periods on record and
now we've got a record drought. It doesn't seem like we have planned properly
for it. It doesn't seem like we've got an entity in place who can oversee this kind
of thing. It seems like, as far as the future of the state is concerned, maybe we
should be doing some things about that.
P: Let me interrupt you. By 1960 and 1961, had you already started some water
M: No, that was the other district in Tampa.
P: You had not done anything at all in that area?
M: We were only in flood control. So Governor Askew had one of his advisors, a
young fellow by the name of [Joseph W.] "Jay" Landers, who later on became the
DER [Department of Environmental Regulation] secretary. So "Jay" Landers was
kind of dispatched by the governor's group down to south Florida to enter into
some kind of discussions and determine what could be done. There were a lot of
issues. There was the land-planning issue, the growth-management issue, [and]
now this new issue about water supply. As a result of our discussions, Jay asked
us to help and we created a governor's conference. I think it was called the
Governor's Conference on Water Management, if I'm not mistaken. Anyway, it
was held in a hotel in Miami Beach.
P: I believe it was the Governor's Land Use Planning Task Force.
M: No, that came out of this meeting. It's written up. The district has, or did have, a
publication called In-Depth. One of the issues of that In-Depth was dedicated
totally to this conference, not only the issues but the report of the conference is
captured almost verbatim. Also, all the participants names are in the report. This
group met in Miami and the group was broken up into maybe three or four
different groups. At the end of the conference, which lasted two and a half days,
there was a plenary session in which these groups provided their
recommendations. As a result of that, there was a report that was submitted to
the governor. In that report was the formation of this group, this Land and Water
Planning Task Force. That group met in River Rancheros, up on the Kissimmee
River by Highway 60.
Out of that group came the drafting of the five or six bills that went to the 1972
legislature. The reason for that is because some of the people on that task force
[brought previously written codes with them]. [Professor] Fred Bosselman, who is
with the Urban Land Institute, had brought the Urban Land Institute's land code
with him. The dean of the Florida Law School at the time, Frank Maloney, had
brought with him his Bottle Water Code. They were members of that task force.
We also had legislators. [State] Senator Bob Graham [1970-1978] [was
involved]. We had House members, we had Senate members from the House
and Senate and the Florida Legislature. We had some local politicians, and we
had a lot of resource people.
Out of that group that stayed in River Rancheros for a couple of days came the
drafting of the legislation. One of the unusual things about that group,
recognizing that we were kind of on the cutting edge of environmental legislation,
[is that] when you look at [those bills] in their initial stage, there are a lot of things
in those bills which seem to be duplicative. There was a very good reason for
that. Since the Florida legislature had no track record on passing environmental
legislation, there was some question as to whether [the bills would pass].
Nobody in their fondest imagination thought all five bills would pass. Most people
were concerned that maybe only one bill would pass, maybe at the most, two.
So there was a lot of language put in all of those vehicles so that if one did pass,
there was an opportunity to do something about the water issue and about the
land-planning issue. Well, much to our surprise, all of them passed.
One of the things we found out when we managed the Land Use Planning Task
Force [was that] the state of Florida had a Bureau of Planning that was under the
Bureau of the Budget. [laughing] I mean, as a state, we hadn't even elevated
planning to a status where we were [giving it its own division]. We were kind of
looking at a problem without anything to attack it with. So, we made a lot of
recommendations. We elevated the planning to the Division of State Planning
under the Department of Administration. We made a lot of changes in just
elevating planning to it's appropriate status as a state function. [It was] the
forerunner of growth management. The Land and Water bills were passed; the
Water Resources Bill was passed; there was another thing passed which created
areas of critical state concern; [and] there was another bill passed that created a
bond issue because of Fred Boselman's group, the Urban Land Institute. They
had done a lot of legal work in terms of, if you were going to go in the arena of
regulation, particularly the regulation of private property rights, there was a
feeling that if there was a public purpose for it, probably the concept would be
affirmed. But there would also most likely be a requirement that the private
property owner be compensated. So, there was no fund of money anywhere to
do that. One of the reasons for that initial bond issue was, if this regulatory
framework was to go forward in terms of land use, you might be successful, but,
just for the lack of a funding mechanism, you'd win the battle and lose the war.
So, that was the concept behind one of the early [bond issues].
There were two amendments on the ballot statewide. It was called One and Two
Lands for You, that was the slogan. At any rate, that was the concept behind it.
That was on the land planning side. On the water management side, most of
Dean Maloney's work was just kind of lifted out of his book, except for Part Three
of the act which was put in there by a legislator from Fort Meyers. I think his
name was Ted Randall. Ted was very concerned about well drilling. That was
not something that was in the dean's initial legislative proposal, but it was added.
P: What was Part Three?
M: [It] was well drilling, contracting, and licensing.
P: You had to set up permitting?
M: Actually, it was a licensing of well drillers.
P: Otherwise, you followed Maloney's water code closely.
M: Well, obviously you have to understand [that] when all these bills went before the
legislature there were a lot of amendments, so the initial submission was exactly
the way the dean had laid it out. I think there were some changes by some of the
amendments. One of the things that caught us off guard was, we had drafted
this legislation to amend Chapter 378, but the statutory revisions people decided
not to use 378 and [to] use 373, which was a little known statute. In codifying
what the legislature did and putting it into statutory language, there might have
been a few things that changed slightly, but, on the whole, it was the way the
dean had set it up.
P: There were legislative hearings and there would have been testimony from all
interested groups. Do you remember anything about what the farmers might
have wanted out of the bill or what the environmentalists might have argued for?
M: Well, you have to understand that there was a little strategy involved in the
process. We were going from absolutely no regulatory framework to a
framework where everybody who used water in the state of Florida, except
domestic homeowners, would now have to get a permit. Well, the bit of the
strategy that kind of moved us over the top was, any existing user of Florida had
two years to apply for the permit and basically would be automatically granted [it].
So, in a sense, we grandfathered in all the existing users, and it was only users
who would come to Florida in the future who would really have to stand the three-
prong test. There might have been one or two situations where there was a use
that was going on that might have been causing damage to the resource, but
basically those issues were mostly played down and most of the agricultural
people were more or less grandfathered in. They had to perfect their right by
applying for a permit, but it was almost perfunctory because at that point in time
there weren't any rules written. Basically, both the municipal users and the
agricultural users were granted that honeymoon period where they would
administratively apply for a permit. I would imagine 99 percent of those
applications just moved right on through the process and they became permitted,
legal water users. It was the future everyone was worried about, not the present
as much. This is 1971, now. People were beginning to talk about Florida
running out of water. It's funny that you kind of heard that just a year and a half
ago, but I think that was one of the issues that kind of calmed the waters, you
might say, in terms of the hearings.
Most of the hearings were held in Tallahassee in front of the legislative
committees. I don't recall very strident objections on the water side. There were
a lot of concerns on the land use side. But of all of those hearings that were held
on all of those bills, some of those comments and some of those objections, were
the basis for some of the amendments to the original legislation that was
submitted, in terms of what ultimately passed.
P: That's a big problem. There were a lot of amendments. How did you incorporate
all of those amendments into a final bill?
M: Basically, those kinds of things are pretty much handled in the legislative
process. In the course of a sixty day session, the target is moving pretty rapidly.
Almost every time these committees would have a meeting, there would be
comments and there would be the introduction of some amendments. Then,
those amendments would be debated. Some would voted up [and] some would
be voted down. Those would have to be incorporated in the original draft that
was submitted. It was left to the statutory revision group to take the final product
that the legislature passed and put it into a statue. That group was headed by a
fellow by the name of Ernie Means. Quite frankly, the way the thing was
originally setup, it was just supposed to amend Chapter 378. As I mentioned,
when it came out of the Statutory Revision Commission, it was a complete
rewrite of Chapter 373. When you look back at it, we were very concerned at the
moment when that happened that maybe something was left out or the meaning
was changed, but it has stood the test of time.
P: So you were satisfied with the final bill when it came out?
M: At that point in time, I was kind of a neophyte in this business. I was kind of in
the trenches, and what we were concentrating on at the time was, trying to get a
piece of legislation passed. What's that story about if you like sausage, you
should watch them make it? That's kind of where we were. There were people
on the land use/land planning side who were in the same situation. There were a
lot of us who were simply trying to get a piece of legislation through the
legislature, and we were willing to make conciliatory arrangements as long as the
concept behind Dean Maloney's approach was held pretty much in tact. It was
an interesting time.
P: You were surprised that all five bills passed. Why do you think they passed at
[End of side Al]
M: When I look back at the legislature at that point in time, [I understand] that [in] the
two decades before the 1970s, the legislature was pretty much controlled by
conservative north Florida people. I think they called it the Porkchop Gang. In
the early 1970s, this new group of legislators moved on the scene. [There were
people] like Marshall Harris from Miami. There were people like that who, quite
frankly, had a slightly different perspective about the future of Florida. We were
experiencing a lot of changes here in south Florida that weren't being
experienced in north Florida. I think their approach to this was a little different.
Some of the north Florida legislators, like Gus Crane from St. Augustine, who
had been very, very conservative, I think they began to recognize that there was
some validity to the concerns of these other legislators from the other part of
Florida who looked at Florida in a little different light. [They saw it] as an
emerging state that would, over the next decade or so, really move up into the
upper tier of states in terms of population. [Florida's] growth was amazing, and I
think they recognized that as long as this thing doesn't affect us here in north
Florida too much, we'll go along with it. I mean, that's my personal take on it. I
think events that occurred after that bore that out, [events] such as the millage
rate that was set for the Northwest Florida Water Management District. The fact
that some of the really conservative areas of the state voted against the
constitutional amendment for taxation, that was an indication that Florida was
kind of divided a little bit in terms of how its elected officials looked at the future
P: How important was Governor Askew in the passage of these bills?
M: Because of the people that he had worked with in the legislature like Lawton
Chiles [Florida state senator, 1967-71; state representative, 1959-1967], Phil
Lewis, and people like that, I think that he recognized, as the governor of the
entire state, that there were really significant issues that had to be dealt with in
the more popular areas of the state. I think his influence in this process was very
P: Talk about the process in which the constitutional amendment for taxation would
set up ad valorem taxes for water management districts. How did you and the
government and the governor get the support for the passage of that
M: Well, prior to the 1968 constitutional revision, the legislature had the authority to
grant local governments the right to levy taxes. The Central and Southern
Florida Flood Control District was given its right to levy ad valorem taxes by the
legislature when it was formed in 1949. The Southwest Florida Water
Management District was given the right by the legislature when it was formed in
the early 1960s. So, there were two big water management districts, one a flood
control district [and] one a water management district, that already had ad
valorem taxing authority. [They] represent thirty-five counties of the sixty-seven.
More than that, it represented a major portion of the population of Florida.
Because of the fact that these three new water management districts, which were
created by the legislation, did not have taxing authority and the legislature could
not grant it, there was a concern about how they were going to fund these three
districts. There was quite a debate that went on about whether or not the
legislature was willing to fund the three new districts out of their regular state
budget. As a result of that, [people wondered] whether they would be able to go
forward the same way that the two older districts who had taxing authority were
able to do it, because they really were, more or less, in charge of their own
finances. There were a lot of legal issues about whether or not the authority
granted to the two taxing districts was somehow changed by this new legislation
which may have affected their ability to levy a tax. Well, the debate just raged on
for more than a year. There were heartfelt opinions on both sides of the issue.
Well, finally the determination was made that we would go to the voters
and ask the voters to grant the three new water management districts the right to
levy an ad valorem tax and affirm the right for the two existing districts. That
was, more or less, felt to be the best strategy; then it would be a fairly clear
issue. So, it was placed on the ballot and there was a lot of the legislators who
had participated in the legislation and a lot of the people who had been involved
in supporting the legislation and speaking in favor of it. More or less, [these
people] campaigned locally with their local groups and with their local newspaper
and television stations, which there weren't many back then, about the
importance of having this constitutional referendum be affirmed so that the two
existing districts, the thirty-five counties, could continue the work they had been
doing for several years and that the new districts could then be formed and be
reasonably self-sustaining as far as their finances were concerned.
The funny thing about this though [is that] when it came out of the legislature, the
ability to put it on the ballot, there was an amendment that limited the amount of
millage that could be assessed in the Northwest Florida Management District.
Obviously, that was the same story with the north Florida legislators and the
south Florida legislators. It was that or no bill at all. So, when it went to the
people to vote, surprisingly, in the thirty-five counties in which the districts
already had taxing authority, it passed with a wide plurality. In the remaining
counties that had no taxing authority and were not under a water district of any
kind, it failed. Because of the plurality that was enjoyed in the two districts that
had taxing authority on a statewide basis, it passed. There was a big sigh of
There were people who challenged it even then by legal action, but over the
years it sustained itself. I don't remember; I'd have to look back at the coverage.
I don't remember how many statewide newspapers really supported [it], but I do
remember that in the areas experiencing the largest growth at the time, in the
early 1970s, those papers [in] Miami, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, all
supported the Constitutional amendment. I don't remember what the
Jacksonville paper did, but I do remember that it failed in those counties in that
area. I don't remember what Pensacola did, quite frankly.
P: Has the lower millage been a detriment for northwest Florida?
M: You're asking me for an opinion now, because I have not spent a lot of time in
their area and I am not totally familiar with their issues. It was felt on the part of
the north Florida legislators back then that growth was not a big issue for them.
They really weren't concerned because they didn't need the same kind of
approach to the problem that we really needed in some of the faster growing
areas of the state. Probably in the first ten or fifteen years after the water
management districts were formed, that was probably the case in north Florida, It
is not the case today. It is definitely not the case today. As a matter of fact, their
problems aren't as onerous as some of the problems of the other, more
established districts where the growth has been larger because they have
interstate problems. Most of their water comes from Georgia and Alabama. In
retrospect, I would say it was a little short-sided, but that's looking at it like a
Monday morning quarterback does.
It was the way the rest of the state could move forward, and it was very important
for the rest of the state to move forward. We, more or less, just closed ranks and
went forward. We tried to help our water management district compatriots in that
area with trying to form a water management district and do the other things the
other water managements districts were doing.
P: The final boundaries were set in 1976, but at one time there were six water
management districts instead of five.
M: There was a holding district. I'm trying to remember what this was called.
P: Was this organized by the Department of Natural Resources from 1969 to 1975?
In 1975, it became DER [Department of Environmental Regulation].
M: There was a bureau within that. I can still the man who was in charge of that
bureau, but I can't recall his name. He was a big, heavy-set guy who was [at the]
Bureau of Geology. I may stand corrected on that. When the legislation was
passed, that division of that department and that particular division were given
the responsibility to come back to the legislature with recommendations for final
boundaries. During the intervening time, while that study was going on, these
other counties that were not in a district were kind of placed in a holding district.
The sixth district, as I remember, was called the Ridge and Lower Gulf Coast
District. It, more or less, took the counties that were in between the two older
districts, the two original taxing districts. These counties were not in either of
those two or they were going to be transferred away from those two or added to
those two. The issue of what exact boundaries, that was left to a
recommendation. That was fairly hotly debated, as I recall. But the final
boundaries were set. At that point in time, once the boundaries were set, that
sixth district ceased to exist.
P: Do you feel like the basis for the boundaries were sound then and are sound
now? Obviously, there have been some changes over time. I guess part of the
problem is that they are over political boundaries.
M: Well, not really. I'll give you an example. The original Central and Southern
Florida Flood Control District had Indian River [County], Brevard [County], and
parts of Seminole and Volusia Counties in it. That was not part of the south
Florida watershed. That was the headwaters of the St. Johns River. There were
other exceptions to that where the boundaries that were ultimately formed, with a
few exceptions, [were formed] as close to watershed boundaries as possible
considering there were other political jurisdictions. The concept was to try to
conform as closely as possible to watershed boundaries. Now, there were
problems in the Orlando area, because Orlando kind of sits up on plateau. Water
moves away from Orlando in a northeast direction to form Econlockhatchee and
Oklawaha Rivers which ultimately flow into the St. Johns [River]. From the south
[they flow] into Shingle, Boggy, and Reedy Creek, which ultimately flow into the
Kissimmee [River]. [Flowing] to the west is the Withlacoochee [River] and the
Green Swamp. So, that was the exception [where we wondered,] how do we
place this in a fast growing area, because Disney was getting a foothold then?
[We wondered,] how do we do the boundaries there? So, yes, there were some
lines that were moved. Some of those lines were moved to physical things that
were built that really changed the watershed boundaries. One of those was the
P: Would you define exactly what this bill meant when it referred to water
M: Recognize that the basis of these two older districts was a federally approved
flood control project that would be constructed by the Corps of Engineers and it
would be operated and maintained by a state sponsor, which happened to be
these two districts. [The districts] would operate and manage the flood control
works in accordance with the design manuals of the Corps of Engineers and
would hold and save the federal government __ There was agricultural water
supply in those two House documents. There was an expressed prohibition for
those projects to provide municipal water supply benefits. There was not federal
legislation to authorize any municipal water supply benefits to these flood control
When Florida looked at its problems in the early 1970s, one of the problems was
[the chance of] running out of water. Well, water for whom? Obviously, [this was]
water for people. [It was] also for agriculture, but basically for people. There was
no provision in the federal projects for that. So, one of the basic tools of Dean
Maloney's approach was water supply for both agriculture and population. So,
the water management kind of filled out your menu in terms of the things that you
really needed to provide for in a fast growing state: public water supply,
agricultural water supply, [and] flood protection. One of the things that was in the
federal legislation was benefits for fish and wildlife and for recreation. So, we
already had those authorities at the flood control district.
We didn't have any regulatory authority over water use, either agricultural or
urban. We didn't have any kind of planning for water supply, either agricultural or
urban except as provided for in these federal authorized projects. So, what water
management did was, provide a much broader approach to the hydrologic cycle,
not just getting rid of the water when it fell but providing storage. There were
provisions in both the Four River Basins Project and the Central and Southern
Florida Flood Control Project for water supply and for carry-over water supply.
For instance, in south Florida we have the conservation areas. That's why the
Southwest Florida Water Management District acquired the Green Swamp.
Basically, it didn't go beyond our ability to plan and acquire. We had no authority
to regulate anybody's water use. At the time, it felt kind of necessary that back in
those days [there was] the issue of, well, if there is a limited supply, how are we
going to make it more elastic? One of the concerns was, well, let's do some
planning and let's do some regulation of water use so we can make it more
P: Now we're talking here about water quantity and not water quality?
M: No, [we're] not [talking about] water quality because the state, in its wisdom,
initially put the responsibility for water quality in a separate entity.
P: That was DER [Department of Environmental Regulation]?
M: Yes, and that happened after these. When you look back at the fabric of Florida
government, back in those days there was a Health Department and there was a
Department of Pollution Control, and they were separate entities. Then, there
was a group who, under the governor and cabinet, were called the Trustees of
the Internal Improvement Trust Fund. All of those agencies had something to do
with water quality. The water management districts, quite frankly, did not at that
stage of the game. The formation of the Department of Environmental
Regulation was an attempt by the legislature to kind of take all the agencies,
which had something to do not only with water quality but with waste and with air,
and put it into a single agency. At the time, we were experiencing pollution
problems, particularly with point-to-source pollution from both air and water.
There was kind of an acknowledgment that our growth was happening so fast
that there were a lot of different areas that needed attention, so the legislature
took the Department of Water Pollution Control.
P: What was the relationship between your district and DER [Department of
Environmental Regulation] when you were executive director?
M: Well, one of the things that occurred after the legislature created the DER and
did away with some of the other agencies involvement in some of these issues
[was that] it was necessary to appoint a director for the new Department of
Environmental Regulation. It turned out to be the young man who I had worked
together with in putting together the governor's conference; it turned out to be
[Joseph W.] "Jay" Landers. Jay and I already had a kind of a strong working
relationship with each other. So, when Jay became the DER director, we worked
together to try to implement the legislation. One of the things we did was co-
locate the DER's office with our office. We offered them office space in our
building in order to get the two agencies working together and thinking together
in terms of solving water quality and water quantity issues. It was difficult at first
to convince people that the water quantity agency needed to be involved at all in
water quality issues. But it's hard to separate that molecule of water into one that
is causing floods or one that is the water supply and one that is just a quality
P: Did DER have any administrative control over the water management districts?
M: Well, it's interesting because when the legislation was passed, in 1972, it had to
report to somebody. At that time, the cabinet was sitting as the Department of
Natural Resources. So, the original legislation envisioned these districts
reporting to the governor and cabinet, the Board of the Department of Natural
Resources. In subsequent legislative sessions that was changed. I can't
remember what the original language of Chapter 373 said, but I know it's been
amended since then. I think it said, original supervisory oversight or something
of that nature was to be provided by the governor and cabinet. The arm of the
governor and cabinet was the Department of Natural Resources, which was at
that time overseen by, as I recall, Randolph Hodges. But during the
reorganization, when the DER was formed and that was changed, the general
language in Chapter 373 now fell onto the new director of the Department of
Over the years there have often been issues over the role of the secretary of the
Department of Environmental Regulation as opposed to the role of the governing
boards of the water management districts. During my tenure, because there was
so much work being done under the new legislation, I don't recall any major
issues about that. I don't even think it came up, as a matter of fact, under
Governor Askew or under Governor [Bob] Graham [1979-1987]. We all seem to
be just all moving in the same direction, because we had a tremendous
responsibility because we were a brand new agency with brand new
responsibilities and learning part of our business for the first time.
P: Let me go back and talk about your time as executive director. What would you
recall as the most critical issues you dealt with while you were executive director?
M: Well, as a flood control district, other than either tropical storms or hurricanes,
which are kind of just par for the course because that's why you're in business,
one of the critical issues to me was the rate of growth, not only of our agency but
of our system, and our ability to keep pace with it in terms of our new added
responsibilities of being involved as a co-partner in water management and land
use. I guess the first issue that was a concern was, how to form a regulatory
program. Recognizing that we went from a proprietary situation where we only
required permits for people who crossed our right-of-way to a situation where
anybody who was involved in drainage had to come to us for a permit. So, the
initial concern for me was to form a regulatory program which had as its
framework a supporting role to our backbone flood control system and also a
supporting role to local land use decisions. When we first sat down to write the
rules, after the legislation was passed, Dean Maloney was still alive at the time
and was helping us write those rules for a Part 4 of Chapter 373 permitting
system. I guess it became known over the next couple of decades as the
environmental permitting system. It went through several overhauls. But to us,
the original challenge was to take eighteen counties, which is an area larger than
the state of New Jersey, with no regulatory framework and design and implement
a regulatory framework simultaneously for that entire area. That was a bit of a
16: How about wetlands protection, was that a critical issue?
M: That didn't come until later. Until the Warren Henderson Act [of 1984] was
passed, most of stuff like wetlands and mitigation and things like that occurred
either at the end of my tenure as a water management district director or shortly
thereafter. So, I really wasn't involved too much in those issue, but [I was] not at
all surprised by them because the process had been moving in that direction
since the early 1970s. It was kind of getting people's consciousness about their
environment [to the level where there was] more of a concern to people.
Particularly, [their consciousness was raised] from the point of view of how that
environment would be impacted by this tremendous growth machine. That was
all played on the same stage with growth management and the cleaning up of
water and air pollution and just attempting to provide quality of life. It was the
quality-of-life issue in terms of good flood control, water supply planning and
regulation. [Then we would ask,] how does that interact and how is it impacted by
growth management and by land use decisions. You know, surprisingly, it's very
difficult to separate those two, but they are separate by law and they are
separate by jurisdiction. Even today, there are some contradictory things where
the values of both those issues are not maximized by decisions. That's because
we operate in a political environment. Sometimes it's not always easy to
maximize land use values and water management values. One has to go [either]
in front of the other or one behind the other.
P: How important was land purchase during your period of time? What major tracts
did you acquire?
M: There weren't any during my tenure. Right near the end of my career is when we
first did the Documentary Stamp Tax Bill. We, quite frankly, had used two things.
The state legislature had a fund called the Water Resources Development
Account. That fund could be tapped by the water management districts for water
storage lands. So, the water storage lands that we were acquiring at that stage
of the game were basically In the conservation areas, we did not own all of
the fee title, we owned flowage easements. People who owned the underlying
fee were trying to exercise the mineral rights and were trying to get some value
for whatever stake they held in the land, which was mostly mineral rights. They
wanted to drill for oil or they wanted to mine them up or they wanted to dig the
rock. So, we used the water resources development account to acquire water
I mentioned before, the three counties that were originally in our district, Brevard,
Indian River, and parts of Volusia and Seminole. We acquired back from private
ownership a lot of the original St. Johns Marsh, the headwaters of the St. Johns
River with those WRDA dollars. Later on, the St. Johns District, because of
expanded water bond issues, was able to acquire the remainder of the original
upper St. Johns flood plain. The basis for our acquisition of water storage lands
was that it had to be a congressionally approved project. The basis of the St.
Johns later acquisition was just based on a restoration project. It didn't
necessarily need to be tied to a federal project, but they changed the project in
the upper St. Johns so that those two issues worked together. Basically, our
land acquisition was mostly of canal rights of way for the flood control canals to
be built, and the water storage lands where the conservation areas [were
P: I do recall, I believe during your tenure, that one of the levees collapsed and
there was severe flooding.
M: No, that was the Florida Power and Light Reservoir. What happened [was that]
before we were granted the permitting authority, that we ultimately got as a result
of 373, the Florida Power and Light Company built a reservoir for cooling water
for a major plant that they were going to build in Martin County on the east side
of Lake Okeechobee in the vicinity of Indian Town. They had come to us first
and they wanted to take water out of Lake Okeechobee to cool their electric
generators. We told them, no. They had to cross our right-of-way to get there,
so they had to see us about that. So, they decided to build a reservoir
themselves. Of course, in those days, there was nobody acting in an
authoritative way. It was built in the vicinity of the Lake Okeechobee levee and
that was the reservoir that failed. There was a piping incident and the levee gave
way. There was about 70,000 or 80,000 acre feet of water [that] spilled out of
that. It was a very confined area. The Lake Okeechobee levee was on one side,
the St. Lucie Canal levee was along the bottom, the Florida Power and Light
reservoir was on the other side, and then the Northern Slough levee was on the
The flooding was confined mostly to sugar cane and some trailer parks and a few
residences in the sparsely developed part of Martin County just east of
Okeechobee. We actually got the flood waters off that land. We actually did
save the sugar cane crop. They still were able to harvest it. I remember the
Sanchez family was very concerned about that. Then, when that reservoir, which
was obviously very important for the operation of that power plant, which was
nearing completion, when that reservoir was rebuilt, it was under our jurisdiction.
It was built much differently than the original.
You can imagine my chagrin. I was awakened about two or three in the morning
by a call that had said that the Lake Okeechobee levee had failed. My pilot, I got
him out of bed and he came and got me in the helicopter. It was still in the
middle of the night and we flew out there. Here, I expected to see a hole in the
Lake Okeechobee dike. We circled. We saw all the water, but we couldn't tell
where it was coming from. Then, as dawn broke, we recognized that it wasn't
the Lake Okeechobee levee, it was the Florida Power and Light dike. Just about
that time we noticed another plane circling a little above us and it turned out it
was the chief engineer from the [Army] Corps [of Engineers] in Jacksonville. He
had gotten into a plane and flown down. He and I were very good friends and
worked together for many years. We kind of put our heads together and decided
how to get rid of this water. We brought in some fairly big machines and we cut
through the St. Lucie tie-back levee and we also ran our pump station and our
structures and we got the water off in less than a week.
It was interesting because it made national headlines. It was on the news.
When the water went down we got two or three surprises, one of which was there
were cars on 441 and as the water receded we finally saw the roofs of the cars.
We were concerned. [We thought,] oh, my God, people might have been trapped
in there. As it turned out, nobody was. Whether the people abandoned the cars
or how they came about to be there, whether they were disabled cars and just
happened to be there at the time of the flood or whether the water actually
moved them, [we weren't sure]. There was no loss of life. There were property
damages. FP&L [Florida Power & Light], obviously, had to pay for those property
damages. That was an indication that it was probably a good thing that we had
the regulatory authority, because when we rebuilt that reservoir, and it's been in
operation continuously since without incident, it came under our jurisdiction.
P: After ELMS [Endangered Land Management] was passed, it required a regional
impact statement. How important was your input into those statements?
M: I guess, you're talking about developments of regional impact. Well, what we
formed right away was a task group here in our water management district to
work in conjunction with the regional planning councils in reviewing the
developments of regional impact and giving the regional planning council a
written report about our comments on how the development would impact our
water supply [and] flood control. I don't think that in those days we were doing
anything on water quality, but we attended the regional planning council meetings
and we provided a report to the regional planning council on our concerns about
it. [We were] recognizing that ultimately the development would have to come
before us to be permitted. So, rather than just kind of sandbag the issue and
wait until they came to us, we felt that the more appropriate thing was for us to
participate from the very beginning. So, if we had concerns, we could express
them to the regional planning council and they could be expressed also to the
applicants. Ultimately, when the development order was written by the local
government, it would incorporate our concerns so that it would be permitted.
P: What would you say were the greatest strengths of the early water management
districts. You gave the example of when they rebuilt the reservoir. What other
strengths did the districts have?
M: Well, we had a lot of experience even though we weren't in the water supply
business. We had a cooperative agreement with the United States Geological
Survey. As a matter of fact, the state of Florida was the second largest national
cooperator with the United States Geological Survey, just behind the state of
California. We had gotten the United States Geological Survey to do a lot of
groundwater monitoring, particularly in the area of municipal water supply. We
had the benefit of the United States Geological records from as far back as the
1930s in both surface water and groundwater. So, when we became a
regulatory authority, we already had a lot of background information and a lot of
experience, I guess, in determining what impact the drainage and water supply
was having on water resources. That was a strength. We had some
cooperative programs with local governments also to do monitoring of surface
water and groundwater. From a quantity point of view, I think we were in a
relatively strong position. From a quality point of view, we didn't have any
information at all.
[End of side A2]
P: What would you say were some of the major weaknesses of the early water
M: In terms of the three new districts that were formed by the legislation, those nine-
member boards that were appointed by the governor [were a weakness],
recognizing you have a brand new group of people who are to set policy, board
members, and you have a brand new set of people to implement policy, and that
would be the staff members. Most of those positions were filled by people who
had no previous experience. I think, in the early days, just learning what
business they were in, was a real challenge. The two older districts just kind of
took things in stride and moved in new directions. In other words, we created a
Department of Environmental Sciences and began to bring biologists into the
mix. Before, it had been just engineers and engineering technicians and
hydrologists. We've now moved into an arena where it was necessary for us to
have land planning people and people who understood the natural sciences,
people who were lettered in the natural sciences. So, for us that was a new area
of involvement and we created an entirely new department to do that, which
became, initially, a difficult fit. For engineers and biologists to be thrown together
and work together with planners [was difficult], but over time, it's proven to be the
right formula. If you look at all the responsibilities of water management districts,
it's not just flood protection and water supply, it's also environmental
P: While we're on that, talk a little bit about how water management districts have
changed over the years. Do you think the districts now are better than the older
M: I'm not sure they're better. Their responsibilities are much, much broader. As a
result of that, in the early days of the district their mission was pretty direct. They
set out to build federal projects and to operate and maintain it and work with the
[Army] Corps [of Engineers]. I think they did an excellent job in doing that.
Nowadays that's just one element of their responsibility. Their responsibilities
have grown so broadly that in some areas of their activity they don't do as good a
job as they used to do. In some areas they do a much better job than they used
to do because they have a much more balanced approach to the decision
making process. Back in the days when we were just in a drainage mode with
your eye on the target your decision [was not as balanced]. The Kissimmee
River is a good example of that, where nowadays that Kissimmee River project
would never have been built the way it was built. [There were] the days when
drainage was the key and there was an attempt to get the project completed for
all parts of the district so that everybody could feel the benefits of flood
A good example of that is the upper St. Johns [River]. That project was
completely changed, but one of the benefits of the change was the state itself
moving into large land acquisition programs and supporting those land
acquisition programs with a documentary stamp tax. [It was] a provision where
the real estate transactions in a fast growing state generate a tremendous
amount of revenue. Pledging that revenue for land acquisition was, I think, an
excellent decision that the state made. That's been a big help in the water
management district. It's been a big help in other areas.
I think the one thing that concerns me though, is that I would like to see the water
management districts try a little less to be all things to all people. What I mean
by that [is], because these major regional governments, and that's what water
management districts are, have taxing authority and can more or less control
their own fate in terms of financing, and because the assessed evaluation of real
property in these districts has grown so much, these water management districts
are a source of enormous funding capability. The legislature has this habit of
looking for ways to fund programs that they feel are appropriate, but they can't
fund themselves. As a result of that, the water management districts have been
given a lot of responsibilities by the legislature because the water management
districts can raise the money to do them. Sometimes the mission gets a little
blurred when those kinds of things occur.
We are also getting to the point where all local governments [are capable of
doing water management activities themselves]. Just the term "local government"
is misleading, because in some people's mind they think of a town hall meeting,
in some people's mind they think of the old rural setting where the elected official
has a business and he does his elected responsibility maybe one day a week.
Here, in fast growing Florida, urbanized Florida, our elected officials are full-time
people. We don't have what we used to call local governments. We have major
county and city governments. They're capable of doing a lot of these activities
themselves as long as the tone and tenor of what needs to be accomplished is
overseen by the water management districts. I think that in many cases local
governments are perfectly capable of implementation. The reason I say that is
because if you look at the staffing of the water management districts and the
staffing of the local governments, you'll notice there's a lot of duplication. I
question whether or not that's really necessary.
If the water management districts really honed on a simpler mission, I think their
role could be much more effective. What you find nowadays is, because you
have major county commissions and city commissions with staffs of professional
people and water management districts and regional planning councils with staffs
of professional people, you kind of shop around and take your problem to who
you think is going to be the most sympathetic. As a result of that, we probably
are in a situation where we need to look again at the agencies we've created and
make a determination about where the policies ought to be established and
where the policies ought to be implemented.
P: When you look back at your time as executive director, what would you say was
your best experience?
M: I think one of the most fun projects I worked on was the Florida Keys Aqueduct
P: You were working there because they lacked drinking water.
M: No, it was because we were put in charge of it. It was an interesting situation.
The Florida Keys, just like all of south Florida, had undergone a lot of
development. In 1939, the U.S. Navy built a pipeline from Florida City to Key
West to take care of the naval installation, the Key West submarine base and the
[Key West] Boca Chica Naval Air Station. That was a very critical location during
World War II. The pipeline was originally built to provide drinking water for the
After the Second World War, the federal government General Services
Administration surplused that pipeline because it wasn't needed for just the
military installations. It was taken over by a civilian organization called the
Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority that was created by the Florida legislature as an
entity to acquire and operate the pipeline for a public order supply also. It was an
eighteen-inch pipeline and, quite frankly, that was a tough environment for any
kind of metal. That was a steel pipeline. By the time the late 1970s came along,
the pipeline was in really bad disrepair. The Keys were experiencing water
outages caused by a failing pipeline. The Keys Aqueduct Authority, to their
benefit, had done a set of plans to build a new pipeline and had gotten a
commitment for the Farmer's Home Administration to finance that work. But the
board of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, which was elected, had gotten into
a lot of, I think, parochial disputes and problems. The Aqueduct Authority itself
was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was a revenue based organization, and if you
didn't have any water you couldn't sell any water, and it if you couldn't sell any
water you didn't have any revenue. So they had a lot of problems. [They had]
some promise, but it didn't look like they were going to get to the finish line.
The Keys Aqueduct Authority Board petitioned the governor to call out the
National Guard and close the Keys off on the overseas highway just below
Homestead. So, the governor called us and asked us to go down and look at the
situation. When we did, we went back and made our reports to the governor.
P: Was this still Governor Askew?
M: No, this was Governor Graham. We made our reports to the governor and he
called in the legislators who represented the Keys. [There] was Joe Allen, who
was a House member from the Keys, and two state senators, Dick Anderson,
who was the fellow who had played with the Miami Dolphins, and Holloway was
the other state senator. We gave that report to the senators and the house
member, and what the legislature decided to do was, set aside the Florida Keys
Aqueduct Authority Board, the existing elected board, and place the Water
Management District Board in its place. [They] then turned to me and said, get
down there and build that pipeline. It was a very interesting time and it was fun.
It was hard work but it was fun.
We took the Aqueduct Authority, which was on the verge of bankruptcy, and
used a lot of the water management boards and our staff's contacts and
borrowed money to stay afloat and let the contracts for the construction of the
new pipeline and oversee the new system to change the climate around. Quite
frankly, we did away with the old eighteen-inch pipeline and built a brand new
pipeline and built a new reverse-osmosis-direct-from-seawater plant in Key West.
For two years of concentrated effort we worked hard on the Keys. It was really
enjoyable. Our board sat as the board of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority for
a five year period, and then the legislation called for us to turn it back over to the
Keys. That was an interesting change.
I think some of the other things that were interesting was the way we handled the
1981 drought, which was like the 1971 drought that woke everybody up and got
everybody concerned, but the 1981 drought was even a little more serious than
that. We switched our program to supply-side management and were able to get
through the 1981 drought with very few problems in terms of either public or
private economic loss. Now, there were some people who suffered as a result of
that. For instance, people who operated car washes [had difficulty], and there
were a few other entrepreneurs who [had problems]. But, by and large, with the
big population down here in south Florida, we got through that drought.
A drought in Florida is different than a drought in most places in the United
States. In southern California, where the annual rainfall is about twelve inches, a
drought means it doesn't rain. In Florida a drought means [that] instead of
getting fifty-five or sixty inches a year, you get thirty-nine. So, beauty is in the
eye of the beholder. Drought conditions for us normally last from early winter
through the following spring or early summer. During that period of time where
our evapo-transpiration exceeds rainfall, most of our surface water supplies will
dry up and leave us totally dependent on groundwater. [That is] at a time [of year]
when, because of the tourism industry in Florida, our population and our public
water supply demands are at their peak. So, it's an interesting combination of
factors that create a drought for us. The impact on land is, usually the
Everglades go on fire. People who are in coastal communities where their well
fields are very close to the saltwater interface, their water supply is curtailed. So,
the economic dislocation that occurs to a large region like southern California
when they have a drought is a lot different here, but the impacts can be just as
costly. If we do draw saltwater into our well fields, those well fields probably
need to be abandoned. There's a major public investment already in those well
fields. So, drought management is interesting in Florida.
In California, they'll know there's a drought coming because the previous winter
they didn't get a really big snowfall in the mountains, so the runoff is going to be
curtailed. In Florida, you don't know you're going to get a drought until you're in
it, because you really don't know whether or not you're going to get those small
amounts of rainfall that occur in spring months that usually carry you through.
For whatever reason that doesn't occur, and yet your water use continues to
increase. It's interesting.
The other thing, I think, that is changing about Florida is the displacement of
agriculture by urbanization. There are a lot of factors that contribute to that. You
know that Florida used to be the winter vegetable capital, but now that we have
free trade, there are countries below the equator who are in the middle of their
growing in summertime who readily transport their fresh vegetables in our
wintertime. They used to all come from Florida, southern California, or southern
Texas, and Arizona. A lot of the agriculture has changed a lot. The way Florida
is growing, I think it's headed in the same direction as southern California.
Orange County in California was aptly named, and I don't know whether you can
find an orange tree in Orange County, California anymore.
P: There are not too many oranges in Orange County, Florida.
M: That's true. Weather had something to do with that, and the global impact of
other countries that are in the agricultural business and their ability to access the
United States markets has also impacted our process. We see an ever moving
change in Florida, which moves Florida in the direction of becoming more and
more urbanized, with less and less land devoted to agriculture. Now the concern
is to resolve or protect some of these lands so as the area continues to urbanize,
there will be things like parks and open spaces and recharge areas. Most of that
used to be provided by agricultural lands who were in seasonal agriculture and
other times of the year contributed to the recharge of aquifers and obviously the
places for co-recreation and wildlife. Now, if you look at our three counties, all
three counties are built right out to the levees. When the [Army] Corps [of
Engineers] did their report in 1949, they submitted to the Congress [that] over the
fifty year life of the original C&SF Project, there was still to be quite a substantial
ribbon of agricultural land between the conservation area levees and the urban
population. Well, within that fifty year life that band of urban land was just about
gone. It's gone in Broward County and its gone in Dade County, and it's
disappearing in Palm Beach County. Those areas are being replaced by an
urban-type population that has a year-round demand. So, the mix is changing.
P: Let me ask you about your relationship, when you were executive director, with
the board. How did you interact with them and how would you evaluate the
appointments to the board and the quality of their work?
M: [During] my eight or ten years with the district, we had a five-member board. We
had a fairly clear mission, which was flood control. When Chapter 373 was
passed, it increased that board to nine members and required, over the next few
legislative sessions, a few changes in the appointment process. Different
elements of the population [needed] to be represented on the board. Major
metropolitan areas [needed representation] but also agriculture and
environmental members. So, we ended up with a new mission and a new group
of people to carry out that mission. Of course, as a staff, we were learning about
our new responsibilities as we went along. As the board and the staff worked
together during that period of time, we were both learning our business as we
[I'm] recognizing that this thing occurred during a point in time when there was a
new role for board members that previous board members had not been involved
in, and that was the regulatory business. Because of the way the legislation was
written, the board had to act as the final arbiter and make the decisions on the
permitting process for water supply and drainage. That is very, very difficult for a
lay board member who conducts some kind of business or is involved in a
business four weeks out of the month, [because] one or two days out of that
same month that board member has to come to a meeting somewhere other than
in their hometown and be faced with kind of a daunting agenda which may have
a couple of hundred items. Some are involved in a regulatory sense, some are
involved in just an administrative sense of running the agency, and some are
involved in the resource sense. So, it's a very steep learning curve for a board
P: Why would somebody want to serve on the board? They don't get paid anything,
P: It takes a tremendous amount of time.
M: No, they are simply reimbursed for any expenses they incur while they're on
official business, but they take no salaries. The board members are appointed
by the governor and they have to been confirmed by the state senate. Early on,
they served three-year terms. Now, I believe, their terms are four years.
As to why they would like to serve on the board, I can volunteer some of the
reasons some of the early board members wanted to serve. They were involved
with many of us all the way back to the Governor's Conference on Water
Management and to the land resources group. They were participants and they
saw the need for the state to be moving in these certain directions. They saw an
opportunity or a need for people who understood the issues and [who] were
willing to sacrifice some of their time to see that the issues moved forward
properly and equitably. [These were the reasons] that they would volunteer their
time to serve.
P: John DeGrove [Director, Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Issues,
Florida Atlantic University] was one of these people.
M: That's a good example. There are others who also served on them. John is an
excellent example. As to why people would want to serve on the board today
when the issues are completely different, I'm not certain I know. Having never
been a board member, I'm a little hesitant [to offer a reason]. What the water
management district gets involved is important for the region. I don't have any
more insight into that than anyone else. Because, as you say, they serve without
remuneration. Some of the people are locally active people in their communities
and understand the importance of water management to their community and
want to do public service. I think those are generally them.
P: When you were on the board was it a fairly good distribution of sectors
represented? I know there was one cattleman. I think Nathaniel Reed, who was
an environmentalist, was on the board, and a land developer was on the board.
M: Yes, that was required by the legislation, that all sectors be represented.
Usually, when issues got debated, this is where the benefit of having a lay board
comes in. The staff of the organization, the ones who work up the agendas for
the board meetings, the staff recommendations for the board to consider, the
problems that they feel the board ought to be aware of, and the potential
solutions that they would like the board to embrace, is a consistent group of
people from the engineering profession; from the natural science profession;
from the planning profession; administrative people with experience in finance,
accounting, computers, and information technology. Those are the people who
are on the job five days a week fifty-two weeks of the year. They are doing all
the work up and doing all the problem analysis and doing all the
recommendations and here comes a lay board who have experience in their own
line of work and maybe some kind of experience in political office, though
probably not, and a lot of experience maybe in community involvement. [They
don't] necessarily [have experience] in the water management field. They might
have been involved in some other community issue. So, they kind of gain some
attention in their community as being good, beneficial, public servants. Now they
come to serve on the water management district board as a gubernatorial
P: Have most of the appointments been quality individuals as apposed to political
M: I would say so, because, at least during my years, this was not looked at as any
kind of a stepping stone. Somebody who had political aspirations, I don't think
they'd want this kind of a job. Back in those days there was no limelight, lots of
problems, several potential solutions, and each of those ultimately came down to
a tough decision.
P: What about board members' conflicts of interest? Let's just say that when
Nathaniel Reed was on, and he was a developer in Jupiter, would there have
been issues that would have affected his development that he would have to vote
M: No, because Florida's laws are such that, under the Florida ethics laws under the
conflict of interest and under the disclosure, any board member who had any
kind of an interest in anything that was being considered by the board had to
declare their potential conflict and could not participate in the discussion nor vote.
P: How has this lay board worked out, in your estimation, over the years?
M: I think it's a great idea. Sometimes when you're working in this arena and you're
doing it on a full time basis, your nose is right up against the window. People
who come here from a community and look at these problems from their
perspective sometimes can provide a really useful perspective to the rest of your
professional staff and want you to look at things from different points of view. I
think one of the things they have been able to do is, offer a broader perspective
in the decision making process than you would normally get from a focused
professional staff. As a result of that, I think that everybody's point of view is
expressed. I think that's a healthy process. In the final analysis, everybody's
point of view can be considered, but not everybody's point of view can survive
and be part of the ultimate action that is taken. Just the mere process of having
this kind of a situation occur, where you have people who bring a different
perspective to the table when they come and don't necessarily have the pride of
authorship in what is placed before them, I think that makes a more well rounded
decision making process. [It] has a better chance of standing the test of time,
because all points of view have been expressed. If we forgot something, we left
something out, we overlooked something, or we might have been too stringent in
one course as opposed to maybe a different approach; you know the truth of the
matter is [that] there's not just one way to get there. Sometimes a professional
staff gets honed in on one way to get there.
P: Did you have a lot of conflicts with the board in terms of some of your
recommendations that they chose not to support?
M: We used to call those kinds of things opportunities. We didn't refer to them as
conflicts, or we didn't refer to them as problems. When there are differences of
opinion, we try to sit down and talk about it and try to put ourselves, or at least
take into consideration, the other fellow's point of view. If it had merit, we would
try to incorporate it into our action, whatever that action was. You have to
understand that [with] moving from a flood control district, with a very narrow
mission, to a water management district, with such a broad mission, [there] is a
lot of adjustment that needs to take place. There's a lot of broadening of
perspectives that need to take place.
I think that these lay boards were a big help in that regard. We used to have an
expression: "Men of goodwill can differ." There were times when we did differ,
but the rest of that saying was, "but they do it with civility and mutual respect."
When that takes place, you're not listening to the other guy, just listening for your
time to talk or rebut. You're listening to that guy to hear what he has to say.
When you hear what he has to say and consider it, lots of times it has merit. It's
something that you didn't think of or you didn't necessarily hold dear, but you
recognize that there are people who do hold things like that dear. It kind of
sends a message to you that maybe you ought to broaden your perspective a
little bit and try to look at somebody else's perspective. That was kind of a
hallmark of our early years of working together. We had people who came to the
table and brought inputs that we either didn't consider or we had not thought
about or we felt were inappropriate for our roles and responsibilities.
P: Would you talk a little bit about the executive directors you worked with. I think
they were Padrick and Dale.
M: Well, Ed Dale was the executive director who I kind of learned the ropes under.
Bob Padrick was chairman of the governing board and he was succeeded by
Bob Clark. During all of my tenure, Bob Clark was the chairman. Under
Governor Askew and Governor Graham we had a lot of stability. We had a lot of
excellent boards, they were participative. We had people who brought a local
government perspective. We had people who brought an agricultural perspective
and an environmental perspective. The discussions that we had and the way
that we adjusted to our new responsibility, I think the reason we were successful
in doing that was because we had these different influences from the different
areas. It was very helpful, because we weren't serving a single purpose of flood
control anymore. We were serving a community of people who had broader
P: Talk about your relationship with the other water management districts. How did
they change during your tenure as executive director?
M: Well, the other water management districts, understand, in the case of Swiftmud
[SWFWMD, Southwest Florida Water Management District], they were going
through the same growth process we were going through. [They were]
broadening their perspective and becoming more widely based. The difference
between us and Swiftmud was that Swiftmud had basin boards. You'll probably
learn about those when you talk to somebody from the west coast. Swiftmud was
divided up into a group of basin, and each basin had its own board. One of those
basin board members served on the parent board, which was a very different
situation than we had over here.
P: Did you have Big Cypress basin?
M: Well, yeah, but that was just one county. Swiftmud had forty-five basin board
members. That's a much different situation than having a single basin [board]
which, quite frankly, didn't want to be part of the greater flood control system
because they were not part of the federal project. So, the Southwest Florida
Water Management District was growing and moving into a broader field, and
having to bring along forty-five basin board members.
I kind of thought my job was a lot easier. The other water management districts
were just kind of feeling their way. Both Suwannee and Northwest Florida, the
project that they had to work on were very limited in terms of the two older
districts or in terms of the St. Johns District. The St. Johns district, quite frankly,
for whatever reason, the first executive director of the St. Johns and the first
board of the St. Johns kind of looked at us like a cow looking at last year's calf.
What had happened in the upper St. Johns was, there was almost a filibuster to
keep the upper St. Johns area within the South Florida Water Management
District. It was not a filibuster, quite frankly, that I supported. I felt the watershed
basin boundaries were the most intelligent way to do water management. But
there were some vested people in those counties who felt that their perspective
and their points of view more closely aligned itself with us than with the new
Quite frankly, I had very little dealings with the St. Johns River Water
Management District. Most of my interaction with the other water management
districts was kind of in a supporting role, to help them in terms of moving into
areas that they hadn't had previous experience in, in terms of the regulatory area
or the operation and maintenance area of particular parts of a federal project that
they inherited. But basically, we kind of operated like regional governments who
occasionally got together to compare notes. There wasn't a great deal of
similarity in the areas that we were concerned with or the particular problems that
we faced. We were ahead of the other districts in terms of having a system that
we built and operated. In a lot of the other districts, there wasn't a system that
was kind of the backbone of their activity.
[End of side B3]
P: I'd like to ask you now about the relationship between the executive director and
the governing boards and various groups. Let's, for example, start with the
environmental groups. What kind of interaction did you and the board have with
them? Were the discussions primarily by the executive director or by the board
M: Well, in most cases the environmental organizations or environmental groups
spent their time and effort in dealing with the board members, recognizing that
the board members were the decision makers and the staff members were
simply people who worked up the issues and made recommendations. I didn't
have a lot of interaction with environmental groups. By that, I mean most of the
environmental groups that I'm aware of or was aware [of] back in those days
were kind of loosely formed groups of people with a common interest who didn't
have a paid professional staff, didn't have the kinds of things you'd find today.
So, it was more or less a citizen group [that] probably blessed one of its
members as the speaker, who would approach the board with an issue that was
of concern to them and ask for the boards consideration. Rarely did that occur at
a staff level back in those days, although quite a bit of that occurs today because
the process has matured. In those early days, the process was in its infancy and
there was only one environmental group that really, from a state perspective,
seemed to be in a position comparable to the environmental groups of today, and
that was the Florida Audubon Society.
There were two major issues that the Audubon Society and other environmental
groups were concerned about, and neither one was in our district. One was the
Cross Florida Barge Canal and the other was Lake Apopka. Most of the
interaction we had with environmental groups was over recreational use in the
conservation areas. As the process matured in the 1980s and 1990s, that has
completely changed now. In our days the Johnny Joneses [Johnny Jones,
former president of the Florida Wildlife Federation] and the Freddy Fizakellies
and the Lees of the day, they kind of interacted with the board and not much with
Of course, we had environmental board members who would bring issues to the
attention of the board or who would serve as kind of an environmental
ombudsmen when staff recommendations or staff proposals were considered
before the board. That's completely changed. Nowadays, staff
recommendations are widely distributed long before there is a board meeting.
It's a much more participatory process today. It's much more transparent. The
reason environmentalists are involved is different than environmentalists were
involved back in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
P: How about the relationship between the board and the executive director and
industry and agribusiness?
M: Well, mostly industry and agribusiness are represented by a board member, at
least one on all the boards. Normally, what happens at a staff level is [that] a lot
of industries have professional staffs. Professional staff members or the director
of the professional staff will interact with the staff in the water management
district either through the executive director or through one of the executive
Nowadays that whole process is more organized and more professional than it
used to be. It used to be most of the people who represented those points of
view were citizen volunteer members. Nowadays they're paid advocacies or
they're paid members of the organization who obviously are paid to advocate the
organization's position and do so in all kinds of circles, both with our board and
with a professional staff. So, that part of it has changed a lot. The transparency
of what's being proposed has been greatly increased. The transparency of
others people's advocacies has been greatly increased. So, nowadays, most of
the different sides' issues and likes and dislikes are pretty much apparent to
everybody when the board finally comes together to make a decision. Back in
those days, we were just learning those things. In fairness to them, not
everybody was aware that they could come before the board and just get up and
P: What about your relationship with local government? I use that term because
you've already explained what local governments are.
M: Most of that, in the early days, led with the potential conflict of roles between the
water management district and local government boards in terms of land use
decisions and what role the water management district ought to play in those
land use decisions. [They would decide] whether they ought to be advisory and
who went first. For instance, I will never forget [that] one of John DeGrove's pet-
peeves was having people come before the water management district board to
get a water use permit and use their newly gained zoning as leverage on the
water management district board. [They'd say,] I just got this property zoned,
you've got to get me a permit. John would rail about something like that.
In the early days, because these other different pieces of legislation had passed
simultaneously, we were all kind of feeling our way. The people who were out
there actually playing the game, they knew how to pick off which member [they
needed to] and they knew how to pick him off. Quite frankly, we did not have an
entree in the early days to smaller local governments. Our entree would normally
come in the larger projects through the DRI [Development of Regional Impact]
process or through the area of critical state concern or through something like
that. It was only later when later changes were made to the Comp[rehensive
Growth Management] Plan process, that the roles where water management
districts and local governments were better spelled out in terms of who does
what and how it gets done.
When I was executive director, it was long before the days of growth
management legislation. There was no concurrency, there was none of that kind
of stuff. You got involved if there was a development of regional impact or an
area of critical state concern or if there was a concern by the local utility company
about their water use permit, where they went to their elected board and
explained it to them and then the elected board came to meet with the water
management board members and talked about how they could work together to
provide the local service they needed from well fields. There was a lot of give
and take in those processes in the early days. Now it's a lot more formalized.
P: What was your relationship with Army Corps of Engineers? There are some
critics who say that the Army Corps of Engineers created some of the problems
in the Everglades and the Kissimmee River and they were the ones who were
asked to restore the Everglades and restore the river.
M: Well, my interaction with the Corps occurred mostly in my role as the local
sponsor of the federal project where the responsibility was to get that project
built. In that instance, the Corps was a great partner. A lot of people don't
realize it, but the C&SF project was really the first land plan for south Florida. It
was through the Corps of Engineers project that that land plan was followed.
There is a major portion of land set aside for urbanization, a major portion set
aside for agriculture, there's conservation lands, [and] there's salinity control
structures. All that was followed, and it was followed because the project was
actually built the way it was designed. So, in that instance, the Corps played out
its role extremely well.
Basically, the economy of south Florida depends a great measure on this project
and the way the project was built. I mean, in a place where you get fifty-five or
sixty inches of rain, except for an occasional hurricane or a drought every ten
years, there's very little dislocation as a result of several million people living a
few feet above sea level with the kind of rainfalls we get during the rainy season.
So the success of that project is kind of a testament to the fact that both of the
partners played their role very well, both the Corps of Engineers and the water
Today what you'd find is [that] we've actually moved up Maslow's triangle and we
are above the apex. What we're trying to do now is to take that federally
authorized project and try to maximize the value it can provide to us in some of
those areas that did not receive as much attention as a the flood control side did
or as much as the land enhancement side did. Now, as long as you want the
federal government to participate in that, and as long as you want the federal
government to provide dollars, the only arm that the federal government has for
those kinds of programs east of the Mississippi [River] is the Corps of Engineers,
if it involves structural solutions.
I see a greater role for the Department of the Interior in this restoration project
than what may have been played in previous projects, but it's still the structural
arm. If it's a structural issue, the arm of the federal government east of the
Mississippi is the Corps of Engineers. West of the Mississippi, you've got both
the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. You have to look back
to the issue [and ask yourself,] do you want federal participation? The one thing
that's beneficial about federal participation in this sense is that, in the original
C&SF project, all the operation and maintenance was to be born by the local
sponsor. In this restoration project, the Corps is partner, not only in planning,
design, and construction, but in operation and maintenance, which is a significant
financial concern over the next thirty or forty years for the south Florida area.
There's no question about the fact that some of the things the Corps has done
has been unpopular in retrospect. But, in fairness to the Corps, it's not like going
into a Chinese restaurant where you can order one from column A and one from
column B; the Corps has fairly stringent principles and guidelines that they follow.
By the way, it's at the direction of Congress that they do that. People who are
critical of the Corps, they can be critical of the Corps. I have no problem with
that. But they also ought to recognize that the Corps operates under a fairly
stringent set of rules and regulations that are imposed upon them by the
Congress and are a requirement for federal participation.
P: Basically, they do what they're told.
M: Basically, they do what they're told. As any organization would do, they also
have continuing involvement in their projects. As the rules have changed, and
the rules have changed, for what the Corps can look at and what the Corps can't
look at, in terms of the Corps' involvement, the Corps is getting more involved
now in restoration projects. Traditionally, the Corps was a flood control, federal
navigation [agency]. Over the years, they've branched out into beach erosion
and other aspects of it, but they follow a fairly stringent set of rules. In terms of
this project, this project was funded 85 percent by federal dollars. The Corps and
the federal government made a significant contribution to implementing that
south Florida land plan. Now should somebody else who has more sensitivity to
the environment be in charge of the restoration project? I don't know the answer
to that. I just know that the federal government has certain branches of their
government that do certain things.
P: What was your relationship with the legislature? Did you spend a lot of time
lobbying them? Did you, at any time, compete with the other water management
districts for non-ad valorem funding?
M: Well, I'll answer the last question first because I think you recognize that with the
water management districts and their new mission and the limited amount of
state dollars available [that] there was always competition for the WRDA [Water
Resources Development Act] funds. [The competition was mostly] between south
Florida and southwest Florida, but then, even more increasingly, with St Johns.
Because there was just a certain pot of money and each board of each water
management district obviously felt that their mission was important, the funding
requests, in most cases, always exceeded the available supply. As a result of
that, there was a little competition. My recollection was that it wasn't combative
competition, but it was just the fact that we had requests for more money than
the legislature had to give out. It was apportioned. In some years some districts
moved ahead of the others, and in other years the other districts moved ahead of
the others. It's kind of like any other local government or regional government
who goes to the legislature for funding. There's always more needs than there is
P: Did you go testify before committees? Did you lobby personally?
M: Well, we had a much saner process. We had a water resources development
account conference, and we all presented our requests in the early days. Those
requests were signed off on and presented to the legislature. In terms of our
legislature, we spent, and I personally spent, time within our district meeting with
our county governments and meeting with our legislative delegations to acquaint
them with our progress, our lack of progress in any specific area in their
particular area of jurisdiction, in our future plans or desires to create initiatives in
their particular areas, or in areas where we had run into some unforseen
problems. [We would talk to the legislators] if the solutions of those problems
might be assisted in a slight change in the legislation. It was kind of like an
annual report card, to both the local government where we were levying taxes
and to the legislative delegations, to keep them abreast of what was going on.
Those were also participated in by our board members.
P: How important, over the years, have lobbyists been for private industries? I
think, for example, of somebody like Wade Hopping [a Tallahassee lobbyist who
represents sugar growers and water utilities]. How much influence do they have
on the legislature, vis a vis what the water management might have?
M: I think the roles are very different. Since water management districts have their
own taxing authority, the reason that you go to the legislature is much different
than [what] a lot of other people go to the legislature [for]. A lot of people go to
the legislature for money, or if a piece of legislation is causing them a serious
problem and they seek a remedy, or if a governmental function has gotten to the
point where it may have stepped over the line in terms of government jurisdiction
into the private sector.
In this case, the water management districts, with just a few exceptions, did not
have to go in initially, during my tenure, for money. We really didn't have to go
for legislation. Most of the time we were there it was because of the fact that
when these original bills were all drafted, there was a lot of cross-pollination. So,
an agency, in its enabling legislation, had some fairly broad powers. Not all
agencies implement legislation the same. A lot of times the basic debates in the
legislative arena that dealt with water management districts were jurisdictional
issues, and particularly about the regulatory process. [That is dealt with] moreso
than any other topic. That was a hallmark of Florida's grappling with growth
management and environmental laws and environmental regulation in the 1970s
and 1980s. As a result of that, it was more in the role of explaining how we saw
the process working and how it should work, and mostly how to avoid the
duplicate of efforts in the process and how to make the process more cost
effective and more beneficial, because the process obviously wasn't to serve
itself. The process was to provide tangible benefits to the people who are being
impacted by the process.
P: I wanted to call your attention to some criticisms that have been voiced about the
water management districts and get you to respond to them. For example, water
management districts do not heed scientific advice as much as they should.
M: I don't know. That's a very interesting comment. Usually, comments like that, if
you don't understand what context they're given in or specifically what they refer
to [it's hard to respond to them]. I will say that water management districts have
moved in the direction of trying to balance their approach to water management
by including the natural science professionals in their cadre of professionals who
work up the recommendations that the governing boards ultimately act on to
provide direction to the district. It wasn't that way in the early days because our
mission was very limited and, therefore, the professional people who we had
were mostly engineering professionals. As time grew and we moved into other
areas, particularly environmental areas, we saw the need to have within our own
walls the knowledge and input from the natural science people. So, it's hard for
me to understand the context of that comment because it could mean one of two
things. It could mean that the management of the water management districts
don't pay any attention to their own scientific staff or it could mean that the
boards of the water management district don't pay attention to scientific input.
P: So, there could be a disconnect between science and public policy?
M: Yes, there could be. You have to understand that one of the difficult things to
come to grips with is, how to include scientific input into a process and a system
while retaining all the benefits that that system was originally designed to
accomplish [while] not sacrificing flood protection [but still] keeping water supply
in mind. Also, [there is the challenge of] trying to maximize to the degree possible
the natural science input into making changes in either the design or the
operation of the system to include that kind of input but also not at the exclusion
of the original development that the process created. That's one of those
wisdom of Solomon issues. I think, if, for instance, scientific input is provided
from the point of view of a broad water management context of flood protection,
water supply, environmental enhancement, I don't think the boards or the staffs
ignore scientific input. If scientific input is proffered in such a way that it in itself
will diminish or impact some of the water management districts' responsibilities,
as spelled out in Chapter 373, then maybe the water management districts don't
do everything that the scientists would like them to do, but maybe it's because
P: Another criticism is that the water management districts have too much taxing
M: Oh, I'm not certain I understand that when you look at their annual budgets. One
of the unusual things, and I mentioned this before, about the water management
district [is that, like a] large regional government that has some substantial
wherewithal, there is an unfortunate tendency on the part of legislature and
county governments to ask this large regional agency to do a lot more things
than is spelled out in their charter because they do have the financial wherewithal
to accomplish those kinds of things. At this day and age, you look at these water
management districts and you bet they have a major capability in terms of their
financial ability to raise money to carry out their mission. Is it too much? I'm not
certain I understand that, because it's obvious that people want water
management districts to do more things.
P: Do they have too much regulatory authority?
M: Well, the water management districts have shared regulatory authority. I don't
know if they can have too much. They may have exclusive regulatory authority in
consumptive water use, but almost all their other regulatory authority is shared.
P: Is this like land acquisition?
M: No, I mean we share with other elements of government. [With] the DEP, for
instance, [we share] service water permitting. It didn't occur to me that their land
acquisition authority is regulatory authority, that's more either financial or
following a state initiative made possible by the delegation of the documentary
stamp tax money for land acquisition. [In that case,] the water managements
have been looked at as the arm of state government in accomplishing those
kinds of things, in terms of an implementing arm for a state policy. When they
say they have too much, I wonder [in] what context that is offered. Does that
mean that they abuse it, or does that mean that they don't need it all because it's
not all necessary because there are other parts of government that have that
same authority and it's a duplicative effort? It's very difficult to deal with
statements like that, not knowing what context their proffered in.
P: Let me make a side comment. I think some of this comes from the point of view
that the water management districts do not have enough state supervision over
their powers. As you know, Governor Jeb Bush [1999-present] has just
suggested a state water board. Do you think that sort of state supervision is
necessary for a water management district?
M: Well, I think you have to go back to the original concept behind the water
management districts and the original concept that the two older districts carried
throughout the development of Chapter 373 and particularly through the
statewide referendum for taxing. We, and when I saw we, that is an editorial we;
[I mean] those of us who were involved in the process, felt that, when you look at
the way the watersheds of Florida look, one of the things that strike you is that it
is kind of regional. It's not just one river flowing in one direction and everything
else is a tributary to it, in fact, it's completely the opposite. One size fits all
doesn't work. When we looked at the water management districts, we looked at
the concept that these are really regional issues. There are some regional
issues that lend themselves to regional government. The state's role in that
should be that some consistency ought to occur between the regions, but not that
the state would direct the direction of the regional government in solving the
problem. It was pretty plain to us that different problems existed in different parts
of the state. The concept between a regional government, that was overseen by
a governing board of nine members, who resided in that region and were
involved in their livelihoods in that region, could have more of an opportunity with
a financial wherewithal to solve the regional problems that occurred in water
management. That, to us, was kind of the hallmark of what [Chapter] 373 was all
about. It wasn't about a statewide organization.
P: I think part of the problem is that some people argue that here is a state
government arm, but who determines their budget and who oversees their
budget? The government makes appointments to the board, the DEP has some
supervisory authority, but who determines how they spend that money? Who are
they accountable to?
M: You have to go back to the concept of these nine governing board members. I
mean, you have to understand that these governing board members levy a
property tax. That may be the only appointed body, that we know of, in state
government that does that. There is a hell of a responsibility that comes with
that, but they levy that property tax to support the water management district
programs that go on within their region to accomplish their mission, as defined by
Chapter 373, in their region. It's not the same mission that the water
management district in a different water management district has in terms of
what are the necessary things that need to go on in their region to carry out those
Chapter 373 responsibilities and to achieve the goals and objectives of Chapter
Now, one of the main reasons that regional governments were created, and
we've talked about regional planning councils as being another element of that,
and one of the reasons they've gone by the wayside is because they don't have
any funding, quite frankly. The reasons the water management districts have
grown and prospered is because they do have funding and the water
management districts can get out and do things rather than a confraternity of
local elected officials who get together to look at this project in Mr. So and So's
P: But if the local officials don't do well, they get voted out of office. That's not the
case with water management.
M: Well, you have to remember that the water management districts governing
boards are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate, so
whatever constitutional test is taken care of by that. Now, the issue that people
ought to run for election to be water management district board members, we
were always very concerned about that. In a region as large as the south Florida
districts, with over sixteen counties, that provides a significant opportunity for
parochialism. Water doesn't respect those kinds of differentiations. This is a
regional water management system. It starts up at the Kissimmee chain of lakes,
flows down the Kissimmee into Lake Okeechobee and down through the
Everglades. You can't consider only the concerns of people either at the top of
the system or people at the bottom of the system.
P: Let me ask you some general questions. Is the Florida water management
system unique in the country? If so, why don't other states have similar
M: It was unique when it was formed in 1972, but it's not unique anymore. Other
states have patterned a lot of their programs and improvements of their programs
after the Florida model. But you have to understand, west of the Mississippi the
Florida model wouldn't work. There's a different rule of law. It's riparian rights
versus prior appropriation. As a matter of fact, the state of Georgia right now is
considering forming watershed districts.
P: Why don't people in Florida know more about what water management districts
do? How can that be remedied?
M: You're not supposed to answer a question with a question, but does it need to be
remedied? I mean, this is an organization that takes local tax dollars and
provides local benefits. If you are in an area where you're close to one of their
facilities, you're probably familiar with who they are and what they do. If you're in
an area where you're not necessarily close to one of their facilities but you're
able to carry on your livelihood and everything else without interruption, during a
drought you still get water and during a flood you're protected, those are the only
times when people really are interested in who your organization is or what your
organization does. [They're interested] when they're somehow negatively
impacted by what you do. I don't think that water management districts are
household words in urbanizing Florida, because they stand fairly far down on the
list of priorities.
In a growing megalopolis, like Florida is, you have transportation problems, you
have education problems, [and] you have healthcare problems. The population
that lives and goes to work here, is retired here, or recreates here is impacted by
these other issues on almost a daily basis, whereas water or lack of water or
overabundance of water only occur occasionally. So, as a result of that, you
don't really hear much about water in Florida until you either have a flood or a
drought. You have transportation problems each and every day during rush
hour. You have educational problems every day in the fact that the schools are
overcrowded, the teachers are underpaid, [and] teachers are hard to hire. You
have healthcare problems because you have an aging population here and the
skyrocketing cost of healthcare. So, there are a lot of other things on people's
mind other than water management districts. But, if this whole water system was
in absolute chaos and people were being flooded frequently or frequently running
out of water, I guarantee you everybody would know about water management
districts. I think part of the reason water management districts are not better
known is because they do what they're supposed to do when they're supposed to
P: What should be the focus of water management districts for the next ten years?
M: Well, during the late 1990s, I worked in California for five years. I was with the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. My comparison between
Florida and California is that we're only ten years behind California. One of the
things the water management districts need to recognize is not only the problems
that they deal with today on a daily basis but [that] the area under their
jurisdiction is going to continue to grow. Population is going to continue to
increase. Demands on their services are going to continue. We may get into a
situation where there is competition for water in a combative sense, not in just
the linguistics sense.
P: Do you mean water wars?
M: No, we've been through water wars in the Tampa area. We may face a situation
where all the cheap or less expensive water has already been spoken for. One
of the challenges that the water management districts are going to have to deal
with is, what is their role and what is the most appropriate role for them in
meeting Florida's water needs over the next two decades. You charge me with a
challenge for ten years, but if you don't do it in the first ten ...
[End of side B4]
It's not clear. The reason it's not clear is that there are differences of opinion as
of what role a water management district ought to play in terms of future water
supply. What comes into play here is their financial capability. Water
management districts have a very substantial financial capability. Should their
role in future water supplies be to help in developing water supplies in terms of
their financial wherewithal? It deals with the issue of this user pay concept as
opposed to [saying that] the beneficiaries ought to pay the cost. [This is] opposed
to the other situation where you have an agency that has a very defined
capability. They understand the problems in the area, they understand the
solutions, yet they are precluded from playing a major role in that simply because
of a concept of a user pay. If we had depended on that concept, I don't think
Florida would have ever developed the way its developed. In truth, we never
used the user-pay concept to build this system we have.
We used the concept [that determined that] wherever the financial wherewithal
was, they were given a significant role and responsibility in solving the problem.
The reason is because there's a different revenue base. The water management
districts have been funded by ad valorem taxes and some help from the state in
general revenue and some assistance from the federal government. Water
supply has always been looked at as a revenue-based process. Any kind of
construction or financing or anything done in the water supply business was
always based on future revenue projections to amortize whatever investment
was necessary to solve the problem.
I'm not sure that we can continue to keep those parts of the droplets of water in
two different camps. We can only provide protection or water quality
improvement with taxes, but we can only provide supply with revenues. From my
perspective, and probably this is an old-fashioned approach, a lot of the water
supply issues are a question of ability to pay. As a result of that, I'm not sure that
in the final analysis the consumer, as a broad group of people, not just specific
consumers, are getting all the benefits that they are entitled to receive from all of
the revenue sources. I mean, if you can only get water supply benefits from
revenue based processes and you can only get water quantity and quality
benefits from taxing bases, suppose you are able to put the both of them
together in one particular arena and, as a result of that, the consumers were
P: Do you see a possibility of user fees?
M: I'm not sure that it's necessary for user fees. I mean, you have a revenue based
system and you have a taxed based system. What we've done is, we've
arbitrarily decided that the revenue based system will provide water supply. Why
can't the tax system provide water supply? [That] is my innocent question. Of
course, that drives people to their different philosophy of, no, those kinds of
things [ought to be paid for by] the beneficiaries. Well, who is the beneficiary?
When you start out with a clean sheet of paper, that's a nice approach. But when
you look at south Florida today, it's anything but a clean sheet of paper. The
question is, in a large, urban area like this, should you apply the very stringent
approaches to problem solving? Or should you say, suppose we combined our
financial capability and our implementation capability, would the consumer be
better served? Who is the consumer? It doesn't make any difference whether
it's the taxpayer or whether it's the water rate payer. They're both our
consumers; they both pay revenue to the system.
P: Could you get conservation without some economic penalty?
M: Not as long as water is a free commodity, no. Conservation doesn't necessarily
have to be punitive. I mean, it's the same old argument. Do we cut the pie into
smaller and smaller and smaller pieces, or do we increase the size of the pie?
I'm a guy who feels like you ought to increase the size of the pie.
P: What obstacles do you think the water management districts will face in the next
twenty years? Are they going to be financial, political, or technological?
M: Well, in terms of obstacles, I kind of think they're challenges more than
obstacles. One of the major challenges we face is on the issue of water quality.
What is the appropriate water quality and how do we achieve it? I think we've
handled all the simple water quality problems. In the 1960s and 1970s, we dealt
with point-source pollution, then we moved into an area of sewage treatment and
disposal, now we've moved into an area of storm water. Now we've moved in an
area beyond that where we're talking about the impact of water and the
constituents that water carries in it the environment in terms of environmental
values. We've gone way beyond pollution. We're now trying to make the
environment and the primary productivity that goes on in the environment either
to restore it or to enhance it. That is a challenge, because that's an area of
science. It's not an area of structural challenges, it's an area of scientific
challenges in terms of how to best define and implement water quality goals in
terms of all of the values that water has. We're now looking at its value as a way
to sustain and, if we can, improve our environment. Before, we were looking at
our water as, get rid of it when you have too much of it [and] conserve it when
you don't have enough of it. Now we've moved on to looking at water as
something that's necessary for our natural system, or how much of the natural
system we have left in Florida, or what the person who now comes to Florida
conceives as the natural system compared to the person who may have been
born and raised in Florida. Those are completely different perspectives. How do
you deal with those different perspectives and still carry out your core mission? I
think that's a significant challenge that we face.
P: Let me read you a question from Joe Flannigan [of the Suwannee River Water
Management District], who, as you know, started his career when you were
executive director. He said, when he was with the management district, the
agency was a "can-do" agency as opposed to a bureaucracy. For those in
agreement with what the district is doing, this can-do approach was appreciated
and applauded; for those not in agreement with what the district was doing, the
can-do approach was generally viewed as a lack of accountability. Now the
districts are more tightly controlled by the governor's office, more accountable,
more bureaucratic. However, in the opinion of some, water management districts
are less affective in managing the water resources. Could you please expound
on this loss of efficiency versus gain in accountability trend?" He says this
seems inexorable to him, that this is going to continue. In other words, the
increased accountability seems to be less efficient.
M: Well, I think one of the things you have to recognize is how much the water
management districts' areas of responsibility and activity have been expanding
and how many more missions they've been given than just the original mission
that was enunciated pretty clearly in Chapter 373. That's basically because they
have the financial wherewithal. So, the districts have grown in size, not
necessarily because of any initiatives on their part but because of the initiatives
that have been given to them simply because they are or used to be a can-do
agency and could accomplish that mission and also had the ability to pay for the
accomplishment of that mission. What you see now, today, is, water
management districts who are involved in probably a lot of activities that are
simply duplicative of activities that are being conducted by much expanded local
P: So, are water resources being managed now better than they were or not as
good as they were?
M: I think [they are being managed] about the same. I think the management of the
water resources is pretty much the same. The demands on the system are far
greater, and the systems ability to respond really hasn't changed that much. The
bureaucratic thing, I think, appears to be a direct result of size. I mean the
smaller, more efficient governments are more frequently identified as being the
more successful because they are more responsive, because there are fewer
doors you have to knock on, there are fewer people you have to see; the
decision making process is conducted a lot quicker.
One of the other things that has changed a lot about Florida, and even about our
society as we exist today, [is that] we kind of live in an age of consensus. That
was not the situation twenty or thirty years ago. If you took Joe Flannigan's
comment and you applied it to that business about the can-do attitude [ not
being] appreciated by some people who didn't agree with the direction we were
going in but we still went, that's the key. Nowadays, you don't go. If there's a
feeling out there that you really haven't met consensus or everybody is not on
board, then [people think that] maybe we shouldn't move ahead. I have to share
with you that that's a little bit of a foreign concept to me. That's not part of my
management philosophy. Maybe it should be, but at my age it's unlikely that my
approach is going to change.
What this means to us is that, even though we allow the majority to dictate in
almost everything else we do, [the notion that] we need to run this system by
consensus is a disconnect from me on that. I don't guess we'd ever finish an
election if it had to be by consensus. It's almost true that if your name goes on
the ballot, you can count on about 40 percent of the vote. Well, sixty/forty is a
hell of a long way from consensus. So, there's a disconnect for me in this
approach, that if everybody isn't happy with the way we're going, we need to not
make a decision, and we need to talk about it more, and we need to consider
more [choices]. The Miami Dolphins went to New Orleans to play in the Super
Bowl. I think Bob Graham was the senator then. He brought back a scroll and it
was written in Chinese, and he displayed it prominently for everybody. What it
said in Chinese is, not to decide is to decide. I was taken by that. While you're
trying to form consensus, the problem isn't going away. As a matter of fact, it
may be getting worse and some of your options might be foreclosed simply
because you're trying to get to some kind of consensus. That's how I understand
consensus. I do understand the willingness to look at the other guy's point of
view and I do understand trying to make things more inclusive, but I also
understand [what] we used to write on the blackboard, "time is money." We don't
have an unlimited supply of either, and yet we usually get involved in discussions
because we think we have an issue that needs to be resolved. Well, not to take
the first step until you know the optimal answer is not the way to go, as far as I'm
P: It's certainly not efficient.
M: It's not the way to resolve the problem, as far as I'm concerned, either. You
know, the way things work, you take a step and the rest of the process needs to
adjust. By the time you get around to taking that first step, you may have
foreclosed people's ability to adjust.
P: Do you think the citizens of the state are better served now by the water
management districts than they were when you were executive director?
M: When you say, "better served," I think they get the same value and it's all
relative. I think they get the same, if not a little better, value out of the water
management districts than they did before. Recognizing their mission, I think
they've done an outstanding job with what they've been given to work with and
some of the constraints that have been placed on them, in a state like this where
we have floods and droughts and where we have hurricanes and unpredictable
circumstances and situations. I don't perceive that we have significant economic
or social impacts by the failure of the water management districts that do their
P: How has Everglades' restoration impacted the water management districts,
particularly the relationship between the Everglades agricultural area, Lake
Okeechobee, the national park and all of that collectively?
M: The Everglades Restoration Program, which is fondly referred to around here as
SERP, is in its real infancy. What was authorized by the Congress in 1999 was
basically to move the study into the next phase, which was to create a series of
budget implementations to go back for Congressional authorization or a
committee or secretarial authorization, to move forward into providing the
structural solutions or the structural improvements to carry out the goals of the
restoration project. It's had a big impact on this water management district. I
don't think it has any impact on the other districts, but on this district it has. This
district had two other areas of major responsibility that should be understood, but
it may not have been understood by everyone. The Central and Southern Florida
Flood Control Project and its operation and maintenance on an annual basis is a
major responsibility of this district and requires a lot of its resources.
In the early 1990s, as a result of legislation passed here in Florida called the
Everglades Protective Act, the district has a second challenge, which for a single
agency would be daunting enough. That is, the challenge to improve the water
quality in the Everglades, which probably has a tremendous price tag to it. The
organization had to kind of reorganize itself in order to meet that challenge while
continuing to operate the other challenge. Now along comes number three. That
is, separate and distinct from each of the others, to work in conjunction with the
Corps of Engineers to put together the actual nuts and bolts of the restoration
project. So, it's a third major initiative and it's had a major impact on this district.
Again, looking at the district organizationally to see whether or not,
organizationally, it is properly set up to meet all three of these challenges,
whether it's properly set up in terms of attempting to meet the financial demands
of all three of these initiatives...
P: There are going to be a lot of federal dollars coming in, I imagine.
M: But they'll have to be matched, so it's still a major contribution on the part of the
district. The district has already pledged $75 million a year out of its own funds
for the SERP initiative. The Everglades Forever Act initiative is probably liable
for that in terms of its cost, and the operation of the C&SF project [is] too. In
addition to that, the C&SF project is at the end of its supposed economic life of
fifty years. A lot of those early systems need to be refurbished, some need to be
replaced, a lot need to be reconditioned. So, those will all impact the district on
its financial side and its professional staff side as the challenges and capabilities
to meet all that. It's had a big impact on the district.
I think [it's] too early to tell what the final impact on the district will be, because
they haven't moved into the implementation phase of the SERP project yet.
They are in the implementation phase of the other two challenges and they still
provide significant challenges. It's very interesting, it's very challenging, and this
district needs to continue to conduct all its other functions while it takes on this
new and this latest challenge. One of the things, I think, that's kind of maybe
hidden in the margin but extremely important is the districts' role in water supply.
P: Let me read you a couple of comments. This was in 1982. The Miami Herald did
a piece on you: "Moses, by comparison, merely parted the sea. Jack Maloy, an
energetic, articulate, irascible Irishman, controls the tap to south Florida's water.
He presides over 1,400 miles of canals, pumps so huge they could suck up
elephants, over water control systems so vast and expensive it rivals the
Tennessee Valley Authority." Obviously, in the job of executive director, a huge
organization like this takes a tremendous toll, as you mentioned earlier, on your
personal life. When you look back on all of this, what would you consider your
greatest contribution to water management districts?
M: Well, I really enjoyed the challenge of moving a flood control district into a true
water management district. First of all, I was one of those people who really felt
strongly about the legislation we drafted and the need for it. The reason is,
because when I was a kid growing up in Long Island, before Long Island got so
densely populated that it all looks like Levittown, there weren't any water
problems, there weren't any air problems, there weren't any problems. A
regional approach would have helped a lot. On Long Island now, the shallow
water supply system is contaminated. They've got all the other problems, but
they've got water problems too. One of the things that occurred to me way back
then was that the direction that Florida is moving in, without somebody who has a
responsibility to look at this carefully, is going to lead them down the same path.
So, I was really committed to the fact that a regional entity to be governed and
overseen by regional people who were paying the freight and also had something
at stake might be the way to deal with this issue. As the county government isn't
capable of doing that and state government is too removed from the problem to
do anything, I thought the regional entity really was the solution here.
I was kind of pleased that the organization that we built in the 1970s and early
1980s has stood the test of time. Except for a few blips on the radar, it's kind of
lived up to the expectations I've had for it. Its role in the future of south Florida is
pretty important. With this business of having the challenge to work to put this
restoration problem together, its role in the Everglades Forever Act, in attempting
to preserve the Everglades, its role in the water supply future of south Florida;
those are all critical and pivotal issues. It's a well established, operating
organization that I think will be equal to those challenges. I'm kind of tickled to
death that I had something to do with it in its formative stages, and now get to
come back twenty-five years later and see exactly how it's progressed.
[I see] how things have become more complicated, but how the organization has
stood the test of time. As an organization, this is fifty years old. As a water
management district, it's maybe only twenty-five or thirty years old. As a single-
purpose entity as the old flood control district, I think it would have gone by the
boards. As a water management district, with these broad responsibilities and
broader resources available to it, I think it will be a big help. I think the same
thing is true of the other water management districts in Florida. I think, over time,
that will be borne out by the role that the other water management districts play
in their region as their region experiences the same kind of problems. It already
has borne out in Tampa. It's beginning to be borne out in the St. Johns area.
The Suwannee in North Florida will take a little longer. It's kind of an agency that
fits in between. You know, it's not local government and it's not a state
government. I know political purists have a lot of problems with it, but it works.
P: What is your current function? I forgot to ask that.
M: I'm heading up the water management districts' efforts in the restoration project.
I came down just to help organize the program, and, as we speak now, I'm
beginning to delegate more and more of this as it gets better organized and as
we move into the implementation phase.
P: What would be your reaction to a state water board that might make decisions
that would override the recommendations of individual water management
districts? For example, Suwannee wants to keep its water. Swiftmud [Southwest
Water Management District], perhaps, would like to get the water. There are
political issues involved, and perhaps it might be politically prudent to answer to
the more populated sections of the state and take the water and bring it across
watersheds to another water management district. How would you view a state
water board that might make some of those decisions?
M: Well, it's interesting. I'll refer back to my comments about California. California
has a system where they take water from the north or from the west, from the
Colorado River or from the north, and move it into the heavily populated areas.
They also provide that same water for agriculture and urban water supply.
Interestingly enough, that was not done by a state water board. That was done
by a confederation, like the water management district here, of water users who
banded together to fund a program and support the program as users.
I don't really know what the role of the state water board would be. Is it to
provide water for people? What's the goal of it? I'm not certain. We've been
down this road in Florida; we used to have a state road board. We've had
boards for this and boards for that, and we've come back to having things run by
the executive branch of government. I don't have any strong feelings one way or
the other. The only strong caution I would have about some kind of organization
like that is, what are they supposed to accomplish? What is the need that is not
being filled at this point in time? Is it specific? If it's specific, is there a
formulation and area of jurisdiction that's going to meet that specific need? Once
that specific need is remedied, will they be disbanded? I've got a lot of questions
in my mind about what the perception of the problem is and how a board like
that, that might be just a policy setting board, [will solve the problem]. Do they
take the place of the legislature? I have more questions than I have answers.
P: Well, it's just another layer of bureaucracy.
M: Well, it could be. Lord knows, over the last twenty years, we have had enough
groups of people go up together, by either legislature or the governor, to study
the way Florida deals with its issues and its problems and whether or not we're
doing it effectively. I think it's always helpful to do that. You always have to have
an evaluation of the direction you're going in to see [if you are] really meeting
your goals and objectives or if you've stayed from your mission. I guess, the
main concern I would have is, what exactly is the problem that exists that this
board is supposed to remedy? What means are at their disposal to remedy [the
P: Is there any topic we have not addressed today that you would like to bring up or
M: Well, I really can't think of one. What's become kind of popular is, this issue of
who's in charge. I would always refer back to the issue of, first of all, what is not
being accomplished that needs to be accomplished? Because just trying to
determine who's in charge, I mean, what difference does it make? Explain to me
why you want to know who's in charge. Is there something not being
accomplished? Is it a significant thing? Why is it not being accomplished? This
open process of these governing boards meeting once a month and being
always available in their own community, if something isn't being accomplished in
the region that needs to be accomplished in the region, we've got to remedy that.
If there's some perception that they don't all line up together, or they don't all
look alike, or they don't all speak the same, or they don't all do things the same
from the point of view of some kind of uniformity, I think you're losing sight of
what the organizations were created for.
P: Okay, is there anything else?
M: No, sir.
P: On that note, we'll close the interview. Thank you very much.
M: You're welcome.
[End of interview]