Without Challengers, Two RPB Incumbents Keep Council Seats

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council.

Royal Palm Beach Village Council members Jan Rodusky and Richard Valuntas secured additional two-year terms earlier this month without opposition when the election qualifying period closed without challengers coming forward.

Group 2 incumbent Valuntas and Group 4 incumbent Rodusky qualified for the ballot with no challengers as of Wednesday, Jan. 12, according to the office of Village Clerk Diane DiSanto.

With no other items on the ballot, the Tuesday, March 9 municipal election has now been canceled.

Rodusky was appointed to the Group 4 seat in 2016 to fill a vacancy and was elected to her first full two-year term in 2017, defeating education activist Renatta Adan-Espinoza.

Valuntas served in the Group 3 seat from 2010 through 2016 before being unseated by Councilwoman Selena Samios. He was then returned to the council in 2017, narrowly defeating longtime Councilman David Swift for the Group 2 seat.

With Rodusky and Valuntas returning to their seats without opposition, it’s a repeat of 2019, when they were also both re-elected with no opposition.

In fact, this year’s cancellation is the third year in a row that the village’s municipal election has been canceled due to a lack of challengers. In 2020, Mayor Fred Pinto, Vice Mayor Jeff Hmara and Samios were returned without opposition.

The last village election was held in 2018, when Pinto was re-elected by defeating former Councilwoman Martha Webster and Samios was re-elected by defeating businessman Sam Roman.

According to Pinto, the continued lack of challengers is due to an apparent satisfaction with current council members’ performance on the dais.

Pinto told the Town-Crier that he feels the lack of contention indicates that the voters are happy with the current council.

“Royal Palm Beach is an interesting place,” he said. “A citizen will come into our council meetings and let us know if there is something that they are concerned about or something going on, but my experience has been very positive.”

He rarely hears complaints when he’s out and about.

“When I go to the store or supermarket, people come up to me and assure me how pleased they are about things in the village,” Pinto said. “They like the fact that it’s clean. They like the fact that it’s safe. They like the fact that we try to keep our eye on how we spend their taxpayer dollars.”

Pinto added that he feels residents like the level of services that the village provides, there are no major problems in the village and the council has been consistent from an operational perspective.

“I always get excellent feedback, and when I hear that, it’s not just me. I look at that as the village council on a collective level that is able to provide that kind of alignment for our village,” he said. “I’m not at all surprised that Jan and Richard went unopposed.”