By Steve Plunkett
After 19 months as a Gulf Stream town commissioner, Thom Smith has called it quits, resigning his position at the end of the board’s Nov. 9 meeting.
“I have been honored and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to serve the town I feel so strongly about,” he read from his prepared resignation letter. “We have a very special place to live and recreate and I look forward to it remaining so for many years to come.”
Outside the meeting, Smith said he resigned to have more time to devote to his accounting business and to family members who live outside of town.
He was not worried, he said, about having to disclose his net worth and other financial details on the state’s Form 6 had he remained on the dais. Filing the Form 6 is a new requirement this year for elected municipal leaders in office as of Dec. 31.
“I could have handled it,” Smith said.
Smith, who was born and grew up in Gulf Stream, was appointed to the commission in April 2022 after serving as chairman of the town’s Architectural Review and Planning Board. He replaced Donna White, who moved to Palm Beach Gardens.
Smith joined the ARPB as an alternate in May 2008 and became a full board member in March 2009. He took the reins as chairman in June 2018.
Also at the Nov. 9 meeting, town commissioners accepted the resignation of Jorgette Smith from the ARPB “for personal reasons” and elevated Michael Greene, an alternate member, as a full member of the board.
Jorgette Smith joined the planning board as an alternate in December 2017 and became a full member in June 2018.
Thom Smith’s departure will give the commission a chance to add someone from Place Au Soleil, whose residents filled a commission seat continuously from 1998 until Smith’s appointment last year. It’s up to commissioners to appoint someone to fill the seat, which isn’t up for election until 2026.
Though out of office, Smith was still expected to attend the December meeting and maybe more, lending his financial expertise to reviews of higher-than-expected bids for road and drainage work in the town’s Core District and of a proposal to make Boynton Beach the town’s provider of drinking water instead of Delray Beach.
“It makes sense to go to Boynton, but the costs seem very high,” Mayor Scott Morgan said.
Assistant Town Attorney Trey Nazzaro said Boynton Beach’s water rates are lower than Delray Beach’s, but Gulf Stream would have to pay $2 million up front to connect to its system, making the break-even point seven years in the future.
Morgan also noted the September passing of Commissioner Joan Orthwein’s husband, Percy “Perk” Orthwein II, who Morgan hailed as a good husband, good father and a patriarch of one of the oldest families in town.
“What I remember best about Perk is that he was a remarkable raconteur,” Morgan said. “He was a wonderful man to tell a story. He could regale you with a story that (was) sometimes factual, sometimes apocryphal but always with a sense of humor. Sometimes a touch of sarcasm, but it always made for the most interesting story. And that’s how I like to remember my time with Perk.”