By: Diane Emeott Korzen Contributing Writer
For the first time since April, Boca City Council again has five members on the dais.
They are: Mayor Scott Singer, reappointed Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers, new Council Member Andy Thomson, and Council Members Andrea Levine O’Rourke and Monica Mayotte.
At a Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 12, Swearing In Ceremony and Organizational Meeting, Scott Singer was officially sworn in as Mayor and newcomer Andy Thomson was sworn in as Council Member Seat A, Singer’s former seat.
The ceremony took place one day after embattled mayor Susan Haynie’s motion to dismiss charges against her was denied in Palm Beach County Circuit Court in West Palm Beach by Judge Glenn Kelley.
Haynie’s is due in court on Oct. 26. No trial date has been set. Haynie could face up to 23 years in prison.
Former Deputy Mayor Scott Singer was first sworn in as Mayor on May 7, following the April 24 arrest of Mayor Susan Haynie and her suspension from office on April 27 by Gov. Rick Scott.
Singer served as Mayor from May until successfully winning his Aug. 28 bid to “Keep Boca’s New Mayor.” He will continue to serve out Haynie’s term in office which expires in March 2020 – unless Haynie is acquitted or cleared of charges before then, and is reinstated as mayor.
Haynie has been charged with three counts of Official Misconduct (each a third-degree felony), one count of Perjury in an Official Proceeding (also a third-degree felony), as well as three misdemeanor charges: misuse of public office, corrupt misuse of public office, and failure to disclose a voting conflict.
While Singer defeated his opponent Al Zucaro without question, the second race required a recount as the winner changed multiples times throughout the night.
Contenders Kathy Cottrell and Andy Thomson battled for Seat A throughout Election night. As of 7 p.m. Cottrell was ahead. At 9:30 p.m. she was still in the lead by 35 votes. Thomson said he got a call at 11:30 p.m. saying the race was now tied. “About a half hour later (around midnight) they changed again to say I was ahead by three votes.”
Indeed, the next morning, Aug. 29, showed Thomson with 7,879 votes to Cottrell’s 7,876 votes. This prompted a recount.
In the end, Thomson had 7,936, votes, Cottrell at 7,917 votes – with a win for Thomson by just 19 votes. Tamara McKee had 2,134 votes, with a total 17,959 voting in this race.
In the mayoral race, Singer took approximately 2/3 of the vote, followed by Al Zucaro with 1/3, and Bernard Korn in a distant third place.
The supervisor of election’s website shows Singer won the 11,887 votes, while Al Zucaro received 6,278 votes and Bernard Korn received 579, for a total of 18,744 people voting in this race.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams, did the honors of swearing in Scott Singer as Mayor.
Singer called the word of the day, “Gratitude. I am grateful to be in a position to serve the city I love.”
He individually thanked everyone gathered for all their efforts and time, including his family, friends, fellow council members and campaign volunteers.
“It’s gratifying to have the increased communication. We’ve never had as involved and informed a city. We’ve had success in making it easier to do business in our city. There’s more we can do if we tap into the strength of our 100,000 residents!” he said.
Pastor of Spanish River Church Tommy Kiedis swore in Andy Thomson as Council Member, Seat A.
Before the ceremony, Kiedis remembered being involved in an election when he was a kid and his father ran for Palm Beach Gardens City Commissioner. Kiedis recalled being recruited by his father to help going door-to-door, getting the word out about the Election. “We were promised a TV if he won – and he did!”
Thomson thanked his wife for “allowing me to do this [run for office] not once, but twice,” — and his family. He recalled campaigning at an Early Voting Site where Tamara McKee and her family were also campaigning. He said by lunchtime, his daughter was more interested in a pepperoni pizza the McKee’s had gotten, than in his campaign.
He commended the McKee’s for, in the midst of an election battle, sharing not one but two slices of pizza with his daughter. He also acknowledged his opponent Kathy Cottrell for her dignity, class and grace.
“We proved that a positive campaign can be successful – if not by a huge margin,” he joked, before thanking everyone for coming out.
“Now let’s get to work!” said Thomson, as the City Council also conducted a CRA meeting, workshop meeting, afternoon regular meeting and an evening regular meeting that day.
At the Organization meeting, Council Member O’Rourke nominated Rodgers to be reappointed as Deputy Mayor. Thomson was selected as Alternate to the Transportation Planning Agency.