By Agrippina Fadel
Candidate for District 4 commissioner seat Carol Mendelson hopes to bring a “much-needed change” to the dais.
A retired Broward County School Board administrator, Mendelson is running against David Witman Mountford, a financial consultant. Incumbent Debra Placko had not yet announced whether she would be running for reelection.
Mendelson grew up in Brooklyn and lived in Staten Island before moving to Florida. A Tamarac resident for over 20 years, she is divorced, has a son and daughter, and three grandchildren.
Running for a commission seat was never on her bucket list, but after taking a class at Tamarac University, an eight-week interactive program that provides citizens the opportunity to learn how the local government works, she started going to the city commission meetings and was inspired.
“Listen to the residents’ comments during the public participation at the commission meetings – everyone is saying the same thing. They are not happy with the way commission operates,” said Mendelson, who in the past came up to the podium herself and called the current members a “dysfunctional team.”
“In order to better serve the city, we need civility, better communication, collegiality, respect, and cooperation on the dais. People are pleading for that, and I hope I can be a part of the change,” she added.
Mendelson said she has been on the other side of the dais in her career and sat on numerous boards, including committees in Coral Springs, where she once lived. “I can emphasize with the commissioners. No one is perfect – we make mistakes, things happen, but this is a constant issue. What’s happening is not good for the city.”
“That is not the image that we want to present and be part of. I think the city and its taxpayers deserve better,” said Mendelson, adding that attitudes and fights on the dais are not the only problems. “Some ways the city’s money is being spent need to change, and I think I can be an important part of that process and make sure it is done in a collegial manner without being adversarial.”
Mendelson has a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s in speech from Brooklyn College, and a master’s in education leadership from Nova Southeastern University. With a background in education and leadership, she facilitated several fundraisers in Broward County, one of which helped build nine schools in Kenya.
She knows the commissioner position is a part-time job but prides herself on being the kind of worker that does any job as if it was full-time.
“I think I would be an asset to the city. I listen to what people have to say, and I think it is critical for commissioners,” said Mendelson, adding that change is often hard, but it is very much needed in Tamarac.
When asked about the 13th Floor development plan of the former golf course in Woodlands – one of the most divisive issues the city commission has to decide on – Mendelson said she is not in favor of the project currently but is open to reconsidering if new information becomes available.
“I sat at the commission meeting when half the room was for it and half against. I don’t know what I don’t know yet, but at this time, I am against it. I don’t think it’s a positive move,” Mendelson explained.
Mendelson said she is the right person for the job because she had always been “a voice for the people” and has a good sense of the district, city, and people’s wants.
“I have spent years in leadership positions having to compromise and dealing with issues that aren’t always easy to resolve. I am flexible and great at listening. I am smart enough to know that I don’t know everything and able to find the right people who I can go to and learn,” she added.
The qualifying period for candidates for the November election is from noon on Monday, June 13, through noon on Friday, June 17, at city hall. Tamarac’s mayoral and commission terms are four years.
Three seats are up for reelection: commissioners for Districts 2 and 4 and the mayoral seat.
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