Delray slapped with second lawsuit amid open commission seat debacle

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By: Marisa Gottesman
Associate Editor

Another Delray Beach resident has filed a lawsuit against the city commissioners for not following the city’s charter when it comes to filling an open commission seat.

Commissioners had two chances to find one person to fill open Seat 2. After failing to fill the seat, the city’s charter states the city must hold a special election.

After commissioners and city officials said holding an election would be impossible after the failed attempts, one of the candidates for the seat Kenneth MacNamee filed a lawsuit against the city for violating the charter.

On Tuesday, a second writ of mandamus was filed by resident J. Reeve Bright. A writ of mandamus is a judicial remedy where a superior court can order a public authority to do a specific act that the body is required to perform under the law.

The petition states the mayor and commissioners has deprived residents of their rights guaranteed under the charter and deprived them of representation.

The city charter states a special election must be held within 60 days of the two failed attempts, which means it must be held by Feb. 4.

Interim city attorney R. Max Lohman said the earliest the supervisor of elections could possibly hold a special election for the city is after that date.

At the third meeting, residents pleaded with commissioners to follow the intent of the charter and appoint someone to the seat.

Commissioners were divided on who they wanted to see fill Seat 2, which was vacated by Al Jacquet. They deadlocked between candidates Yvonne Odom and Josh Smith. Mayor Cary Glickstein and Commissioner Jordana Jarjura supported Odom and Commissioners Shelly Petrolia and Mitch Katz supported Smith.

Commissioner Jarjura was open to revisiting the list to try to find a candidate everyone could compromise with. Glickstein agreed to revisit the list, but Katz and Petrolia said that would be violating the charter because it states they only have two attempts to appoint.

Dozens of residents wore yellow in support of Odom. No one supported Smith. They begged commissioners to appoint Odom to the post so that the black community has representation on the dais.

“We should not be without black representation on this board,” former commissioner Angie Gray told commissioners.

CRA chair Reggie Cox echoed her sentiments and asked commissioners to make the commission whole for the next few months.

After public comment, commissioners discussed the situation and arguments and accusations ensued.

Glickstein chastised Katz and Petrolia and said they should listen to what the community wants.

“She isn’t my choice. She isn’t your choice. She is their choice,” he said of Odom and the community’s support of her.

He said he was ashamed to sit on the dais with them. Petrolia quipped back “likewise.”

Katz said the residents can vote for who they want to see fill that seat for the next three years during the March election. He said there isn’t anything important coming before the commission until then, which caused Glickstein to scold him for dismissing work of city staff and any applicants scheduled to appear before the city early next year.

A hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 30.