Commission Keeps Kerner Mayor, Citing Need For Continuity

Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner.

The Palm Beach County Commission re-appointed District 3 Commissioner Dave Kerner to serve as mayor on Tuesday, Nov. 17 during its annual re-organizational meeting.

Kerner has been seen as a steady leader during the COVID-19 crisis, which is not forecast to end soon.

Commissioner Mack Bernard nominated Kerner to remain as mayor, while Commissioner Greg Weiss nominated Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth, who was next in line to hold the gavel. Kerner won the vote 4-3 with Bernard, Kerner, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay and newly seated District 5 Commissioner Maria Sachs in favor of Kerner.

Maria G. Marino was seated as District 1 commissioner, replacing former Commissioner Hal Valeche. Sachs replaced former Commissioner Mary Lou Berger.

Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller Sharon Bock presided during the swearing-in of the new commissioners and newly re-elected commissioners Kerner and Bernard, as well as the nominations for mayor.

After Bock returned the gavel to Kerner, Bernard nominated Weinroth to remain as vice mayor.

“Under normal circumstances, Weinroth would have become mayor, but because we’re in different times due to COVID-19, I believe it’s so important to keep the continuity of what we’re doing so we can continue to protect the health and safety of our residents,” Bernard said.

Weiss seconded the nomination. “We have lived in unprecedented times for the last nine months, and I see the continuity of what [Kerner] has been doing and what Vice Mayor Weinroth has been doing,” he said.

Kerner said he did not want his selection as mayor for a second year to distract from what the commission has been doing, or the difficult work that faces it in the future.

“I think it’s more a gesture of continuity of leadership, and I’m humbled to serve in this position,” he said. “I know that we will move forward with this new leadership structure. We have our work cut out for us. I will respect the leadership of this board as we go through the economic recovery and vaccinations and all the things that will help us get back on track.”

McKinlay, who is slated to leave the dais in two years due to term limits, congratulated Kerner on his remaining as mayor for another year and commissioner for another four years.

“I believe in tradition, but these are trying times,” she said. “These are unprecedented times, and that call for continuity of leadership is not politics, it’s people that we need to focus on, the safety and well-being of the people of Palm Beach County, and because of that, I do think we need to keep the leadership team in place. I look forward to working with you for a couple more years.”