By Mary Hladky
Longtime volunteer Yvette Drucker will replace Jeremy Rodgers on the City Council until his military deployment or his term of office ends.
City Council members voted 3-1 to appoint Drucker on Oct. 27, a decision likely to stir controversy because she has announced her candidacy for Rodgers’ council seat in the March 9 election.
Drucker’s appointment likely will be perceived by some as council members’ using their positions to boost her candidacy.
Council member Andy Thomson made that point as he nominated Rodgers’ wife, Mandy, to temporarily serve.
Rodgers, he said, had recommended that his wife fill his seat, saying she was “best qualified,” had no intention to run for office and would vote as he would on matters coming before the council.
In making an appointment, council members should not “put our finger on the scale,” he said.
Council member Monica Mayotte countered that Drucker would be most accountable to residents because she is running for the position.
Mayor Scott Singer, Deputy Mayor Andrea O’Rourke and Mayotte nominated Drucker.
She was among 32 applicants for the job, an astonishingly high number for a five-month political gig.
Drucker will begin serving at the next City Council meeting on Nov. 10, although she likely will be sworn into office before then so city staff can bring her up to speed on matters coming before the council.
Jeremy Rodgers, a Navy reservist, was called to active duty and deployed in August to Qatar in support of NATO operations in Afghanistan.
He was elected to a three-year council term in 2015 and won re-election in 2018. His term ends on March 31, and because of term limits he cannot run again.
In an Oct. 14 letter, Rodgers asked other council members to fill his position because he could not attend meetings remotely, as he had hoped to do.
Drucker is seeking office for the first time.
She is chair of the Boca Raton Education Task Force and previously served as vice-chair of the Boca Raton Historic Preservation Board. She has been active with the Boca Raton Historical Society and the Junior League of Boca Raton.
Drucker had raised nearly $16,000 from 40 donors as of Sept. 30. She contributed $5,000 to her campaign.
Two other candidates are vying to replace Rodgers.
Former Deputy Mayor Constance Scott is seeking a comeback. Now director of local relations at Florida Atlantic University, Scott served two terms from 2009 to 2015 and was deputy mayor during her final year in office.
She had raised just over $10,000 as of Sept. 30 from 50 donors, who include well-known names such as architects Derek Vander Ploeg and Juan Caycedo and political consultant Rick Asnani.
Perennial candidate Bernard Korn also has announced his candidacy. Korn, a real estate broker, has twice lost elections to Singer. Questions about where Korn lived cropped up in both the 2018 and 2020 city elections. If he does not live in the city, he is not eligible to run.
As he did last year, Korn lists his address as a post office box in the city’s downtown post office. County property records show he owns a home outside the city limits.
He was the only contributor to his campaign as of Sept. 30, giving $10,100.
Mayotte is seeking a second three-year term on the council. As of Oct. 27, she faced no opposition. She has loaned her campaign $50,000.
Candidates will be required to provide proof of residency for the first time. That recent City Council decision was made in the wake of uncertainty over Korn’s actual address.
Candidates must prove they have lived in the city for at least 30 days. If voters approve a charter amendment that will be on the March ballot, the residency requirement will be increased to one year.
Candidates will qualify for office during the first seven regular business days in December.