Commissioners deadlock second time on Seat 2 appointment

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Staff report

Delray commissioners couldn’t agree on who should serve with them for the next few months.

Seat 2 has been empty since Commissioner Al Jacquet won his state representative election in November. The remaining four commissioners had two meetings to agree on a replacement, who would serve until residents elect a new commissioner in March.

They narrowed the list down to two candidates during the first meeting and deadlocked. Mayor Cary Glickstein and Commissioner Jordana Jarjura supported Yvonne Odom while Commissioners Shelly Petrolia and Mitch Katz said they would like to see Dr. Josh Smith as a commissioner.

Both candidates have been involved in Delray education for decades. Smith previously had an unsuccessful run for the commission.

During the second opportunity to appoint a replacement Tuesday night, there was another stalemate.

Dozens of residents from the Northwest and Southwest neighborhoods told commissioners that they support Odom for the seat.

“We are here today because you have an appointment,” said former Delray commissioner Angeleta Gray. “You have a job to do. We are all here in support of Mrs. Yvonne Odom because she supports our community. She has been an advocate for our youth. Please appoint someone that we in the black community support and supports us. Do the right thing for my community.”

Residents called Odom a soldier, who is always ready to step up and serve her community. She was described as tenacious, dedicated and strong.

“My support for Ms. Odom is unwavering,” Glickstein said.

But as supportive as Glickstein said he was for Odom, Petrolia and Katz maintained their support for Smith.

Jarjura said if the commission couldn’t agree it would be a derelict of duty.

“I was hoping that we would rise above our own individual preferences and political motivations,” she said. “Let’s pick somebody who is representative of the community, supportive of the community and isn’t of any individual camp.”

She proposed revisiting the list of candidates and go with a top three to try to identify a candidate they could agree on as a compromise.

Glickstein agreed there are other candidates who volunteered that are qualified to be commissioners. But, he said he wanted to appoint a minority to the position.

Jarjura’s idea to possibly revisit the list was not supported and neither side prevailed, which according to the city’s charter would trigger a special election. But interim city attorney R. Max Lohman said it is impossible for the city to hold a special election for several reasons.

He said the timing and logistics of holding a special election results in an “impossibility of performance.”

He said the city doesn’t have a contract with the supervisor of elections to run elections in 2017 and the first available time for the supervisor to hold an election is Feb. 7, which is still two days after the date the city would have to hold the election.

He said it would hard to hire at least 150 poll workers and train them and the logistics of holding an election just weeks before the scheduled March election could create voter confusion. In the result of a run-off for the special election, the decision could possibly come after the March vote.

A special election is estimated to cost about $75,000, according to city officials.

As of now, it looks like Seat 2 will remain vacant unless the violation of the charter is challenged.