By Dan Moffett
Vice Mayor Don MaGruder’s decision not to run for a second term in the March 17 election left two seats open on the Ocean Ridge Town Commission with two candidates qualified and ready to claim them.
Incumbent Commissioner Susan Hurlburt returns for a full three-year term on the commission after serving out a partial one-year term that began last year.
Political newcomer Martin Wiescholek takes over the seat held by MaGruder, who announced in November plans to move to North Carolina after more than 30 years in Ocean Ridge.
Wiescholek, a frequent contributor during public comment periods at town meetings, says he looks forward to advancing MaGruder’s agenda.
“I will be filling his seat and hope to be able to make a smooth transition, carrying the torch of environmental responsibility and smart government he has held in town for so long,” Wiescholek, an ICT Group managing partner, said in an email to The Coastal Star. ICT Group is a private investment firm advising clients in wealth planning and international investment strategies.
On recent hot-button issues, Wiescholek has spoken in support of police body-worn cameras as a way to protect the town against lawsuits, and he supported letting voters decide whether to require supermajority commission votes to guard against excessive development.
A three-year resident of Ocean Ridge, Wiescholek says he wants to draw on the experience gained living in other Florida oceanfront communities to help guide his commission work. He has scheduled a meet and greet event for 6 p.m. on March 4 in Town Hall, to introduce himself to residents and discuss issues facing the commission.
Hurlburt was the choice of voters last March to fill the remainder of the term left by former Mayor James Bonfiglio, who resigned to run for the state Legislature. He was unsuccessful. Ú
By Dan Moffett