By: Sharon Aron Baron
November elections are still nine months away, and the city of Tamarac will have three seats on the ballot, including two on the commission as one for Mayor. If you are a civic-minded resident that has an interest in our local government, consider throwing your hat into the ring.
These are lucrative part-time jobs, so it would be a shame if any of these candidates ran unopposed. For instance, a commissioner in Tamarac makes $29,000, and the mayor makes $34,000 plus each gets a hefty $700 a month car allowance plus a host of other benefits as well.
Currently, no one has opened up a campaign account to run for Mayor. There isn’t any news whether recently suspended Mayor Beth Talabisco’s trial on corruption charges will be heard before the election. According to city attorney Sam Gorin, Talabisco could still run for mayor just as Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones did in 2009.
Today, only two residents have opened up campaign accounts: Vice Mayor Michelle Gomez and Resident Stewart Webster.
Gomez, an attorney who resides in the Woodlands, was appointed twice to fill in for Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad. First, during Atkins-Grad’s suspension from office by Rick Scott, then a second time after Commissioner Atkins-Grad resigned just weeks before a recall election would be held. Gomez has never been elected by the residents of District Two.
Stewart Webster is a Tax Preparer who resides in Versailles Gardens Condominiums and has a long history of community involvement, including running for the school board back in 2010.
No one in District Four covering Woodmont Country Club and the Sunflower-Heathgate area has opened up an election account. No word yet if recently appointed Mayor Harry Dressler will run again as a commissioner or mayor.
Dressler, self-employed, and a resident of Woodmont, won both elections in 2006 and 2009 unopposed. After Talabisco’s suspension, even though Dressler was not Vice Mayor at the time, he was nominated as Mayor for the interim after Vice Mayor Gomez said she wanted to concentrate on the commitment she made to her own district.
On February 25 and 26, the commission will interview the District 4 replacement to serve until the November election.
If you are interested in running for mayor, you can live anywhere in the city. If you want to run for the commission, you must live in either District Two or Four. Next, you will need to find a campaign treasurer to open a campaign account. Contact Pat Teufel with the City Clerk’s office for more information.
As residents, we deserve a choice in selecting our elected officials. When no one files and runs against the current commissioners, residents do not get that choice.