By Tim O’Meilia
The South Palm Beach Town Council is going green. Not environmentally speaking, but experience-wise.
Two new council members, Stella Jordan and Susan Lillybeck, were sworn at the March
23 Town Council meeting by U. S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley, giving the
council four members in their first two-year term.
Councilmen Brian Merbler and Donald Clayman completed their first elected year in office
(although Clayman was appointed three months before he ran). Only Mayor Martin
Millar has much time behind the council table. He served four years as a
councilman before he was elected mayor in 2009.
But that didn’t stop the council from making two immediate, if minor, changes in
town procedures. At Jordan’s suggestion, the council moved to change its
monthly meeting from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. And, at the mayor’s urging, the
council will be called “council members” individually instead of the more
formal and seldom-used “councilors.” Both changes were approved unanimously.
“The honeymoon begins tonight and ends tonight,” Merbler jokingly told his two new colleagues.
The March 9 election was a clear-cut win for those who opposed a 10-story
condominium hotel on the site of the Palm Beach Oceanfront Inn, the only
commercial property in town.
Jordan and Lillybeck handily defeated four other first-time candidates, Iris
Lieberman, Isabella Ralston-Charnley, Richard Akin and Clare Semer. Lieberman
and Ralston-Charnley favored changing the town’s comprehensive plan to allow
The Town Council turned down the proposal by a 3-2 vote in September but two of the
council members opposing the change — Charles McCrosson and Joseph Flagello —
did not seek re-election. McCrosson recently moved to the Florida Keys.
Jordan and Lillybeck each attracted more than 30 percent of the votes. No other
candidate reached 15 percent. Almost 37 percent of the town’s 1,303 registered
voters cast ballots.
“You spoke loudly, clearly and decisively on election day,” Jordan told the meeting
of about 75 residents. “The election confirms what the town’s comprehensive
Jordan, a retired banker, said she would follow the voices of the town’s residents.
“The residents of South Palm Beach are at the top of the organizational chart.
The mayor and the council report to you.”
Lillybeck, who owns a doughnut shop in a Chicago suburb, thanked the residents who worked
for her election. “I can’t tell you how honored I am to be sitting here, that
you chose me for this job. I will make you proud that you put me here,” she
In other business, the council accepted the annual audit performed by the
accounting firm of MarcumRachlin. Accountant Andrew Fierman said the town’s
books showed no deficiencies and the $1.95 million in reserves “is indicative
of the good financial health of the town.”