District staff, current and former board members, elected officials, friends and family gathered recently to pay tribute to three departing Governing Board members, wishing a fond farewell to Ronnie Duncan, Ron Johnson and Maggie Dominguez during a ceremony honoring them for their service on the Governing Board.
“The responsibilities of this District are awesome. Sometimes the demands on staff are overwhelming. But there’s nothing that motivates us more than the positive support and inspired leadership we receive from this Governing Board,” said David L. Moore, executive director.
“We have looked to these three individuals — Maggie, Ronnie and Ron — for leadership, for direction, for support. They have never let us down. Because of their support, we have achieved some wonderful things for the nearly 4 million people of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.”
Maggie Dominguez was appointed by the Governor in March 2001 and served through February 2005. She has served as chair ex officio of the Northwest Hillsborough Basin Board, treasurer of the Governing Board, vice chair of the Governing Board Planning Committee, chair of the Governing Board Finance and Administration Committee and chair of the Regulation Committee.
Dominguez also served as the Governing Board liaison for the Power Plant Task Force that brought together regulators and power plant operators to discuss projected industry expansion and how to meet its water needs.
In addition to her involvement in water resources issues, Dominguez has been a steadfast supporter of diversity. She was a strong leader and advocate of the Inroads program, which offers employment opportunities for student interns with diverse backgrounds. The District piloted this program and was very pleased with the quality of students provided. Dominguez’s leadership in this area has been invaluable.
“No matter what the situation, we could always count on Maggie for a thoughtful, commonsense approach to resolving issues,” said former Governing Board Chair Watson L. Haynes II.
Ronnie Duncan was appointed by the Governor to the Governing Board in March 1999 and served until January 2005, when he stepped down after being elected a Pinellas County Commissioner.
Duncan has served as co-chair ex officio of the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board, chair of the Basin Board Education Committee, vice chair and chair of the District’s Finance and Administration Committee, and treasurer, vice chair and chair of the Governing Board.
During the worst drought in the District’s recorded history, Duncan spearheaded the formation of a Water Conservation Task Force to promote conservation and the efficient uses of water.
He initiated the “Building a Bridge” program to encourage communication between Board members and local elected officials.
He championed many educational initiatives, including the development of environmental education centers.
“He was even responsible for the development of the world’s largest (and possibly only) water conservation puzzle,” Haynes joked.
His outstanding efforts have been recognized by the community, receiving the “10 Who Care” community leadership award from Channel 10 for his work with water conservation and water issues in Tampa Bay, and the 2003 Herman W. Goldner Award for Regional Leadership from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
Ron Johnson was appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to the Board in March 1997, was reappointed by Governor Jeb Bush in 2001, and served through February 2005.
Johnson has served as co-chair ex officio of the Peace River Basin Board, chair of the District’s Finance and Administration and Regulation committees, and treasurer and chair of the Governing Board.
Johnson was actively involved as chair of the Governing Board during the drought-of-the-century. He was dedicated to documenting the drought and exploring a wide variety of options to meet our water needs while protecting the environment.
After his term as chair, Johnson took on the responsibility of personally tracking and visiting the sites of the initial Tampa Bay Water projects being developed under the historic Partnership Agreement, which was designed to end the water wars, restore the environment and develop alternative water sources.
“Ron has demonstrated a rare ability to find common ground among opposing viewpoints, to look past the rhetoric and emotions to find a truth through reason and fairness,” Haynes said.
For more information on the District’s Governing Board, please see the District’s web site at WaterMatters.org/about.