By Selene Raj
At her final meeting as a city commissioner, Julie Fishman was met with words of appreciation and well wishes from her colleagues before she tearfully delivered her final report to her constituents and all the residents of Tamarac.
The Tuesday, November 10 commission meeting was the first since the election, and fellow commissioners and city staff made sure not to let the moment pass without offering their words of thanks to Fishman—noting that because she was such an active part of the city, they knew this didn’t mean goodbye.
Commissioners Debra Placko and Mike Gelin both offered her well-wishes and gratitude for her service and their time on the commission together.
Mayor Michelle Gomez was tearful in her remarks and noted that she had to collect herself before speaking.
“I am very proud to have served with you these past four years. I have had the pleasure of knowing you before coming here through your hard work, advocacy, and dedication,” she said.
Gomez told Fishman that she was a strong woman and that it was great to know that she would continue to advocate for people who need her strength.
“Please keep up the good work, and we know we will see you here, and thank you,” said Gomez.
When the commissioner reports were finished, City Manager Michael Cernech also gifted Fishman with flowers.
“[The flowers] are from all of us; they are for you. They are a very small token of our appreciation for everything that you’ve done for the city, for your residents, and for all of us for the last four years, and we appreciate you very much,” he said.
This will be my last report as the City Commissioner for District 3, and I promise to keep it brief. I would like to take a few moments to say thank you to the people who have made the last four years so special.
First, let me say that I am proud of the work I have done as your Commissioner and the issues I have championed. I am also proud of the campaign I ran, even though the results are not what I had hoped for. It was and will continue to be important to me to live my life with honesty and integrity, even when both are called into question. My campaign was about what I had been able to get done in my time in office. I know that the things I have been able to accomplish with the help of the others here on this dais and the fabulous staff of our City will make a difference for the residents of Tamarac.
It is my hope that the issues I have championed while in office continue to be issues that this commission works on. I promise you I will be working as a private resident to see that they do not get lost.
To my family, who put up with me missing important birthdays/holidays because of ceremonies, meetings, and issues in the city, thank you for allowing me the time to devote to representing the people of Tamarac. To my son Wesley and his girlfriend Haylee, who took care of our dog Gracie Lou for the last few weeks so I could be at Early Voting and Election Day with a clear conscience, thank you. To my mom Carol and my stepfather Ruben, sorry to miss our traditional Memorial Day/ Mom’s birthday long weekends for the last 4 years. Here is to hoping we can get together this coming Memorial Day weekend to celebrate mom’s birthday!
To my fellow members of the Commission, we have had our disagreements as any group will, but I hope that with the elections behind us, there will be a concerted effort to work together and build our community up, not tear it apart.
To our City Manager and our City Attorney, thank you for the unconditional support and guidance you have given me. Knowing that if I had a question or concern, I could call on you at any time, night or day gave me the confidence to make some of the decisions I needed to make. I count you as friends and know we will continue to work together.
To the wonderful people working for our City, you made my job easy! The City of Tamarac has the best employees bar none. Each of you comes to work with a can-do attitude, and the pride you take in what you do shows! Thank you for everything you do! I will always remember the Bravo award lunches and the holiday lunches as a highlight of my time as a Commissioner.
To the residents of District 3 and the City as a whole, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve you and to represent you at the county, state, and federal levels. I have made a lasting friendship with many of you, and I will continue to cherish those friendships. I will still be a voice in the community as I have always considered myself an activist and a public servant. I was active in our city before ever running for office, and I will continue to be active as the work to make our city better than it is, is not complete.
I would be remiss if I did not say thank you to my campaign team. For all of you who made calls, walked neighborhoods, came out for Early Voting and Election Day, and talked to your friends about my race, THANK YOU! You are part of what makes Tamarac such a great place to live. Do not lose your drive to keep your neighbors informed and educated on what is happening in our city.
To the incoming Commissioner, Elvin Villalobos, I wish you well and hope that you remember, you now answer to the people who voted for you and those who voted against you. The work of the campaign is behind you, and now the real work begins! As I said to you before, I am here if you need me.
I have never been about the title of “Commissioner.” I have always been about getting the work of the community done. I started as a community activist and will continue to be an activist for the good of our City. While this is goodbye to serving on the Commission, there is still work to be done in our community and our county.
I will be there.
I will still lend my voice and my muscle to the causes that matter.
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- Selene Raj is a writer and a Florida International University graduate. Born in Trinidad and raised in America, she completed her Master's in Mass Communications in 2020, and has been living in Coral Springs since 2004. She is passionate about the communities she lives and works in and loves reporting and sharing stories that are as complex and meaningful as the people who live in them.
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