By: Sharon Aron Baron
After announcing his candidacy for Tamarac city commission District 2, Mike Gelin said his goals would be to make sure new development is done properly with the residents first in mind.
The seat, currently held by Commissioner Michelle Gomez, will now be open after she filed to run for mayor after Harry Dressler announced he would not be seeking reelection in November.
Gelin is no stranger to politics. He unsuccessfully ran against Dressler in 2014 and was one of two finalists to fill the seat left open by Patti Atkins Grad in 2013. Despite his impressive background, the commission voted to appoint Michelle Gomez to the seat.
Gelin said he understands the importance of serving the community and volunteers in a variety of ways. In the past, he represented the City of Tamarac on the community involvement roundtable of the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). He has served on the City of Tamarac’s Insurance Advisory Board, and he is a graduate of the 2009 class of Tamarac University.
As a resident of the district covering the Woodlands Country Club to the east to Plum Bay & Harbor to the west, Gelin lives near where the planned midtown Tamarac project will be built.
“I’m going to be living right outside midtown Tamarac, and I want to make sure the development is done properly and in the best interest of the residents in District 2 and the City of Tamarac in general.”
Born in Brooklyn to Haitian parents, Gelin studied at Morris Brown College, where he earned a bachelor of arts in business administration. He studied internationally at the University of Ghana in West Africa and the American Continental University in London, England. His first job was as an energy analyst for Enron in Houston, TX. After that, he worked for CIGNA, Marsh & McLennan, Aon Consulting, and Lockton Companies. Before starting his own company, Gelin Benefits Group, he was vice president for CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services in Boca Raton.
Gelin continues his professional development and has earned the certified employee benefit specialist designation. The CEBS designation is a joint program of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.
One of the largest communities that Gelin would serve in district 2 is the Woodlands Country Club, with over 900 single-family homes. Their golf course views are currently in jeopardy of being lost due to ClubLink wanting to sell the two 18-hole courses to 13th Floor Homes. Some residents feel pressure to accept the proposed 525 home project from their current commissioner, who has been working closely with the developer, even knowing about the project for months before residents but never disclosing it.
Gelin said he has spoken to some of the residents. He plans to have more discussions with them to get a broad spectrum of their thoughts, opinions and learn more about the design of the project to make the best decision for the residents and the city.
“As a representative of the district and the Woodlands, it is my role as an elected official to educate the residents of the pros and cons of a project or a development,” said Gelin. “And if the residents don’t agree, then my role is to represent the voice of the residents.”
Gelin said he believes in community service and currently serves on the board of directors of the Youth Survivors Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring, scholarships, and other educational services to the community, and on the board of directors for the Center for Independent Living of Broward County. For years, he was on the board of directors of the Cooperative Feeding Program, a nonprofit organization focused on feeding the homeless and hungry in Broward County, and served as a committee member for the Hanley Center Foundation’s Annual Family Picnic.
In addition to community service, Gelin is involved in the business community in South Florida and other professional organizations. He is a member of the Broward League of Cities, Miramar Pembroke Pines Chamber of Commerce, International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, National Association of Health Underwriters, among other organizations. For many years, he was an active member of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the Miami Beacon Council, and the Palm Beach Business Development Board.
Gelin enjoys living an active and healthy lifestyle. He participates in local 5k running events and has run in the Tamarac Turkey Trot for the last 10 years. He plays in the Tamarac Men’s Basketball League and competes in local 100 and 200-meter master’s track and field races.
Gelin and his wife Shaheewa, an attorney, along with their son, have lived in Tamarac for ten years and fell in love with the sense of community in the city. To kick off his campaign, he will start walking door-to-door, meeting with all the homeowner association presidents, and attending their meetings.