Napoleone Will Take Gavel As Wellington’s New Mayor; Runoff Set For Council Seats

Michael Napoleone campaigns at the polls on election day. Photo by Denise Fleischman

The Village of Wellington has a new mayor. Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone succeeded in his bid to replace term-limited Mayor Anne Gerwig during the municipal election Tuesday, March 19.

The other two council seats on the ballot will advance to a runoff election Tuesday, April 2, since no candidate got more than 35 percent of the vote. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting will not be available, but vote-by-mail ballots will go out to voters signed up for them.

According to unofficial results from the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office, Napoleone took 5,806 votes or 79.96 percent of the vote in the mayoral race, to Bart Novack’s 1,455 votes or 20.04 percent of the vote.

In Seat 1, the top two vote-getters were Amanda Silvestri with 2,309 votes (31.33 percent) and Bob Margolis with 1,945 votes (26.39 percent). Silvestri and Margolis will advance to the runoff. Candidate Jay Webber came in right behind Margolis with 1,884 votes (25.57 percent). He was eliminated, along with Marcella Montesinos, who took 1,231 votes (16.71 percent).

In Seat 4, the top vote getters were Maria Antuña with 2,270 votes (31.16 percent) and Shelly Albright with 2,239 votes (30.73 percent). They will advance to the runoff. Three candidates were eliminated: Carol Coleman, who took 1,389 votes (19.06 percent); Michael Partow, who took 788 votes (10.82 percent); and Karen Morris-Clarke, who took 600 votes (8.23 percent).

“Nothing has changed except the office I will work at in the village,” Napoleone said the day after his election victory. “I am excited and grateful that the residents put their faith and trust in me to lead Wellington forward as their mayor over the next four years.”

Napoleone takes over the gavel after a series of controversial votes that divided the community.

“I think we have a lot of work ahead of us, and priority No. 1 is to work to bring our community back together, because we are fractured due to the recent votes,” he said, referring largely to the controversial Wellington Lifestyle Partners project. “We need to work together to uphold what makes Wellington such a special place.”

Napoleone said his priorities include “keeping our neighborhoods safe, preserving our quality of life, listening to and engaging with residents, keeping our property values high, protecting and expanding our green spaces, respecting our equestrians and continuing to improve our public facilities, which provide a benefit for all.”

It is a list that is not based on a handful of issues, but a mindset that looks out for the future of the community.

“We want to ensure that Wellington remains a great hometown for generations to come,” Napoleone said. “I look forward to working as a team with the current council and new members, whoever they may be, to address the challenges that lie ahead.”


The top vote-getters from Seat 1 will face-off on Tuesday, April 2 in the runoff election. Amanda Silvestri finished in first place, about 350 votes ahead of the second-place finisher, former Mayor Bob Margolis. Neither got the necessary 35 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

“I came close to just taking the seat. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t,” Silvestri said. “I’m willing to do the work — and work just as hard as I have to finish this strong.”

Previously known as an education activist who ran unsuccessfully for the Palm Beach County School Board in 2022, Silvestri has put her focus on development issues when it comes to the Wellington election.

Both Silvestri and Margolis spoke out against the Wellington Lifestyle Partners’ project.

“I was the most outspoken about our overdevelopment issues and the removal of the equestrian preserve land, and will continue to do so,” Silvestri said. “I will not be the one who is not showing up for the voters. I will be out there working just as hard as I did, every single day, and I hope the residents will come back out and vote for me.”

Margolis served on the council from 2003 to 2009, and then served as mayor from 2012 to 2016. He has put his focus on his decades of experience in Wellington.

“More than ever, the differences between me and my opponent are very stark in nature,” he said. “Experience means everything in everything that we do. If the voters agree with me on that, then the choice is clear.”

Margolis said that he has been taking calls and meeting with people since the results were announced, attempting to shore up support from those who voted for one of the two eliminated candidates.

“The next two weeks will go by very quickly,” he said. “We will stay the course and keep our focus on experience and trust. Who would you trust to have the best interests of the Village of Wellington at heart? I always have, and I always will.”


The top vote-getter in Seat 4 was Maria Antuña, who came in just 31 votes ahead of second-place finisher Shelly Albright. They both finished well-ahead of the three other candidates and will advance to the runoff.

“I would have liked to win outright, but I understand that we are off to a runoff,” Antuña said. “I will continue to do my very best, as I did the first go-round and make it happen.”

She urged all of her supporters to return to the polls on April 2.

“Please remember to come back out and vote for Maria Antuña for village council,” she said.

Antuña said that she will not change the themes that she has focused on over the past several months.

“What I have run on is the overdevelopment that we are experiencing in Wellington, and our traffic issues that we have in Wellington,” Antuña said. “And, of course, our public safety with our first responders.”

Albright said that she is looking forward to the runoff election.

“I am pleased that so many people went out to vote,” she said. “I’m excited about the runoff. I think we have a lot of support.”

She plans to spend the next two weeks “rallying the troops.”

“My plan is to reach back out to the voters and encourage them to get back out to vote. We want to make sure their voices are heard,” Albright said.

Her areas of focus remain the same. “This includes keeping the taxes low and working to help seniors stay in their homes,” Albright said. “Schools and education are so important, and I really want to make sure the Keely Spinelli grant program stays in place. We must also protect our green space and make sure that WLP stays on target with their commitments.”