By Larry Barszewski
The Town Commission has appointed Aileen Carlucci, a Manalapan resident for little more than a year, to replace term-limited Commissioner Simone Bonutti.
Town Manager Linda Stumpf recruited Carlucci for the position, saying Bonutti had suggested to her that Carlucci might make a good addition to the board.
No one filed to run for Bonutti’s Seat 4, so the election scheduled for March never happened and it fell to town commissioners to appoint someone to fill the vacancy for the two-year term at their March 22 meeting.
“I reached out to her and she said, yes, she was very interested,” Stumpf said.
Stumpf also contacted another resident who had expressed an interest in the past, but he was not available to serve now, she said.
It can be a challenge to keep the seven-member commission vacancy-free.
There hasn’t been a commission election in town since 2010, Stumpf said. Either candidates have run unopposed or it has been left to commissioners to appoint someone to a vacant seat.
There are only about 400 people in town and about half are only part-time residents who aren’t Florida voters, Stumpf said. The seat held by Bonutti had to be filled by someone living along the ocean, making the task even more difficult.
“There’s not a very big pool to choose from,” Stumpf said.
But the opportunity was great for Carlucci, who has never held elective office before but was looking for ways to be active in her new hometown.
“I am very interested in being a part of this beautiful community I live in,” said Carlucci, 63. She moved to Florida from Maryland about three years ago, and then to Manalapan in December 2020.
“We initially moved to Delray to see if we could acclimate to Florida and be a family here,” she said. “We started to look for a forever home and we identified Manalapan as the place we wanted to be.”
Carlucci and her husband, Bob, purchased an ocean-to-Intracoastal Waterway property in town. They were attracted by that dual access and the instant membership town residents have in La Coquille Club at the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, she said.
“It would allow us to be quickly involved in the community,” Carlucci said. “We moved to the community during the pandemic, which made it very difficult to meet new people.”
Originally from New York City and a graduate of SUNY Potsdam, also known then as Potsdam College, Carlucci said she has always been interested in the arts.
“I do a lot of needlework and sewing, a lot of creative crafts,” she said. Carlucci said she helped found Yumi CARES in Baltimore with Yumi Hogan, wife of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Carlucci serves on the board of directors of the organization, which provides art therapy for children facing health challenges such as cancer.
She previously served on the Maryland State Arts Council.
Her husband is a developer and restaurant franchisee, she said. Although Carlucci said she helps at her husband’s business, she adds, “I am the happiest woman alive to be a homemaker.”
The couple has two married children.