By Paula Detwiller
Former Delray Beach Mayor Jay Alperin has been appointed to fill the City Commission seat left vacant by the early departure of Commissioner Fred Fetzer, who resigned effective Aug. 1 for personal and health reasons.
Alperin, a local dentist, was one of 11 applicants for the position. He made it clear he intends to fill Seat 2 on the commission only until a new commissioner is elected next March.
“In order for the public to have a true choice at election time, we need someone in here temporarily, who will not be using it as a stepping stone,” Alperin said.
Citing the previous election, which was canceled when candidate Tom Carney and incumbents Woodie McDuffie and Adam Frankel all ran unopposed, Alperin said Delray citizens deserve the opportunity to select a new Seat 2 commissioner next year from a fresh crop of candidates.
“If someone had been appointed who planned to run in March, they’d have the unfair advantage of an incumbency,” he explained.
Alperin previously served on the Delray Beach City Commission from 1990 to 2000, during which time he was elected to serve as mayor from 1996 to 2000.
He currently sits on the board of directors of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, is the founder and vice president of the Delray Beach Creative City Collaborative and has served on various advisory boards, task forces and committees in Palm Beach County over the past 30 years.
No stranger to the city budget process, Alperin believes his experience will be an asset to the commission as it makes painful spending decisions over the next few months.
“This is probably one of the most difficult budgets the city has had to deal with,” he says.
“There’s a lot of people whose jobs are at risk in the city, and there’s a quality of service we’ve all come to expect. Mishandling the budget could change all that. I don’t want us to take one step backwards.”
Alperin, 64, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He and his wife, Diane, an associate provost at Florida Atlantic University, have two grown daughters and five grandchildren.