By Dan Moffett
Gulf Stream town commissioners turned to their Architectural Review and Planning Board to find a replacement for Robert Ganger, who vacated his commission seat in July because of health reasons.
They unanimously appointed Paul Lyons, the ARPB chairman, to fill the void until next March’s election, citing his familiarity with town issues and his commitment to service.
“The ARPB is the source of experience for someone coming onto the commission,” said Mayor Scott Morgan, who nominated Lyons during the Aug. 12 town meeting. “He’s dealing with issues we deal with — design, preservation.”
Morgan served with Lyons on the ARPB several years ago and recalls how he flew to Florida from New York in the morning to attend a meeting, then flew back to New York that afternoon.
“He’s a very good choice,” said Commissioner Joan Orthwein. “He’s knowledgable of what’s going on in the town — the building and the new construction.”
Lyons, 70, has owned a home on Polo Drive since 2006. Professionally, he has a background in finance and business that will be an asset for the commission, Morgan said.
“He seems very energetic and very willing in working on the ARPB,” said Commissioner Donna White.
Ganger is recovering from a stroke suffered in April. The commission unanimously approved the appointment of Commissioner Thomas Stanley to replace him as the town’s vice mayor.
“Bob is an important member of this commission,” Morgan said. “He’s truly a unique one, with knowledge and experience, who’s able to express it with eloquence that really has evidenced his leadership capabilities.”
Commissioners said they will miss the breadth of Ganger’s knowledge: He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale, an MBA from Harvard, then went on to become a senior vice president at Kraft General Foods, where he oversaw product management of Jell-O.
Since settling in Gulf Stream 24 years ago, Ganger has championed preservation causes, co-founding the Florida Coalition for Preservation in 2007.
He has taken a lead role in representing Gulf Stream’s interests before governments in Delray Beach and the barrier island communities — and in Tallahassee, where last year he lobbied the state Legislature to give municipalities relief from abuses of public records laws.
He was instrumental in putting together Gulf Stream’s ambitious project to move its utility lines underground.
“He’s unique in my opinion as someone in the town of Gulf Stream who could give countless hours and energy helping this town, improving this town, preserving this town,” Morgan said.
Orthwein said, “Nobody can replace Mr. Ganger.”