Seven years after she fought to bring The Scripps Research Institute to Jupiter’s Abacoa development, former Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus said Thursday that she has been hired by the bioscience giant to help improve its community and government relations.
Marcus said that she will be paid as a consultant and will provide Scripps’ administrators with advice on local and statewide issues that could impact its operations here. She will also help raise awareness about the institute’s programs and initiatives.
Marcus, a commissioner for 28 years, left office in November after term limits prevented her from seeking re-election.
While on the commission, Marcus played a key role in convincing Scripps to build its headquarters in Jupiter’s Abacoa development rather than in a rural orange grove. Marcus was adamant that the sprawling 1,920-acre Mecca Farms was needed to help restore the Loxahatchee River, and she successfully fought to build the project farther east instead, in Jupiter.
Marcus was a strong advocate of using taxpayer money for the venture. The county has spent $187 million to erect three buddings for Scripps in Abacoa. In addition, the county bought undeveloped land across the street to allow Scripps to grow.
In her new role, Marcus said she will help introduce Scripp’s top officials to county and state leaders.
“They have some new leadership,” Marcus said. “Scripps was the first bio science venture for Florida. I think they recognize that role as being the leader. They want to continue that.”
Marcus will also keep the institute informed about legislation and help its leaders connect with local and statewide groups.
“I’m delighted we’ll have the benefit of Karen’s insights and knowledge of the Palm Beach community,” Scripps President and CEO Michael A. Marletta said in a statement released by the institute. “We look forward to continuing to partner with organizations throughout the county and state, and Karen is a natural choice to help us do that.”
Marcus will not be allowed to lobby the county commission. County rules prevent former commissioners from lobbying the board for two years after leaving office.
Staff writer Stacey Singer contributed to this story.