Commissioner Jordana Jarjura will not seek second term


Staff report

In our February edition, you will see questionnaires we asked city commission candidates. After our print deadline we got word that Seat 4 incumbent Commissioner Jordana Jarjura will not seek a second term in office.

Here is a copy of the letter she emailed out late Friday:

Dear Friends,

I write to thank you for your support during the past three years and for your commitment to support me for a second term. I am humbled by the many petitions you all have collected for me, for the many offers of financial support, and all the kind words of gratitude. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you I have decided not to seek a second term.

My decision is based on many factors. Foremost, as a newlywed, having married during my time in office and with starting my position as a general counsel, I need to balance my personal and professional lives with my service as a Commissioner. It is important to me to give 100% to whatever I commit to including the Commission. In addition, the Commission’s dynamic has become a detriment to its effectiveness and a poor reflection of Delray’s character. I believe my limited time during this stage of my life can be better spent contributing to our City in other ways as a private citizen.

I ran for City Commission to enhance the City I fell in love with in 1993 and to make it better than how I received it. And, despite the many challenges at City Hall, we actually accomplished a lot.

· Prioritized public safety through investment in equipment, facilities and personnel, including a new police/fire contract which gave our first responders their first raise in 6 years;
· Re-structured our police/fire pension in a way that has been lauded by the press and pension experts as an innovative and responsible way to pay down the City’s unfunded liability;
· Lobbied for federal and state relief to address the unscrupulous operators of the drug treatment industry;
· Passed a City-wide $252 million capital improvements plan to fix our roads, parks, alleyways, sidewalks, utilities, seawalls and parks;
· Rescinded a $4 million loan write-off for Auburn Trace that eventually resulted in an $11.3 million sale of the property;
· Awarded a new waste collection contract that saved the residents $8.4 million;
· Created and passed a local/small business preference program;
· Created a Purchasing Department and enforced our procurement regulations;
· Created an Emergency Management Director position and supported a City-wide Emergency Management Plan;
· Passed new downtown land development regulations that were recognized with two prestigious planning awards – the Driehaus Form-Based Codes Award and the John Nolen Medal, and commenced the process for a new Comprehensive Plan;
· Supported economic development items such as the Congress Avenue Task Force, the Set, Kaufman Lynn’s corporate headquarters, and IPIC’s corporate headquarters;
· Worked on and supported countless quality of Delray initiatives from environmental to historic preservation to health and well-being to cultural.

That said, a majority of these accomplishments occurred early in my term. Of recent, progress has been difficult for our City.

Due to gutter politics, we have struggled to move forward, and even some of the “wins” have been so marred by nastiness that the positive result seems lost. We have struggled to recruit and retain a City Attorney, a City Manager and we have lost key senior staff. Far too many decisions appear to have been made off the dais, contrary to the facts, to expert opinions, and to the rule of law.

Nothing was more disappointing however, than our failure last month to appoint a fifth commissioner. Listening to heartfelt appeal after appeal from residents, many of whom have lived in Delray far longer than I and my fellow commissioners, only to watch them be ignored – how could it be anything but a low point?

I believe our City deserves better. We need a Commission that represents everyone in our City – not just in appearance, but in action. We need a Commission that while individual and diverse in their experiences and perspectives, are united by integrity and mutual respect for each other and our City.

My decision was difficult. It has been an honor serving as your Commissioner, and I will continue to be an active resident as we keep working together to serve our great City. Going forward, I ask each of you to channel your support towards electing qualified individuals that will represent our entire City with integrity, impartiality and respect.