The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council approved several appointments to its Unified Land Development Committee on Tuesday, Aug. 18 after tabling the item at its July 7 meeting when opposition arose over some of the proposed appointments.
Councilwoman Laura Danowski, who made the motion to table the appointments at the July meeting, said she felt the ULDC was the most important committee behind the Planning & Zoning Committee.
“This is not a personal discussion,” Danowski said. “I would be as strong on this if it was my mother.”
She opposed having former Councilman Tom Goltzené on the ULDC as an alternate, and also opposed former Councilman Todd McLendon as a member.
“I have supporting documents for my opposition, and I think it should be open for discussion,” Danowski said, pointing out that McLendon has had code issues with his property that have not been shown to have been resolved.
Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia said she was surprised that Danowski would prefer to have former Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District Supervisor Simon Fernandez, who is a property owner but not a town resident, on the ULDC.
“As far as Simon Fernandez, I feel that that is really uncalled for, and I think what you’re talking about Todd is really out of line,” Maniglia said.
Councilwoman Marge Herzog said that McLendon had been her selection for appointment to the ULDC.
“I feel that he’s qualified for the job, and I don’t know why he’s being questioned so extensively,” Herzog said. “It’s almost like a vendetta. Tom Goltzené is a renter. Does that make him more qualified to move up and take one of the other places? The others have said Simon doesn’t live in the town, and I was of the opinion when we passed this legislation, we would only use non-residents if the slate couldn’t be filled by residents.”
Councilman Robert Shorr said he felt all the candidates have something to add.
“I think it’s a good mix of different people, different backgrounds and that’s what you need on committees like this,” Shorr said. “You need people coming at it from different angles. That’s the purpose of a committee.”
He pointed out that Fernandez has been active with other committees, including the Census Committee.
Mayor Lisa El-Ramey also had reservations about Fernandez being on the short list, adding that she felt the ULDC was in disarray and needed to be overhauled and tailored to the town.
“I think in the case of Mr. McLendon, we have an issue that we haven’t held every possible committee member up to the same standard,” El-Ramey said.
Shorr made a motion to appoint Fernandez as a ULDC member, which failed 3-2 with Maniglia, Herzog and El-Ramey opposed. He then made a motion to appoint Laura Cacioppo, which carried 5-0.
El-Ramey made a motion to appoint Cassie Suchy, which carried 5-0.
Danowski made a motion to retain Lisa Trzepacz, which carried 5-0.
Herzog made a motion to appoint McLendon, which carried 4-1 with Danowski opposed.
Maniglia made a motion to retain Jo Siciliano, which carried 5-0.
Shorr made a motion to appoint Fernandez as an alternate, which carried 4-1 with Maniglia opposed.
Maniglia made a motion to appoint Goltzené as an alternate, which carried 3-2 with Danowski and El-Ramey opposed.