It’s Time To Move On From The Contentious Local Elections

With all the justifiable attention that has been given to the strange proceedings that make up the 2016 United States presidential campaigns, it may be difficult to see the forest from the trees. Specifically, that the importance of local government in the daily lives of citizens is often more vital than that of the federal government.

The decisions made at the local, municipal level are decided based on what community leaders believe to be in the best interest of their neighbors. In many cases, they have had children attend the same area schools as their constituents and attend religious services with those who voted for (or against) them. These local governmental entities are directly accountable to the people in a way that federal elected officials can never truly be.

That is why it is vital for the residents of Royal Palm Beach, Wellington and Loxahatchee Groves to put aisde hurt feelings from last month’s elections, so we can all move on together in the best interest of the communities.

As of this week, the councils in Royal Palm Beach and Wellington now have full complements, with vacant seats left open by their respective mayoral elections filled with fresh faces. Both newly minted councilwomen arrived as compromise choices designed to bring different sides together.

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council appointed Jan Rodusky to the seat vacated when Fred Pinto was elected mayor. Rodusky, chief grants officer for the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County and a 20-year resident of the village, emerged as a compromise candidate after two previous selection rounds resulted in deadlocks. She was one of 11 applicants for the appointment, and was appointed over (among others) Richard Valuntas, who lost his council seat in last month’s election in a close race against Selena Smith after six years representing Royal Palm Beach.

The Wellington Village Council added Tanya Siskind as its fifth member, after interviewing 10 applicants narrowed from a field of 30. As with Royal Palm Beach, the appointment was to fill the seat vacated by an incumbent (Anne Gerwig) who was elected mayor. Also as with Royal Palm Beach, the appointment went to a resident with years of community involvement. Siskind is a member of Wellington’s Education Committee, president of the Binks Forest Elementary School PTA and vice president of the Palm Beach County Council of PTA/PTSA, where she conducts leadership training.

The appointments bring this year’s municipal elections to a resolution, ensuring that each community has a five-member voting representation on issues vital to its populations. However, they come a month after contentious campaigns resulted in the defeat of incumbents, and in some cases, those elections left bitter feelings among those who lost and those who are still in office but supported those who lost.

As difficult as it may be, it is crucial that these elected officials and their supporters put personal differences behind them for the greater good of the communities they serve. There are still important topics on the agendas, regardless of what happens at the county, state and federal levels this November. Petty bickering and self-serving actions will lead to more chaos and distrust among the people, and we have enough of those issues taking place at the federal level these days. We don’t need it on the local circuit.


  1. Wellington has moved on. The intellectual shackles and the fear the Jacobs used to control Village Hall by their henchmen Bob Margolis, John Greene and Matt Willhite are gone.

    Matt Willhite better be prepared to have majorities in other areas of House District 86 to overcome the shellacking he’ll take in Wellington.

    The simple fact is people do not like him and he is identified as one of the Three Amigos.

  2. I only wish that this level of passion to call for calm was adopted before the elections. Both communities have been greatly divided due to this last election cycle. When you don’t see the media trying to stoke the fires or give voice to those independent minds who try, it is not encouraging. Maybe next year.

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