Delray CRA board back to seven members

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By: Marisa Herman
Associate Editor

Delray Beach commissioners, who also sit as the Community Redevelopment Agency board, have decided to increase the number of agency board members to seven.

After the commission voted to take over the board, two seats were eliminated as the commission only consists of five people.

It was up to the commission to decide whether to remain a five person board or bring the board back to seven members.

Since the decision to take over the board was made, the commission had only met as the CRA one time before they appointed two new members.

The swiftness was too quick for commissioners Ryan Boylston and Bill Bathurst who voted against adding two members to the board.

“We are still getting our feet wet,” Bathurst said.

Boylston agreed and said he would like to have a workshop to discuss the vision for the board as well as have more meetings as a CRA together before adding more people to the mix.

“We haven’t talked about who we are looking for,” he said. “We haven’t put it out to the public.”

But the city clerk’s office has been advertising openings for the board even though the motion to formally have a seven member board was not voted on until June 5.

“We have a huge list of candidates,” Mayor Shelly Petrolia said.

Boylston wanted time to give any other interested applicants time to apply once the vote to increase the size of the board was made and to interview candidates before making a decision.

But the rest of the commission said they were ready to make appointments that night.

“We have been talking about this for the past month and a half,” Johnson said. “We have additional candidates coming in every day. There’s interest.”

The split in the commission continued when it came time to throw out some potential names.

Boylston made a motion to appoint lifetime resident Connor Lynch, which was only supported by Bathurst, so failed.

Johnson then nominated former Delray commissioner and CRA board member Angie Gray for a four year term. Boylston cast the sole dissenting vote.

Commissioner Adam Frankel then offered the name Pamela Brinson for the two year term. Her nomination was supported 3-2, with Boylston and Bathurst dissenting.

“It sounds like this discussion has already been had,” Boylston said.

Mayor Petrolia responded, “No, sir. There has been no discussion.”

Boylston replied, “I just hope Delray Beach is paying attention and look at when these applications came in.”

City records show Gray submitted her application into the city on March 21, just a few weeks after Commissioner first floated the idea of a CRA takeover.

Brinson submitted her application on April 9, just a few days after the takeover vote took place.

During that time frame, commissioners did not discuss whether to keep the board at five members or increase it to seven.

After the meeting, Frankel said he appointed Brinson because, “I thought it was important to have someone who grew up in the NW/SW communities that has a long outstanding record of service to her community.”

Brinson challenged Gray for her seat on the city commission in 2014. They both lost to political newcomer Jordana Jarjura. Gray helped run Johnson’s campaign during the 2017 election.

The new seven member board will meet today at 1:30 p.m. in City Hall chambers.