Candidates for mayor and two open council seats in the City of Westlake have until Tuesday, Nov. 9 at noon to register to run in the Tuesday, March 8, 2022, election. However, it is possible all four council seats and the mayor’s seat could have fresh faces in the next several months, making for an entirely new elected government for Palm Beach County’s youngest municipality.
The departing council members “have done what they set out to do,” City Manager Kenneth Cassel said. “I think they are ready to transition off.”
However, Cassel does expect a strong crop of candidates to file before the deadline.
So far, one current Westlake councilman and one newcomer have registered to run. Vice Mayor JohnPaul O’Connor, who was elected to a four-year term in Seat 3 last year, has filed to run for mayor and will vacate Seat 3. Greg Langowski, a Westlake resident since March 2020, has filed for Seat 4.
Meanwhile, Councilman Patric Paul, who was elected to Seat 1 in 2020, has resigned as of Nov. 1. Paul, a native of Germany who moved to Westlake from Texas, could not be reached for comment.
The manner by which Paul’s seat is to be filled will be on the agenda at the Monday, Nov. 8 council meeting.
Current Mayor Roger Manning, Seat 2 Councilwoman Kara Crump and Seat 4 Councilwoman Katrina Long-Robinson all were appointed to their posts when or shortly after Westlake was formed, and residency was not a requirement, as it is now. Since none of the three currently reside in Westlake, none qualify as candidates, Cassel told the Town-Crier.
No matter the outcome of the March election, O’Connor will be out of Seat 3 — either to take the mayor’s seat or return to private life, where he is an audiovisual design engineer and an entrepreneur with his own information technology company.
O’Connor, who resides on Rain Lilly Way with his wife Kailey and young son Jace Preston, said he welcomes the shake-up on the council.
“I’m excited for the residents. The entire [city government] landscape is going to change,” he said. “Every single seat is going to be filled by a resident. We’ll all live and sleep and see neighbors right here. I think that makes a difference.”
Langowski, 43, grew up in northern Palm Beach County and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration, and a master’s degree in organizational leadership, both from Palm Beach Atlantic University. He works as a regional director in the office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
Despite his affiliation with a prominent Republican senator, Langowski said that will have no bearing on his ability to work with others.
“In my position, I pride myself on working with all groups,” said Langowski, who has been with Rubio for 10 years. “It doesn’t matter which party you’re in. I have friends in both.”
Though single, Langowski said he decided it was time to buy a home and chose Goldfinch Circle in Westlake because “your money goes a long way out here.”
“I believe the city has a huge, bright future,” he said. “It’s great to see the growth that’s coming to this city, and I want to help shape that… shape it for the better.”
For O’Connor, a fluent Spanish speaker who attended high school and college in Palm Beach County, it’s about wanting to “continue the momentum we’ve been building thus far.”
“We’re seeing incredible growth,” he said. “We’ve really got something special out here.”
To qualify as a candidate, one must be a registered voter in Florida and a resident of Westlake. At the time of qualification, each candidate for mayor or a council seat must have resided in the city for one year before qualifying. Contact the city clerk’s office at (561) 530-5880 for more information.