Filling Al Jacquet’s (largely) empty seat and other items of note

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Filling the empty seat

Delray Beach has produced what Mayor Cary Glickstein correctly calls “a very credible list” of candidates to replace Commissioner Al Jacquet, (above) who is resigning effective Nov. 8. In August, Jacquet was elected to the Florida House District 88 seat.

Two weeks from today, the commission will choose Jacquet’s replacement. The choice will be difficult. Several candidates have served on multiple city boards, which long have been the farm system for aspiring commissioners. Some would bring a needed perspective. Some have qualifications but other issues.

Here’s a look:

Carol Anderson: She spent nearly 30 years as a lawyer for Miami-Dade County and moved to the city about six years ago. Now retired, she is best known in Delray Beach for her work with Safety As Floridians Expect (SAFE), which seeks to make the city pedestrian- and cycle-friendly and to reduce traffic. Anderson has served on the civil service board.

James Chard: A 12-year resident, he brings an extensive resume. Chard serves on the Site Plan Review and Appearance Board and on the Congress Avenue Task Force. In addition, he’s chairman of Human Powered Delray. His resume credits Chard with writing the master plan for the Osceola Park neighborhood, where he lives. He’s lived in Delray Beach for 12 years.

Connor Lynch: The son of former mayor and commissioner Tom Lynch has made his own impressive resume. Lynch has served on the Planning and Zoning and Site Plan Review and Appearance boards, starting when he was in his 20s, and was chairman of both. He’s the chief operating officer of Plastridge Insurance, the family business that is based in Delray Beach. He also has spent time on numerous business boards and has a long list of volunteer involvement.

Ken MacNamee: He deserves some of the credit for Delray Beach getting a better deal on trash hauling. Up to and after a previous commission in 2012 extended the city’s contact without competitive bidding, MacNamee—an accountant by training—advocated for a different approach and supplied numbers to show the potential savings. Delray went to court to void the contract as violating city requirements for competitive bidding, and the newly bid contract brought millions in savings.

Christina Morrison: She’s a Realtor who has long been active in the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce. She spent time on two city boards and currently serves on the Pineapple Grove Neighborhood Association. Morrison also is active outside the city, serving on the county’s economic council and criminal justice commission. Morrison already has filled a vacancy by appointment, and she finished second to Mitch Katz in the four-way District 4 race last year and third in a four-way race in 2012.

Yvette Odom: She retired after teaching for 45 years in the public schools, but Odom remains involved with what has been her passion—youth sports. Odom and her husband started the Delray Beach American Little League more than four decades ago, and the city named Odom Field in their honor. Odom is a regular at commission meetings, noting humorously that she usually stays until “the bitter end.” She offers herself as a candidate “without any or very little controversy.”

Otis Payne: As he notes in his application, the West Settlers Historic District, where Payne lives, is a target for marketing and revitalization. Payne serves on the West Settlers Neighborhood Association and is a member of the Spady Heritage Museum and Delray Beach Community Land Trust. Payne is the “semi-retired” owner of a pest control business. He’s lived in Delray Beach since 1978.

Daniel Rose: He is a lawyer with a solo practice in Delray Beach. Rose is a board member of the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and served previously on the Parking Management Advisory Board. Of all the candidates, he devoted the most space on his application to the problem of sober houses.

In 2010, Rose pleaded guilty to two complaints lodged with the Florida Bar. According to Florida Supreme Court documents, Rose in one case wrongly notarized a mortgage note and in another case put money from a client’s account into his own account. Rose received a public reprimand and had to attend ethics and accounting training.

Paul Schmitt: He has one of the thinner backgrounds when it comes to community service. His application notes that his attendance at commission meetings has concerned mostly issues related to Lake Ida, where he has lived since 1983. His professional career has been in sales.

Josh Smith: He’s a longtime activist in the northwest neighborhoods who served on the Code Enforcement Board. Smith ran last in the four-candidate commission race in 2015.

Only Chard and Schmitt indicated on their applications that they would or might run for a full term in 2017 if the commission appointed them. That might come into play with commissioners who believe that the appointee should be a placeholder, not someone seeking an edge by being able to run as a semi-incumbent.

Another factor could be that Seat 2 traditionally has been the commission’s minority seat. Jacquet is Haitian-American, and Delray Beach is much more diverse than Boca Raton, where diversity on the city council mostly has to do with where one lives. If diversity matters to the commission, it would favor Odom, Payne or Smith.

If the commission wants a choice that would acknowledge all the young families who are moving to Delray, the candidate would be Lynch. Surprisingly, given his father’s record, Lynch also said he would not be a candidate if he got the seat on an interim basis.

And despite his earlier good work, MacNamee is more known now for sending email rants that suggest Glickstein is a “fraud” and attack Commissioner Jordana Jarjura. Even though MacNamee might serve just four months, he hasn’t shown that he can play well with others.

My guess at this point is that the commission picks Lynch or Odom. I also would guess that even if the interim commissioner runs, there will be a big field next March. That generally happens with open seats.

City Attorney update

At today’s 3 p.m. special meeting, the city commission will pick Delray Beach’s new city attorney. Four firms will make presentations. The commissioners then must decide not just which firm does the work, but how the firm will do it. As with Jacquet’s vacancy, the outcome might be a short-term solution, with the issue returning next year before a new commission.

CRA spending

It reads like a fairly routine item on tonight’s Delray Beach City Commission meeting agenda, but for the city it’s a big deal.

That would be the agreement between the city and the Community Redevelopment Agency on capital spending in this year’s budget. Over the summer, City Manager Don Cooper and CRA Director Jeff Costello cooperated on what Cooper calls a 12-year plan to improve public works. Rather than continue what Cooper called a “piecemeal” approach, the city will target an area and do all the work—leaving something residents can see and appreciate.

For that to happen, however, the CRA had to pay a larger share of the cost. State law defines how CRAs can spend the money that comes from property taxes, but Cooper and Costello worked out a plan that meets the law and satisfies the city’s need for greater sharing.

Example: In some cases, the city will issue a bond, but the CRA will make the payment. Roughly one-fourth of all property value increases comes from within the CRA.

For this year, the CRA will contribute roughly $10 million. Cooper said that’s an increase of about $2 million. Much of the work will be concentrated in Osceola Park. The big items are $1.9 million for alleys on Southeast Second Avenue and Southeast Second Street and $1.6 million for alleys and streetscape improvements on Northeast Third Avenue and Northeast Third Street. There’s nearly $840,000 for other neighborhood improvement design.

Elsewhere, there’s $800,000 for a Pompey Park master plan, $500,000 for upgrades to Old School Square and $800,000 for alleys in the southwest neighborhoods.

“The CRA tail had been wagging the city dog,” Mayor Glickstein said. “Now, the city is guiding the CRA.” Cooperation on both sides made it happen.

Frankel wants in

You can’t fault Adam Frankel for lack of persistence.

The former Delray Beach city commissioner sought a position on the Boca Raton police/fire pension board, asking the city council to waive the requirement that board members live in the city. The council chose someone else.

So Frankel has applied for a seat on Delray Beach’s new, five-member police pension board. Among the other applicants is the city’s chief financial officer, Jeff Snyder.

Since Delray Beach changed its public safety pension program because of commission dissatisfaction with decision the pension board made when Frankel served on the board, one doubts that Frankel has much chance. Commissioner Jacquet will make the nomination.

Mizner 200

Hurricane Matthew delayed review of the Mizner 200 condo project by Boca Raton’s community appearance and planning and zoning boards. A city spokeswoman told me Monday that Mizner 200 now will go before the Community Appearance Board on Nov. 1 and the Planning and Zoning Board on Nov. 3.

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