Tamarac Needs a Mayor and Commissioners in 2014

Run-for-Office-Participate
By: Sharon Aron Baron

In 2012, two commissioners in the City of Tamarac were reelected uncontested because no one ran against them.  November elections are six months away and the city of Tamarac will have three seats on the ballot, including two on the commission and one for Mayor.  If you are a civic-minded resident that has an interest in our local government, consider throwing your hat into the ring, but do it soon because the qualifying period is in June.  Once that week-long period ends, no more potential candidates can come forward.

All three of these seats are lucrative part-time jobs as well, so it would be a shame if one ended up running unopposed. For instance, a commissioner in Tamarac makes $29,000 and the mayor makes $34,000,  plus each get a hefty $700 a month car allowance as well as a host of other benefits.

Mayor

Uncle-Sam-TamaracCurrently no one has opened up a campaign account to run for Mayor.  There isn’t any news whether recently suspended Mayor Beth Talabisco’s trial on corruption charges will be heard before the election, however, according to city attorney Sam Gorin, Talabisco could still run for mayor just as Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones did in 2009.

No word yet if recently appointed Mayor Harry Dressler will be running again as commissioner or mayor, or if he will retire from politics.

Dressler, self-employed, and a resident of Woodmont, won both elections in 2006 and 2009 unopposed. After Talabisco’s suspension, even though Dressler was not Vice Mayor at the time, he was nominated as Mayor for the interim after Vice Mayor Gomez said she wanted to concentrate on the commitment she made to her own district.

District Two

Currently, only two residents have opened up campaign accounts: Vice Mayor Michelle Gomez and resident Stewart Webster. However, there are other interested parties who have expressed an interest in running.

Gomez, an attorney, who resides in the Woodlands, was appointed twice to fill in for Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad. First, during Atkins-Grad’s suspension from office by Rick Scott, then a second time after Atkins-Grad resigned just weeks before a recall election would be held. Gomez has never been elected by the residents of District Two.

Stewart Webster is a Tax Preparer, who resides in Versailles Gardens Condominiums and ran for the school board back in 2010.

Last October, the city spent two days interviewing candidates that wanted this open seat and several were very qualified.   They expressed an interest in the community and the betterment of the district, however, they have all but disappeared.

District 4

Debra Placko was recently appointed as commissioner in this district when Dressler became mayor, and so far has not opened up an election account.   Placko, who lives in Woodmont’s Palm Ridge community is retired from working at JByrons for 15 years. She was the the former Co-President of the Woodmont Property Owners Association (WPOA) which consists of 33 neighborhoods. She has lived in Woodmont for 10 years and served for eight on her board.

There were many candidates that applied for this open seat in February, however, like District Two, will one of them actually run for the position if it isn’t handed to them?

If you or someone you know is interested in running for mayor, you can live anywhere in the city, however, if you want to run for the commission, you must live in either District Two or Four. Next, you will need to find a campaign treasurer to open a campaign account.

Interested candidates have until June to qualify.  The week-long qualifying dates start Monday, June 16, 2014, and end at noon on Friday, June 20, 2014. For additional information, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at (954) 597-3505. 

Let’s give residents a real voice in the elections by giving them a choice in who represents them in Tamarac’s government.

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Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk and Parkland Talk.

Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac.