Municipal governmental seats up for grabs

By C.B. Hanif

It’s been said that all politics is local. For folks seeking to resolve local issues, the second Tuesday in March — Election Day — is the traditional date for significant civic action.
Public offices from mayor to town councils will be up for vote that day in Briny Breezes, Delray Beach, Gulf Stream, Lantana, Manalapan, Ocean Ridge, South Palm Beach and other Palm Beach County municipalities.
Here are seats up for election, the candidates who have filed to run as of the deadline for this edition (noon, Feb. 1) and candidate qualifying periods in our area:
Up for election are the seats held by Mayor Roger Bennett, Alderman/Town Clerk Kathleen Bray and the one to which Alderman Lowen Poock recently was appointed. Although Bennett has announced his intention to run, as yet no one has filed to seek a seat. The qualifying period ends noon Feb. 8.
Mayor Nelson “Woodie” McDuffie in Seat 5 and Commissioner Adam Frankel in Seat 3 have filed for re-election. Thomas Carney has filed for Seat 1 to which Commissioner Gary Eliopoulos is not seeking to return.
The only other ballot item would ask voters whether to change their elected offiiceholders’ term limits from three, two-year terms to two, three-year terms.
If there are no challengers when the filing period ends Feb. 8, the Commission passed a resolution to cancel the special election regarding commission terms rather than cost taxpayers $40,000 for an election in which the change would be the only ballot item.
Up for election are all five town commissioners: Mayor William Koch, Joan Orthwein, Chris Wheeler, Muriel Anderson and Fred Devitt. No one had filed for any seat; the qualifying period ends noon Feb. 8.
Councilman Tom Deringer’s Group 3 and Councilwoman Elizabeth Tennyson’s Group 4 terms are expiring. Phil Aridas has filed for Group 4, to which Tennyson is not seeking re-election. Deringer has filed for re-election. Qualifying ends noon Feb. 8.
Commissioner Basil Diamond’s term has expired in Seat 1, for which David Cheifetz has filed. Commissioner Donald Brennan has filed for re-election to Seat 3. Seat 5 Commissioner William Bernstein is seeking re-election; Bill Quigley also has filed. For mayoral Seat 7, currently held by Kelly Gottlieb, Diamond has filed. The qualifying period ends noon Feb. 8.
The seats of Commissioners Betty Bingham and Terry Brown are up for re-election. Four candidates have filed: Incumbants Bingham and Brown and challengers Edward Brooks and Zoanne Hennigan. Could be six candidates total if two others who have shown interest qualify. Top two vote-getters win at-large seats. Candidate filling ends 3 p.m. on Feb. 11.
Mayor Donald Clayman has filed for re-election to the seat to which he as former vice mayor was appointed after then-Mayor Martin Millar resigned in December. Councilman Joseph Flagello, who subsequently was appointed to the commission and to the post of vice mayor, has picked up an election package, but not yet filed. Councilman Brian Merbler is up for re-election. The council seats go to the top two vote earners in the at-large races.
Two charter amendments are also on the ballot. One would limit buildings east of A1A to a 60-foot height and the other would prohibit new non-residential uses in town. Candidate qualifying ends noon Feb. 8.  

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