By: Sharon Aron Baron
In a surprise announcement, newly elected Tamarac Mayor Michelle Gomez announced on Monday that she has breast cancer. Then later agreed that a commissioner who already served as vice mayor in 2018 should be reelected to take over while she is away receiving treatment.
“I’ve just been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer,” said Gomez. ”It’s in my left breast and my lymph nodes.”
She said she was going to be fine and has a good course of treatment.
“I’ve got a great team of doctors, and I know I have everyone’s love and support.”
During the workshop meeting, Gomez asked if anyone or anybody watching hears about it, to please contact her directly and she will be happy to answer anything about it.
“I’m not going anywhere, and we have a lot of great things that our city has been planning, and is going to continue to plan….and everything is going to be just fine.”
During her absence for treatment, a vice mayor would take her place. Since the position of vice mayor is ceremonial and is rotated annually on a seniority basis, the next person up would be Julie Fishman.
Fishman did not want the position this year, as she wanted it in 2020 – a strategic move to hold the name vice mayor in a year when her seat is up for reelection. In a prepared statement, she nominated Debra Placko, who just served as vice mayor in 2018 “because she was the most senior person” who she believed would make the best decisions.
This nomination skipped Commissioner Marlon Bolton who has served for two years.
Commissioner Mike Gelin nominated Marlon Bolton and said the position of vice mayor should be removed as it’s used as a political football.
“There is no experience required,” said Gelin. “I think Bolton deserves the role. “
Bolton explained his love of the city, the community, and his residents. He felt he should be considered as vice mayor, and felt it was a disservice to choose Placko just for her years of service.
“But at the same time, fair is fair. It has always been our practice to go through rotation. This is custom and practice, and I’m always reminded of custom and practice,” said Bolton.
Gomez asked to fill in Placko’s name on Wednesday night.
Placko said it wasn’t personal and had nothing to do with Bolton’s ability.
“This is something I’ve struggled with under these extenuating circumstances. I think it is in the best interest of ease for our mayor and continuity with the city – It just might be a little easier to deal with. It’s just something I need to do at this point.”
A vote will be held on for a new vice mayor on Wednesday evening.