By Dan Moffett
By comfortable margins, South Palm Beach voters rejected a call for change from political newcomer Robert Gargano on March 15 and returned incumbents Robert Gottlieb and Stella Gaddy Jordan to the Town Council.
Gottlieb received 337 votes, roughly 43 percent of those cast, Jordan followed with 285 (37 percent) and Gargano got 156 (20 percent). The top two finishers were elected to two-year terms.
Gottlieb, 75, first joined the Town Council in 2005 and has served five terms, in part or in full, since. While all council members have cited beach restoration as their No. 1 priority, Gottlieb also has said that the town has to improve its long-range planning, upgrade its technology and lower the tax rate now that property values have risen.
“At some point, we have to give some relief back to our residents, our taxpayers,” he said.
Jordan, 75, is beginning her fourth term since first winning election to the council in 2010. She told voters the council has to focus on setting a five-year plan for the town’s recently hired administrative team.
“We have a new town manager and a new town clerk,” Jordan said. “Now the council has to give them our priorities so they can work together and know what’s expected of them. Until now, we haven’t done as much planning as we should have.”
Gargano, 68, a semi-retired chemical engineer and technology consultant, characterized council members as “nice people” who were unqualified to lead the town, especially in financial matters. During a town meeting late last year, Gargano told the council it was making a mistake in approving a 10-year contract with Waste Management.
By Dan Moffett