breaking news

Woman arrested in Gardens Petco dognapping

What was decided at contentious Gardens council meeting on term limits


Highlights

Voters will decide if term-limited City Council members must sit out for three years before running again.

City Council voted not to ask voters if term-limited City Council members should be banned from running again.

Voters will not have the option of permanently banning term-limited City Council members from seeking office again.

RELATED: Term limits debate gets testy in Palm Beach Gardens

At a contentious Thursday night meeting in which council members publicly accused each other of bad manners and deception, the council voted 3-2 to ask voters if officials forced out by term limits should be allowed to run again if they sit out for one, three-year term. The question will be put to voters March 13, along with other changes.

RELATED: Gardens residents to council: ‘Don’t touch my term limits’

Even if voters say no, term-limited Council members would still be able to run again after sitting out for only one year — a choice Vice Mayor Mark Marciano was not convinced voters will understand from the ballot summary, which is limited to 75 words.

The Council rejected asking voters to approve a lifetime ban that Marciano said was more straightforward and less confusing.

“I just don’t want anybody to come back to us and state that we presented a question that wasn’t giving them two distinct choices,” he said at Thursday night’s special council meeting.

In November 2014, voters approved term limits that state no council member should serve more than two consecutive, three-year terms. Voters also will be asked in March if council members should be allowed to serve three terms instead of two.

Even though Marciano supports a three-year “sit out,” he voted against putting it on the ballot because he wanted voters to have the lifetime ban as an option, he said.

Councilman Matthew Lane, the other dissenting vote, has said council members who benefited from term limits to get into office are making a mistake to alter them.

Just before Mayor Maria Marino adjourned Thursday’s meeting, Councilwoman Rachelle Litt called out Lane for making up his mind on term limits before the council discussed it at a Dec. 7 meeting. That was the same meeting in which residents who support keeping term limits the same wore “Matt for Mayor” stickers.

“To think that council member Lane would come in here last meeting with his own agenda, his mind made up, an agreement already made with a select group of residents…and then accuse us, accuse me of being self-serving and complicit in trying to deceive the people of this city is outrageous, and I couldn’t let it go unanswered,” Litt said.

Lane said it was “bad manners and a lack of etiquette to attack someone personally.” If officials don’t have a position after living in the city and working on the issues for eight months, maybe they haven’t thought about it enough, he said.

“To say that it’s not self-serving to add an extra term of office for yourself — that’s not self-serving?” Lane added. “That’s the definition of self-serving.”

Lane said he had nothing to do with the “Matt for Mayor” stickers. People called and asked him how he was going to vote before the meeting.

“What you see is what you get,” he said. “They asked me how I was going to vote, and I told them.”

The debate has become divisive because of disagreements about the most effective method of term limits. Some say a three-year cooling off period will blunt a previous council person’s advantage over a newcomer if they run again. But a lifetime ban would drain the city of valuable knowledge.

At a council workshop Thursday night, it was pointed out that Sid Dinerstein, a staunch term limits supporter, and his attorney, James D’Loughy, have both said they never intended the limits to be a lifetime ban.

“I only care about a lifetime ban because we keep electing takers and not givers,” Dinerstein, who was not at the meeting, said when reached by phone Friday. “If we elected better people, I’d be good with a three-year ban, but not with these guys.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

If you've never been on a photo walk, you're missing a good thing
If you've never been on a photo walk, you're missing a good thing

I am, if I may say so, an excellent writer. The same can not be said for my photography skills. I mean, I do OK with my iPhone for basic selfie and family snapshot purposes. But that's particularly in pretty places that are almost impossible to screw up. Too often, shots that seem important parts of a trip or experience, like historic buildings, funny...
NEW: Boca councilwoman asks mayor to publicly apologize for ethics violations
NEW: Boca councilwoman asks mayor to publicly apologize for ethics violations

BOCA RATON — A Boca Raton councilwoman asked her colleague Mayor Susan Haynie to publicly apologize for violating ethics law when she voted on projects that benefited an outside client of her family’s business, developer James Batmasian. Councilwoman Monica Mayotte, who joined the five-person board in March, called...
NEW: ‘Teddy’ found, woman arrested in Palm Beach Gardens dog theft
NEW: ‘Teddy’ found, woman arrested in Palm Beach Gardens dog theft

A 48-year-old Palm Beach Gardens woman has been arrested in the theft of a dog Saturday from a pet store, and the dog has been returned to its owner.  Police late Monday were seeking to speak with Heather Ryan, who has since been arrested. The 11-year-old Maltese mix named “Teddy” was stolen from the Petco store on Legacy...
Man once cleared in West Palm Chick-fil-A murder is going to prison
Man once cleared in West Palm Chick-fil-A murder is going to prison

Nearly two decades after the execution of an 18-year-old Forest Hill High School student at a West Palm Beach Chick-fil-A, the former co-worker once convicted, then exonerated of his murder, is now headed to prison on a heroin trafficking charge. Jesse Lee Miller, 36, of West Palm Beach, turned himself in Friday. He will go to prison as part of...
Cramped DMV on PGA Boulevard in Gardens to be replaced
Cramped DMV on PGA Boulevard in Gardens to be replaced

The days of sweltering in the heat or getting drenched in the rain while waiting for a new driver’s license soon will be over. Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon on Monday announced plans to demolish the cramped DMV office across from The Gardens Mall on PGA Boulevard to make way for a bigger, better North County Service Center. Construction...
More Stories