Meet your Seat 2 incumbent candidate: Commissioner Bill Bathurst


Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you have lived in Delray, where you live, your profession, your family. 

My family arrived in Delray Beach in the 1930s and has had roots here ever since. As a child, I moved around quite a bit because my father was in the military, but we eventually settled back in Delray as I became a teenager. I have lived in Delray for over 20 years and currently own a home in the Delray Lakes neighborhood with my wife Debra, and I have two adult sons who grew up here as well. I am the managing broker of Nicklaus Vance Realty Group Delray Beach.

Why are you running for office and what experiences qualify you to be a commissioner?

I am running for re-election because I want to continue the important work that I have been a part of since joining the commission. I believe my experience as a sitting commissioner, my business background, civic leader, and service on several boards and committees make me uniquely qualified for re-election.

What are the top three issues you want to address in the city if elected or re-elected?

While there are many more than three issues I would like to address on the dais, I want to focus on historic preservation, public safety, and fiscal responsibility.

We can protect our Village by the Sea and its charm by protecting our historic districts while encouraging thoughtful economic development. I have a proven record on historic preservation and have fought for and passed two of the strongest ordinances in Delray concerning historic preservation. This will allow our children and grandchildren to enjoy Delray just as I was able to while having job opportunities.

Public safety has always been one of my top priorities. I believe it is one of the primary roles of government to keep its citizens safe. We can make sure we do that by training and retaining the best and the brightest first responders so neighborhoods are safe and our businesses can thrive. During my time as commissioner, I have made sure we compensate our first responders competitively and provide them with the best resources to succeed. We also hired the first African American Police Chief in Delray’s History.

Lastly, if we take our fiscal responsibility seriously, Delray will undoubtedly continue to prosper and grow. That is why I am so proud to have saved Delray millions of dollars on multiple initiatives and deals including match point, and lowering the millage rate for residents. We must manage this growth with smart, working budgets that are transparent and solicit public input.

Delray is known as the “Village by the Sea” but it is also a popular city. How would you balance “keeping the charm” with the need to grow the tax base as the city attracts more people?

I love this “Village by the Sea” and understand how attractive this city is to many people. That said, we must be proactive in the way we handle our growth so as not to pass on issues to our children who will have to deal with over development. Development is not a bad thing if we do it responsibly, smarter, and ensure it is financially beneficial to the city. I believe in “Focus and Closure,” which means I focusing on an issue or project and handling it. In my time as commissioner I have focused on historic preservation and smart development then dealt with these issues emphatically by ensuring our village by the sea balances preserving past with smart development.

City Hall has had a lot of turnover with city staff. Why do you think that is and how would you work to re-establish stability?

The instability at City Hall has been unacceptable, disruptive, and damaging to our city. While some turnover is understandable, Delray has not done a good job of hiring and retaining our staff. With the new hire of City Manager George Gretsas, I believe this will go a long way to ensuring our stability at City Hall. Stability comes from the top, and hiring George Gretsas is the first step. The next step is civility and decorum on the dais. If we can’t act civil on the dais how will that set a proper example and foster a good work environment for city staff.

How do you approach the relationship you will have as a commissioner with city staff?

Throughout my career, I have worked with all different kinds of people from different backgrounds and one thing that remains the same is we all have to get the job done. No matter what. Respect, kindness, and professionalism are the only ways to approach workplace relationships. I will continue to bring this same mentality, once re-elected, to City Hall and work with city staff to help move our city in the right direction.