The Coastal Star

Ocean Ridge: Four candidates contend for two commission seats

    Ocean Ridge’s elections will fill the Town Commission seat held by James Bonfiglio and an open seat formerly held by Richard Lucibella, who resigned in December. The term length is three years.

Profiles compiled by Steven J. Smith

Richard Bajakian
    Personal: 59; graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in biology; graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where he received his M.D.; 26-year resident of Ocean Ridge; engaged.

    Professional: Currently practices as a neuroradiologist, a subspecialty of radiology; worked at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis from 1991-2001; opened his own imaging center, MRI Specialists, in Boynton Beach in 2002.    

    Political experience: Has never been elected to public office, but served for 10 years on the Ocean Ridge Planning and Zoning Commission.

    Positions on issues: Strong local police force; keeping taxes down; wants a small-town feeling to the community; wants to protect property values; concerned with how activities in other communities might infringe upon Ocean Ridge; wants to maintain natural resources and respond to needs of the community.

    Quote: “My goal is to represent my town’s interest as best as possible and look out for the interests of all the people in Ocean Ridge.”

James Bonfiglio
(incumbent)
    Personal: 63; degrees in history and political science from the University of Rochester; law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, 30-year resident of Ocean Ridge; divorced, no children.


    Professional: Practicing law in Florida since 1979, specializing in mortgage foreclosure defense work for the last 30 years.    
Political experience: Member of the Ocean Ridge Town Commission since 2014; currently the town’s vice mayor.

     Positions on issues: Cleaning up the Woolbright retention pond; road paving; improving radio communications system for the police force; building reserves in the budget for unforeseen circumstances; hooking up south-end communities of town to a sewer system; attending to flooding issues in the north end of town.

    Quote: “We have a pretty good town balance now. We have $156,000 currently in our contingency fund and we’ve allocated $180,000 in capital projects for our road-paving program. We have, I think, $2.5 million in reserves, which is 50 percent of our operating budget. I’d like to get that up a little more, because that’s what we draw on for emergencies. I’m a lawyer and the Town Commission needs a lawyer to help it through these difficult times.”

Don MaGruder
    Personal: 74; MBA in business administration from the University of Miami; resident of Ocean Ridge for 31 years; married, two adult children.


    Professional: 34 years as director of administration for five law firms around the state.


    Political experience: Never elected to political office, but is a current member of the Ocean Ridge Board of Adjustment.


    Positions on issues: Maintain small-town ambiance; oversee the town’s drainage system to check the rising sea levels and ensure flood control; wants license tag recognition cameras installed to maintain security; need police ATV beach patrols for weekends and holidays; concerned with potential overdevelopment in the south end of town.


    Quote: “I’ve attended almost every meeting in Ocean Ridge over the 31 years I’ve been here, so I’m in sync with what’s going on. I believe it’s time for me to give back to my community. That’s why I’m running.”

Nan Yablong
    Personal: 65; master’s degree from Boston University in nursing; resident of Ocean Ridge for six years; married; two children.

    Professional: Served as RN CEO of a health management company for five years.

    Political experience: None.

    Positions on issues: Sees a need for developing and organizing standards of performance in job descriptions for all town employees; wants to maintain quality of life; secure a stable economic future.

    Quote: “We need a mechanism to do performance evaluations for Ocean Ridge town employees that is accurate and can be used in hiring and termination practices. It’s also important to maintain the unique and beautiful seaside quality of our town. I want to represent everyone in our town. There have been times in the past when our Town Commission did not do that. I look forward to a bright future for our town.”

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