Panel drops ethics claim against S. Indian River district supervisors


The state ethics commission didn’t find probable cause in complaints against four of five supervisors of the South Indian River Water Control District.

In December, former supervisor Bob Berman, of Palm Beach Gardens, filed complaints against board President Stephen Hinkle, and supervisors John Meyer, John A. Jones and Michael Howard, claiming that they violated the district’s code of ethics and received compensation for days they did not work.

Thomas Powell, district vice president, was the only person not named in the complaint.

Supervisors are paid $50 a day for a maximum of 15 days a month for engaging in work related to the district.

Berman said he believed anything over one or two working days, for board sessions only, would be excessive.

“There are no provisions in the statutes for the Supervisors to perform any work beyond the work of attending sessions of the board,” Berman wrote in a letter to the district’s treasurer, Charles Haas.

Virlindia Doss, executive director of the Florida Commission on Ethics, found sufficient evidence to begin a preliminary investigation. Commission advocate Elizabeth Miller found no probable cause to any of the alleged violations.

“The Board was happy that the complaints were unfounded and look forward to continuing to serve the residents of the District,” Michael Dillon, district manager of operations, said in an email to The Palm Beach Post.

Berman wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The attorney for the district, Terry Lewis, told investigators that it has been “tradition” for water district board members to claim $50 per day for performing any function for the district, and the law doesn’t detail what qualifies as work, according to the investigation report. Haas also told investigators that the district is audited by an outside firm and has had no issues.

Berman sat on the board for about a decade “years ago” according to the report and ran in the district’s 2017 elections, losing to Jones, who was appointed to the board a few months before the election. Berman now sits on the board of the Pal-Mar Water Control District.

The South Indian River Water Control District was established in 1923 and today covers 20 square miles, providing special services to Jupiter Farms, Palm Beach Country Estates, Egret Landing and Jupiter Park of Commerce. Its original purpose was to manage stormwater, but now it is in charge of maintaining infrastructure and conducting capital improvement projects such as building roads and water control structures like canals.

Five people are on the board of supervisors and are elected to three-year terms. Three members must live in the district, with at least one living east of the C-18 Canal and one living west of the canal. One person must live outside of the district.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

6 people, including 3 infants, stabbed at New York City day care
6 people, including 3 infants, stabbed at New York City day care

At least six people, including three infants, were stabbed at a New York City day care center Friday morning, WNBC reported. >> Read more trending news  Police were called to the day care center in Queens around 3:40 a.m., WPIX reported. A 52-year-old woman with apparent self-inflicted knife wounds was taken into custody, the television...
At least 86 dead after ferry overturns on Lake Victoria
At least 86 dead after ferry overturns on Lake Victoria

A ferry that overturned on Lake Victoria has resulted in 86 deaths so far and hundreds feared missing, Reuters reported Friday. >> Read more trending news  Only 37 people were rescued Thursday before poor visibility ended the search, CNN reported. Forty-four bodies were recovered Thursday and 42 more were recovered Friday, ...
Accused dealer took ferry, brought children on drug buy, police say
Accused dealer took ferry, brought children on drug buy, police say

A New York man accused for his part in a heroin and fentanyl distribution ring commuted from the Bronx to Staten Island to sell the illicit drugs -- and took his children on a drug buy, police said. >> Read more trending news  Steven Ildefonso was one of six suspects arrested and indicted Thursday, the New York Daily News reported. ...
Tennessee man admits to whipping child, 6, to death with extension cord
Tennessee man admits to whipping child, 6, to death with extension cord

A Tennessee man was arrested for whipping his 6-year-old child to death with an extension cord, police said. >> Read more trending news  Memphis police said Donald Rich, the child’s stepfather, called 911 after the child “began to throw up and became unresponsive.” The incident happened Wednesday.  The...
More Stories