By Kevin Deutsch
Tamarac Vice Mayor Mike Gelin has filed paperwork to run for mayor, he announced Tuesday.
Gelin, who has found himself embroiled in a number of controversies during his time in office, said he plans to hold an in-person campaign kickoff event on May 3.
“I have called the City of Tamarac home for nearly two decades now and have dedicated my efforts to the betterment of this community,” Gelin, elected to office in 2018, said in a press release announcing his candidacy. “As a small business owner, public servant, husband, and father, the decisions made in our city government are affecting the business and personal lives of my neighbors, friends, and colleagues of this city and larger region. Our growing city needs leadership that can meet the changes and needs of our diverse community.”
Gelin said he “want[s] to provide solutions and to represent the City of Tamarac with transparency, accountability and servant leadership.”
In the accouchement, the vice mayor also said that he “successfully lowered property taxes for the first time in over ten years” and passed a ‘Ban the Box’ ordinance in Tamarac, improving job and social prospects for formerly incarcerated residents.
“His policy of banning the box extends beyond the City’s hiring practices and also applies to any third-party vendors or contractors that the city hires to give Tamarac residents a real opportunity to stay on the right side of the law,” according to the announcement.
Among other developments touted in the announcement, Gelin said he secured $250,000 from Tamarac’s general fund to support residents in financial distress at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and passed a veterans business preference program.
Gelin said he also secured financial backing from a major corporate donor for the Center for Independent Living of Broward County while serving as a board member and helped raise and distribute over $35,000 in scholarships to students through the Youth Survivors Foundation, as one of its founding board members.
Gelin’s announced run for mayor is likely to bring new scrutiny to the controversies and much-criticized incidents involving some of his actions as a city commissioner, vice mayor, and private citizen.
In September 2019, Gelin attended a Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Month Ceremony in Tamarac. But instead of lauding the honoree, a deputy being honored for catching an Interpol murder suspect, Gelin publicly berated him, claiming he had falsely arrested Gelin four years earlier.
“You lied on the police report,” Gelin told Deputy Joshua Gallardo, speaking into the microphone after calling Gallardo back to the front of the room to be dressed down, all while a stunned crowd looked on. “I believe you’re a rogue police officer.”
“You’re a bad police officer,” said Gelin. “And you don’t deserve to be here.”
Tamarac’s other elected officials did not censure Gelin for the incident.
In one of his most recent controversial actions, on March 2, 2022, Gelin pitched a $300,000 disparity study that could allegedly benefit his wife, Shaheewa Jarrett Gelin, founder of the Broward County Black Chamber of Commerce.
Sheheewa had bragged about how the disparity studies would help her affiliates get a piece of the $41 million spent by the city of Tamarac.
“We need to get in on that!” she said during a video appearance.
Gelin’s lone supporter regarding the disparity study was Steven Meza, Gelin’s community liaison or assistant, who spoke in favor of the study pitched by his boss at a commission meeting.
Gelin also recently sought an increase in the number of hours community liaisons could work for their bosses.
“As a commissioner, you are a boss and an executive; the executives don’t do the dirty work,” Gelin said. “They direct, give orders, evaluate, edit, finalize and present it to the community.”
According to Gelin’s announcement, the Gelin for Mayor campaign will host a kickoff event for those who RSVP at Sweet Realities on Tuesday, May 3.
Tamarac’s current mayor, Michelle J. Gomez, kicked off her reelection campaign in January.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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