Councilman Robert Shorr was selected Tuesday, April 6 for a second go-around as mayor of Loxahatchee Groves after a one-year hiatus.
Shorr was selected on a quick 3-2 vote at the start of the meeting with councilwomen Marianne Miles and Laura Danowski in support, and councilwomen Marge Herzog and Phillis Maniglia opposed.
The mayor over the past year was Lisa El-Ramey, who was defeated last month by Miles in the Seat 3 race.
Danowski was selected as vice mayor on a 5-0 vote. She also was selected to chair the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District Board of Supervisors. Herzog was chosen as LGWCD treasurer. Once an independent district, the LGWCD is now a subsidiary of the Town of Loxahatchee Groves with the council serving as its board of supervisors.
“My number one goal is to run an efficient meeting,” Shorr said after the meeting. “That’s the mayor’s only real job.”
At Tuesday’s session, council members — who have clashed often and sometimes rancorously over the issues of less or more paving and commercial growth in the community — were given a list of meeting rules.
“The best thing I can do is help make sure the council follows those rules,” Shorr said, adding that “there is plenty of time to go off on tangents” without slowing down the meetings, which sometimes last past midnight. “I’m excited about… moving the community forward.”
Not everyone on the council was thrilled about the direction in which Shorr might move the town.
Maniglia described Shorr as “an awful mayor” during his previous one-year stint, referring to him as “too self-absorbed” and “not interested in anyone’s opinion.”
During the meeting, Maniglia pushed for the creation of a “consent to serve” form, which all town officeholders and members of town committees would be required to sign and adhere to.
“We need to heighten our own standards about who sits on the council and these committees,” Maniglia said. “They need to be aboveboard and in compliance.”
Danowski, who nominated Shorr, has a very different view.
“He has a small-town heart and a passion for service,” she said. “He does his homework and puts the truth out there. He’s not driven by a personal agenda.”
For her part, Danowski said her goals are to “move the items forward that serve the greatest need,” and that definitely includes major road improvements, citing North B Road as one “in dire need of some sort of help.”
Danowski also said she believes that policies and procedures within the town administration need much closer scrutiny, as well as contracts with service providers. “I look at some of these checks we’re asked to sign… and it just blows my mind,” she said.
A New York native, Danowski has lived in Loxahatchee Groves for more than 15 years. She was a LGWCD supervisor from 2015 to 2018 before her election to the council.
Shorr has lived in Loxahatchee Groves since 2013. He was born in Palm Beach County and grew up in Greenacres. He served six years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear power plant mechanic and has worked at the Palm Beach County Facilities Department as an electrician, utility operator and project manager. He currently runs his own company. He was elected to the council in 2019. His term will be up in 2022.