11 Candidates Seeking Three Seats On Wellington Council

The qualifying period ended Tuesday, Nov. 21 for the upcoming municipal election in the Village of Wellington. A total of 11 candidates qualified to run for the three seats available on the Wellington Village Council.

The Mayor’s Seat is being vacated by Mayor Anne Gerwig due to term limits. Two candidates qualified to run for mayor: Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone and Bart Novack. Gerwig is running for a seat in the Florida Legislature.

Seat 1 is being vacated by Councilman Michael Drahos due to term limits. Four candidates qualified to run for Seat 1: Bob Margolis, Marcella Montesinos, Amanda Silvestri and John “Jay” Carl Webber.

Seat 4 is being vacated by Napoleone due to term limits. Five candidates qualified to run for Seat 4: Shelly Lariz Albright, Maria Antuña, Carol Coleman, Karen Morris-Clarke and Michael Partow.

The election will be held Tuesday, March 19, at the same time as Florida’s presidential primary. Candidates must get at least 35 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff election. Each seat is for a four-year term.


The race to be the next mayor of Wellington features two candidates. Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone is seeking a promotion to mayor after serving two terms on the council. Also seeking the gavel is community activist Bart Novack, a longtime critic of how Wellington’s government operates.

Michael Napoleone — Napoleone is focusing his campaign on the experience he has gathered from eight years on the council.

“I have a record that people can review to see how I have voted on issues that the residents feel are important,” he explained. “I have been approachable, and I engage with residents. I have tried to be as transparent as possible in my decision-making process.”

Napoleone has enjoyed his time working to improve the village, and it is something he wishes to continue. “The work that we started eight years ago is not finished,” he said. “We are still trying to find ways to make Wellington better by focusing on what we do well and improving upon it.”

An attorney, Napoleone said that electability is a key item in his favor, adding that he has experience in running a government, managing a budget and engaging with residents.

“To be the mayor of the village, you need to have experience and some leadership qualities and understand exactly what the position entails,” he said. “While you are one vote out of five, your job is still to run the meetings and ensure that residents are heard and felt heard — that their opinions and views are respected. You have to understand what as a council you are allowed to do and not allowed to do, as defined by what Tallahassee has decided a local government can and cannot do.”

Bart Novack — A longtime critic of village operations, Novack ran unsuccessfully for a council seat in 2018.

“I am running because I think there is so much wrong being done in the village to the residents and property owners,” he said. “I am fed up with what they are doing. They have changed the dynamics of Wellington.”

Novack believes that he will be a better representative for residents.

“I will give the taxpayers what they are voting for. I will give them representation for their tax dollars,” he said. “I am retired. I am not a politician. I have no plans on going further. I plan on doing right by the residents. I will protect the equestrian preserve.”

Novack said he will also fight “selective enforcement” — which he said has happened to him since his previous campaign. “I’ve been targeted by the village ever since I ran in 2018,” he asserted.

As mayor, Novack said he will run meetings with the residents in mind.

“Everybody is going to have a say in that council room. I am not going to throw out anybody,” he said. “I am family oriented. I want to keep our parks. I will not be giving away lands that belong to the people.”

A resident for more than 20 years, Novack added that he will work to minimize traffic and would prefer that major changes go to the residents for approval.


The Seat 1 race features four candidates, each bringing a different type of community service experience to the table.

Bob Margolis — After serving as a community volunteer, Margolis first joined the council in 2003, serving until 2008. He was elected mayor in 2012 and served in that capacity until 2016.

“When I got off the council in 2016, for the last seven years, I’ve been working with a nonprofit, the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches, to fund a choir in the Glades,” he said. “When I looked at all the issues that are facing the Village of Wellington, I thought it was my responsibility to lend my skillset and leadership to a place that needs it as much as ever.”

Margolis said that he brings something other candidates lack.

“The most important key point in this race is that experience matters, especially in this campaign,” he said. “There are a number of issues, in addition to the equestrian applications. Such as annexation, the potential sale of K Park, the potential sale of the 10-acre Wellington Green Park site near the mall, a renewal of the way the village looks and to further support the PBSO in their community policing efforts.”

Margolis said that he has dedicated most of his adult life to Wellington.

“I have been here 40 years, and almost as soon as I got here, I started volunteering to try to make this community a better place, and I think I have done so,” he said. “Every issue that faces the Village of Wellington, I have been involved with before.”

Marcella Montesinos — Montesinos said she wants to protect the community she grew up in.

“I am a hometown gal who loves Wellington and knows its history,” she said. “In the 1980s, my family moved to Wellington, a place I believe is a rare gem in Palm Beach County. I am a first-generation Latina-American, and I am proudly raising my three daughters here with my husband, and high school sweetheart from Wellington High School, Dr. Tyson Tabora.”

Montesinos has worked for Palm Beach State College for the past 20 years, currently as the director of the Dr. Floyd F. Koch Honors College.

“My professional life has been partnering with the community and assisting students to continue to ‘dream big.’ My passion is serving my community, from being a room parent in my children’s school, to serving on the school advisory council and to becoming vice chair on the Wellington Education Committee,” she said.

She is also a longtime volunteer at the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club, where Montesinos serves as board chair.

“I decided to run this year because I feel we need a strong voice on the council advocating to preserve and maintain our village way of life,” Montesinos said. “While we continue to be robust and ever-growing, it will always be our residents and small businesses that make it a great hometown.”

Key issues for her are protecting the equestrian and nature preserves, supporting the village’s excellent schools and helping local small businesses succeed.

Amanda Silvestri — Silvestri aims to be an advocate and voice for village residents on the council.

Silvestri’s goals, should she be elected, are working with parents to improve Wellington schools, helping solve local traffic problems and keeping property taxes low.

“I was encouraged to run by neighbors and friends to be a fresh voice for residents in our community,” Silvestri said. “I am a longtime Wellington resident, wife and mother of two children, and a small business owner. I have spent the past several years working to improve our Wellington schools and serving our community.”

Silvestri ran unsuccessfully last year for the Palm Beach County School Board’s District 6 seat. During that campaign, she vowed to put “education over politics” and focused on her years as a volunteer at Wellington Elementary School, where she continues to be an active supporter, often organizing school events.

Jay Webber — After many years as a volunteer, Webber decided to run for the council this year to expand his community service at a crucial time.

“We are losing three members, and I am hoping that my experience working with the village on the Education Committee will be useful experience to the Wellington Village Council,” Webber said. “In addition, my years of meeting Wellington families through work at the schools and as a baseball coach has given me the opportunity to talk with them about the issues facing Wellington.”

Webber has served eight years on the Wellington Education Committee, seven as chair. He is also the chair of the Law Related Education Committee of the Palm Beach County Bar Association. He has served on the school advisory councils at Binks Forest Elementary School and Wellington Landings Middle School, and he is a member of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and the Wellington Historical Society.

“The two issues that I am focused on mostly is continuing Wellington’s unique commitment to education through the Keely Spinelli grants, and I am also hoping through fiscal responsibility that next year we can lower the millage rate,” Webber said. “That would help residents in this time of increased insurance and electric rates.”

An attorney who primarily works in medical malpractice defense, Webber has been a Wellington resident since 2008.


With five candidates, the race for Seat 4 includes the largest field since the early years of the community. Given the number of candidates, it may advance to a runoff election should no one get more than 35 percent of the vote.

Shelly Albright — Albright is running for the council to continue her many years of community service.

“I am running because as a 20-year resident of Wellington who raised my family here, an education advocate and active community leader, I have the qualifications and long-term perspective to serve on our village council,” Albright said. “This is my home, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. With so many council members unable to run due to term limits, it is crucial to elect new council members who have been involved in our community and know our people and our issues.”

Albright currently serves on the Wellington Education Committee and as a board member of the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club.

“I have partnered with the Village of Wellington to support SWAG (Students Working to Achieve Greatness), as well as the Hometown Holiday Food and Toy Drives, to name a few,” she said. “I also work in our community, as the director of children and youth ministries at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church.”

Albright ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Florida Legislature last year. Key issues in her current campaign include protecting environmentally sensitive lands, continuing to support village education initiatives, protecting home rule and working to keep Wellington one of the safest communities in Florida.

Maria Antuña — Born in Cuba, Antuña came to the United States in 1962. Living in Palm Beach County since 1975, she has been a Wellington resident since 1978.

“As a 45-year resident of Wellington, I have seen many changes through the years,” she said. “I felt an obligation to the residents of Wellington to protect and preserve the integrity of Wellington, a great community to live, work and play. I want to be on a council that will represent the voices of everyone in Wellington. I will listen and make decisions in the best interest for the residents of Wellington.”

Antuña would bring to the council her 40-plus years of experience in the banking industry. Currently, she works as CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County. On the council, she said she would be an advocate for small businesses and education.

She is proud of her work as vice chair of Wellington’s Architectural Review Board.

“On the board, I play a pivotal role in balancing responsible growth with preserving the unique character of our village,” Antuña said.

She also serves with the Criminal Justice Board, the Forum Club, the Urban League, Good Samaritan Medical Center and the Wellington Rotary.

In her campaign, Antuña plans to prioritize public safety and support first responders, keep taxes low, support local businesses, champion world-class education for children and protect Wellington’s unique quality of life.

Carol Coleman — An equestrian, Coleman has been a permanent resident of Wellington for 23 years.

“I don’t think that we have ever had an equestrian on the council,” she said. “I think that in light of everything that has been going on in the village, it behooves us to have an equestrian on the council because much of the income that comes from the horse shows supports a lot of things that go on in the Village of Wellington.”

Coleman, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2010, brings a long list of community service to her candidacy, including her time on Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve Committee and Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board, where she also served as chair.

“I was the president of the Wellington Garden Club, as well as the director for the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs for District X. I sit on the board for the Kevin Babington Foundation and the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament,” Coleman said, adding that she has master’s degrees in speech pathology, audiology and learning disabilities.

“We need to preserve the preserve, but it is also important to improve the driving in Wellington. Need to reline the roads, where the lines are very dark,” Coleman said. “We also need to improve the cell tower signals across the village. I would also like to do more for seniors to provide more programs for them and provide more forms of transportation for them.”

Karen Morris-Clarke — Karen Morris-Clarke ran unsuccessfully for a council seat in 2022. She said that the key issues in her campaign are protecting neighborhoods, road safety measures, growing the economy, revitalizing the community, preserving the village and transparent governance.

“I will continue to advocate for safer neighborhoods in Wellington,” Morris-Clarke said. “My plan calls for investments in public safety infrastructure, including but not limited to more street lighting on already dangerously dark roads, traffic signals, well-maintained roads, sidewalks and crosswalks, addressing the unsafe traffic conditions at our schools, parent-pick and drop-off and signage which contribute to safer neighborhoods and traffic management.”

She also supports speed deterrents such as speed bumps, bicycle lane markers, visible road reflectors and rail guards near dangerous canals, and stronger neighborhood watch programs for non-gated and rental communities in Wellington.

As a business owner, Morris-Clarke also supports small businesses.

“I understand how supporting small businesses can create opportunities for economic growth in Wellington,” she said. “That’s why my plan calls for championing the growth of small businesses through a Wellington First initiative, which focuses on uplifting and prioritizing local businesses in the village.”

She also wants to help increase the value of homes in Wellington by investing in, beautifying and revitalizing the underserved areas of Wellington.

“We must balance economic development with maintaining the essence of our community, ensuring that our growth aligns with the values and heritage of Wellington,” Morris-Clarke said. “We should showcase and safeguard our community’s unique character, such as the equestrian culture, through tourism initiatives to keep attracting visitors and boasting our economy.”

Finally, with transparent governance, Morris-Clarke would “commit to transparency by proposing open data policies, town hall meetings and initiatives for greater citizen engagement in decision-making, as well as involve residents and businesses in the decision-making processes, which ensures that initiatives are community-driven and have wide support.”

Michael Partow — Partow believes that his many years of business experience will be useful should he be elected to the Wellington Village Council.

“I have spent most of my business career in problem analysis and solutions, engineering and construction,” he said. “Not only have my education and business experience prepared me for the challenges confronting us, I also feel very passionate about getting the best possible outcome for all of our residents.”

Partow said that he chose to run for the council because he did not want to be a “passenger on the bus” with all the changes happening in the community.

“The rapid changes planned for Wellington for the next few years and their potential impact is mainly responsible for my decision to run this year,” he said. “Aside from the development plans, which include the Wellington Green area, there are other quality-of-life issues, such as cost-of-living challenges encompassing taxes, insurance and housing, public safety and education.”


  1. So interesting that nearly all new candidates running in March are supporters of “keeping Wellington the way it was” by maintaining the Ag Reserve and limiting development. How the hell did our current VM’s vote 4-1 then in favor or more development, more traffic and less green space? 80+ per cent of the residents were vehemently against these new projects. I’m not a Shakespeare guy but something is definitely rotten in Wellington…..

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