By Dan Moffett
New Town Council members Bill Birch and Kathy Gross took the oath of office on March 20, completing a governmental overhaul in Briny Breezes that has been many months in the making.
Besides the addition of the two aldermen, Dale Sugerman, a veteran South Florida administrator, is starting his third month as the first town manager in Briny Breeze’s history.
Roger Bennett, who served as the town’s mayor from 2007 to 2013, returns for another term after defeating Mike Hill in a 3-2 council vote in November.
And Maya Coffield joins the administration as deputy clerk after accepting the job in February.
Birch and Gross were unopposed for their seats, after incumbents Bobby Jurovaty and Jim McCormick withdrew their applications for the March election when the challengers came forward.
McCormick said he wanted to save the town the cost of the election, about $8,000, and Jurovaty said he had grown frustrated by the continued bickering between the council and the corporate board. Both aldermen joined the council in April 2014.
Gross, 58, who has been a full-time resident of Briny for about four years, said she “felt the need to represent the people.” Birch, 64, became a full-time resident in the town a year and a half ago, leaving a career as an architect in New Jersey — experience that may prove useful to the council as it considers ways to enforce and improve the town’s building codes.
Jurovaty’s exit required the council to name a new town clerk pro tem, a statutory mandate that Coffield’s part-time position be backed by an elected official or volunteer resident. The council unanimously approved Alderwoman Christina Adams for the position.