Bergeron: ‘The most important thing I’ve got is my reputation’
Ron Bergeron said Friday he wouldn’t tarnish his reputation by doing anything unethical as a member of the powerful board that supervises South Florida water supplies and restoration of the Everglades.
“The most important thing I’ve got is my reputation,” Bergeron said in an interview. “It took me 55 years to have the reputation, and that’s more important than all my success. I just look forward to making a difference in something I know about.”
The something is the Everglades, and he wants to make a difference as a member of the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District. Gov. Ron DeSantis wants him there, announcing on Jan. 29 he intended to appoint Bergeron.
The actual appointment was delayed so Bergeron’s business interests
could be examined for potential conflicts.
He is CEO of the Bergeron Family
of Companies, a group of businesses including highway construction, rock pits and quarries, agriculture, real estate development, solid waste management and disaster recovery services.
“It was my recommendation to the governor that I go through the Ethics Commission because I’m a businessman. My companies are all over America and I wanted to make sure that everything was transparent, and what I would have to abstain from,” he said.
Bergeron said Friday the staff of the Florida Commission on Ethics has completed its review, and he is awaiting action by the commission. The panel has a meeting scheduled for April 12; no agenda has yet been posted.
DeSantis said on March 15 he hoped to be able to appoint Bergeron in April — and gave him a strong show of support.
“Ronnie is unique because this guy is, he bleeds, Everglades. This is his life, and his passion is very clear. And so normally, on a normal
person I wouldn’t have wanted to go through a screen like this. I would just say ‘Look, I’ll find someone else.’ But I think because Ronnie is somebody who would clearly understand the Everglades and it’s a passion of his, I just think the board would benefit from having his leadership on there,” DeSantis said at the time.
After DeSantis said he’d appoint Bergeron, Treasure Coast Newspapers reported that Bergeron signed a contract for one of his companies to complete another company’s unfinished work on a storm water treatment area in western Martin County.
Bergeron said there was nothing improper about that contract.
“We bid that job threeand-a-half years ago, and we were the second bidder. And unfortunately the low bidder defaulted, couldn’t complete the work, so he was removed I think some time in November of last year. The second bidder was my company so we were contacted, which was proper protocol, to finish the job,” Bergeron said.
Bergeron, who lives on a ranch in western Broward, served 10 years on the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Ron Bergeron, CEO of the Bergeron Family of Companies and advocate for the Everglades, during an interview Friday in Davie.