By Dan Moffett
Former state Rep. Mark Weissman and incumbent Bill LeRoy claimed the two contested seats on the South Palm Beach Town Council in the March 12 municipal election, denying Councilwoman Elvadianne Culbertson another two-year term.
Weissman led the four-candidate field with 134 votes, roughly 29 percent of those cast, and LeRoy was close behind with 127 votes, or 27 percent. Culbertson, a three-year veteran of the council, got 109 votes (23.5 percent) and Kevin Hall, property manager of Palmsea Condominiums, 94 votes (20 percent).
Bonnie Fischer, who has served as mayor since 2015, was unopposed and returns for a third term. Council members unanimously reappointed Robert Gottlieb as vice mayor during their March 19 meeting.
Weissman, making his first run for office in South Palm Beach, appeared to resonate with voters because of his experience as a public official. He served as a state legislator from west Broward County during 2000-2002 and was a Parkland city commissioner for 14 years.
Weissman, 70, said “getting the people of our town to be more participatory” is one of his goals. He proposes reaching out to each condo building and creating a council of condo presidents to consider issues for council action.
“Not only so they know each other,” Weissman said, “but also so they know that the council is concerned about the same things the buildings are.”
Voters reelected LeRoy, a 3 1/2-year resident of the town who joined the council last year after winning a partial term created by the sudden death of Vice Mayor Joe Flagello in 2017.
LeRoy, 66, is an advocate for raising police salaries, which on average rank among the lowest in Palm Beach County.
He said, with roughly $3.5 million in cash reserves, the town can easily afford to boost officers’ pay.
“We’ve got all this money and we take care of our people so poorly,” LeRoy said. “We’ve got to take care of our people. If you don’t, they’re going to leave.”
In all, 285 South Palm voters cast ballots in the March election, a turnout of 22 percent.