Two political rookies — Omari Hardy, a Roosevelt Middle School teacher, and Herman Robinson, a longtime community organizer — were elected Tuesday to the City Commission, according to results from the Palm Beach County Supervisor Elections.
With 17 of 17 precincts reporting, both took narrow majorities in their races. And the ballot question on whether term lengths should be increased from two to three years was approved by a solid majority of the voters.
In District 2, Hardy, 27, beat three-term incumbent Christopher McVoy, 59 and private investigator William Joseph, 46.
In District 4, Robinson, 71, won over Maryann Polizzi, a 59-year-old consultant fundraiser and Ellie Whittey, 63, a former office manager and assistant for Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo.
RELATED: Complete coverage of the 2017 municipal elections, PalmBeachPost.com/munielections
“Lake Worth took a huge step forward tonight,” Hardy said when told by The Palm Beach Post he won while at his campaign manager’s home in College Park. “The city matured. The people of Lake Worth expressed their commitment to safety and security. I have no words.”
Robinson said he will be a voice for all Lake Worth residents.
“I campaigned on being a good commissioner for everybody,” he said from his victory party at Callero’s Steak House on Lake Avenue. “I’m not going to deal in personalities on the dais, we’ll work on issues.”
McVoy could not be reached for comment.
Both commissioners said they’re ready to get to work.
“I need to get a deep knowledge on how each department operates,” Hardy said. “I also have to make sure I’m working well with other elected officials from the county.”
Robinson said he would like to see Lake Worth become less divisive.
“I want to avoid the us versus them mentality,” Robinson said.
Lake Worth is a city with a host of issues — crime, sober homes, crumbling infrastructure are at the top of the list. The city is also trying to woo new investment, but each candidate has said the city will have a better chance of doing that if the aforementioned problems are addressed.
City officials point to $116 million in infrastructure projects that are in the works as a sign that Lake Worth is on the road to recovery. And last November, residents overwhelming approved a $40 million road bond that will allow the city to start fixing potholes. Work is expected to start last spring or early summer.
The commission has other concerns, including what to do with its municipal pool, which City Manager Michael Bornstein recently closed because of safety issues, and whether it will have to file a lawsuit over structural problems at Lake Worth Casino ballroom.