By: Sharon Aron Baron
The applicants to fill the seat of Patti Atkins-Grad who resigned just weeks before a recall election was to take place have been interviewed. Out of eight, only two will move on to have a second interview on Thursday where one candidate could be sworn in that afternoon.
Mike Gelin and Michelle Gomez have both been asked back by the Mayor and commissioners for a second interview. Both Gelin and Gomez were the top two choices for Mayor Talabisco, Vice Mayor Harry Dressler and Commissioner Bushnell, while Commissioner Glasser chose Mike Gelin and Felicia Meadows as her top two choices.
All eight interviews were streamed online and while interesting, many times they were uncomfortable with information about education and background checks exposed. Some candidates had credit issues, and one was arrested but not charged with domestic issues. One candidate had to answer questions about being spotted trespassing on the private golf course where he lives while playing golf without a membership as well as racking up 20 code violations on his home since 2003. When the commission asked one candidate who had a full time 8:30-5:00pm job, how he would find the time to attend city commission meetings, he said he would take sick time and use vacation days.
The two who stood out from the rest had the best backgrounds, experience, and didn’t have to sell themselves because their genuineness, intellect and experience were unmistakable: Those were Michelle Gomez and Mike Gelin.
Mike Gelin stood out with all of the commissioners. He said that “Service is part of my life.” He said he was born in Brooklyn to parents that are Haitian. Gelin is a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist with CBIZ Benefit and Insurance Services and is responsible for business development and client management including strategic planning, financial monitoring, underwriting, market negotiations. Gelin has a BA from Morris Brown College in Business Administration. He also studied in London and Africa during short stints. He has lived in Hampton Hills town homes along with his wife since 2006. He was appointed by Harry Dressler to serve on the Community Involvement Roundtable for the MPO and is on the Men’s basketball league, and is a coach in the youth basketball league. He is a member of the Tamarac Insurance Advisory Board and several other boards.
Michelle Gomez told the commissioners “I think I can bring back some of the unity that I brought to the commission. I believe our city is so wonderful. I believe our city is not broken. I believe it needs to be healed.” Gomez is an attorney, who is President at Saunders, Curtis, Ginestra and Gore, P.A. and was appointed to fill Atkin-Grad’s seat in 2010 during her two and a half year suspension from office. Gomez received her law degree from NSU – Shepard Broad Law Center and her undergraduate from American University where she holds both a Masters in Public Communication and a BA in the combined: Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government. She is a graduate of Tamarac University and her family, as well as herself have been a resident of the Woodlands Country Club for many years where she is a homeowner. Gomez hasn’t missed a beat since Atkins-Grad was reinstated back in 2012. Gomez has been attending meetings and watching every commission meeting and keeping up with city events. Once a Republican, Gomez is now a NPA or No Party Affiliation since she told Tamarac Talk the seat is nonpartisan anyway.
Both Gomez and Gelin will be interviewed at 1 pm on Thursday and one of them could be sworn in that afternoon.