By Jane Smith
Delray Beach city commissioners tried to fill a vacant commission seat temporarily, but they remained tied after three votes. They will try again at the Dec. 6 meeting to select a commissioner to serve until the March elections.
The seat was held by Vice Mayor Al Jacquet, who resigned to run for an open state House seat, which he won in the general election. Jacquet chose the latest date possible, Nov. 8, to give up his commission seat.
Ten people had wanted to fill his place. The commission narrowed the field to two minority candidates in mid-November but could not decide between them.
“For the optics on the board, we need a minority,” Mayor Cary Glickstein said in explaining why he voted for Yvonne Odom. A longtime resident and retired educator, she is still involved with youth sports teams. Glickstein said she was “dedicated to this town.”
The other candidate, Josh Smith, was supported by Commissioner Mitch Katz. A longtime resident, Smith is a retired teacher, administrator and a coach. He ran unsuccessfully for a commission seat in 2015, when his signs and the mayor’s dominated the landscape. “He knows this community like the back of his hand,” said Katz.
Four others of the original 10 were: Carol Anderson, a retired attorney and a self-described public policy nerd who joined a group that promotes walking and cycling safety; Jim Chard, Harvard-educated volunteer-around-town who serves on a city board, a task force and a steering committee along with running a nonprofit group dedicated to making the city pedestrian and bike friendly; Connor Lynch, a city native, son of a mayor and a third-generation executive of a family-run business who has served on two city boards and chaired both; and Ken MacNamee, a retired chief financial officer who also is a CPA, a seasonal resident and a frequent email sender whose complaints led the city to reopen a no-bid contract, resulting in millions of dollars saved.
The remaining four were: Christina Morrison, a commercial Realtor who has served as an interim city commissioner, had an unsuccessful run in 2015 and serves on various city and county boards; Otis Payne, a minority businessman who has participated in community meetings for the past 15 years and volunteers with youth-oriented groups; Daniel Rose, a lawyer who serves on the city Community Redevelopment Agency board and is a vocal critic of poorly run sober homes; and Paul Schmitt, a manufacturer’s rep who moved to the city in 1982 and plans to run for a commission seat in March.
Vice Mayor Jordana Jarjura, who moved up from deputy vice mayor after Jacquet left, voted for Chard in the first round. Commissioner Shelly Petrolia and Katz voted for Smith.
In the second round, the commissioners could choose only from the three. Chard was eliminated and there was a tied vote on Odom and Smith. The next round also ended in a tie.
If, after 60 days since the vacancy, they are still deadlocked, the city could hold an election to fill the seat. It would have to be without any help, City Attorney Max Lohman said. The county supervisor of elections said she did not have time to hold an election before March.
The commission did agree to appoint Katz as deputy vice mayor, although Jarjura wanted to wait until the vacant seat was filled.
“That might not happen before March,” Glickstein said.