By Mary Hladky

Fran Nachlas, who won election to the City Council on Nov. 9 when she was the only candidate who filed to run for a vacant seat, won’t be waiting until March to take her place on the dais.
10895623070?profile=RESIZE_180x180Council members voted unanimously on Nov. 22 to appoint her to the position effective Dec. 1.
“I think it makes sense to have her begin now,” said Mayor Scott Singer, who proposed the appointment. “It serves a purpose to have a full complement of council members.”
The three other council members concurred.
New council members typically begin serving after the March city elections. But with Nachlas already a council member-elect, “there is no point in waiting until March,” said Deputy Mayor Andrea O’Rourke.
“It is a humbling experience to take the dais in this manner,” Nachlas said, “and I want to say thank you.”
Nachlas is a retired surgical nurse and the mother of four. She and her husband, Nathan, a reconstructive surgeon, founded the nonprofit SafeSun in 2012 to raise awareness of skin cancer.
A four-member City Council can be problematic because of the possibility of a 2-2 vote on major issues. Developers and others tend to hold off on bringing matters before the council until five members are serving.
Florida’s resign-to-run law forced Andy Thomson to step down on Nov. 7 so he could pursue his candidacy for the Florida House District 91 seat, but he narrowly lost that election to Peggy Gossett-Seidman.
In December, the council will consider amending the City Charter to increase the terms of office for mayor and council members to four years from three years.
If council members approve the change, proposed by Singer, voters will have the final say in the March 14 election. Council members would continue to be limited to serving two terms in office.
If the change is adopted, the terms of Singer, Nachlas and the person who wins election to replace term-limited O’Rourke would expire in March 2027 rather than March 2026. The terms of Yvette Drucker and Monica Mayotte would be extended by one year and expire in March 2025.
By increasing the amount of time between elections, the City Council would be more stable and more effective because members would have additional time to bolster their expertise on city matters, Singer said.
No other council member commented on Singer’s proposal on Nov. 22. But at a workshop meeting the day before, O’Rourke said she was not sure that she would want longer terms.

10895625459?profile=RESIZE_710xThe abstract mural at the new Brightline station. Rendering provided


In other business, council members received an assurance from Brian Kronberg, Brightline’s vice president of development, that the new Boca Raton train station will open by the end of December, as has long been expected.
“It is imminent and we are really excited about it,” Kronberg said. But he declined to give a specific date, saying that Brightline typically does not announce until a few weeks before the rail service begins.
Kronberg also unveiled a mural that will adorn a 60-foot wall between the entrance of the parking garage and the main entrance to the station.
O’Rourke, a strong proponent of art in public places, had asked Brightline officials to provide the artwork. They agreed and commissioned it from Boca Raton artist Ben Heller.
The focal point, Heller said, is a vintage city sign that will let passengers know they are arriving in Boca Raton.
The left side of the mural features an image of the golden dome on the city’s old town hall. An abstract rendition of The Boca Raton’s pink tower hotel building is on the right. White lines in the center connote train tracks, and a whimsical flamingo peeks out over the city sign.
“Thank you for your work,” O’Rourke said. “I appreciate the nod to history.
“Also it has the cool factor. I think you hit all the marks.”
“It is whimsical and fun and I think it is exactly what I would love to see here,” Mayotte said. “You know you are in Boca Raton.”

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