Does self-proclaimed Award-Winning Commissioner Marlon Bolton serve two masters by working jobs at both the City of Tamarac and Broward County?
By Agrippina Fadel
Residents question whether the vice mayor and full-time Broward County commission aide Marlon Bolton should have a say in whether the Tamarac Fire Rescue is handed over to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Bolton, also coincidentally known as Prophet Fire, suggested the handover at the February Strategic Planning Session, asking City Manager Levent Sucuoglu to send a letter of intent to BSO as soon as possible.
At the April 26 commission meeting, residents asked whether Bolton could effectively represent Tamarac’s interests. Several called for his resignation, stating the fire rescue issue is a conflict of interest for a politician trying to serve two masters: Tamarac constituents and his county employer, Commissioner Hazelle Rogers.
Commissioner Elvin Villalobos believes the vice mayor may be targeting Tamarac firefighters because their union did not endorse him when Bolton ran in 2020. Neither did they endorse Kicia Daniel and Morey Wright in the 2022 election.
Daniel and Wright support Bolton’s idea to explore handing fire rescue services to BSO.
During public comments, Dr. Darcy Schiller said the residents would do anything to keep fire rescue services in the city.
“Now that Bolton is employed by both the county and Tamarac, is it going to be a conflict of interest during the vote for the fire department?” Schiller asked. “The county is going to benefit from it, and this could be a feather in [Bolton’s] cap. We need to look into that.”
Resident Dr. Kate Johnson congratulated Bolton on his new full-time position with the county. Still, she said he must resign as Tamarac commissioner, citing that his jobs cover different districts and keep conflicting hours. She added that since Bolton has time for another full-time job, he should not have any community engagement liaisons to help serve Tamarac residents.
Another resident, Ed Radish, praised the expertise and professionalism of the current Tamarac firefighters who consistently win statewide firefighting competitions. He said switching to the BSO team, which doesn’t rate as high on the state level, would be a “slap in the face” to the current fire rescue team. “This is a disgrace,” Radish said.
Harold Strassler, the Director of Corporate Facilities at Sonny’s Car Wash, emphasized the importance of the existing relationship between the city’s fire rescue team and local businesses.
“Having a local group that can help over the phone or comes out for an inspection – that relationship is special. Not every city has [such a great fire department], and you should be proud,” he said.
Strassler reminded the commissioners that Sonny’s, who currently employs 700 in the city while operating over 500,000 square feet of commercial space, expressed his disappointment in the potential switch.
According to City Manager Sucuoglu, requesting information from BSO about the cost of their fire rescue services and other formalities can take four to six months. Once the city has all the reports, the matter will again come before the commission.
Commission members are not required to answer or comment on residents’ remarks during public participation. Therefore, Bolton did not say whether he plans to take residents’ advice and resign.
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- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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