PBC Commissioners float new chair titles: ‘Mayor’, ‘king’, ‘czar’

Palm Beach County Commissioner Stephen Abrams failed to get his six colleagues to agree to change his commission chairman title to county mayor.

Abrams, appointed recently to chair the seven-member commission, had proposed the change, which would have also had commission Vice Chairwoman Pricilla Taylor taking on the title of county vice mayor.

Tuesday’s vote, though, was postponed so commissioners could let the proposal “ferment,” Commissioner Shelly Vana said. But some commissioners appear strongly opposed to the change.

“I find this topic rather humorous,” said Commissioner Jess Santamaria. “My constituents call me Jess. I don’t need a title – even a title of commissioner. I want to be called a ‘public servant.’”

“If you really want attention, maybe the proper title would be king or queen,” he said, suggesting Abrams drummed up the idea to give himself a promotion. Santamaria then took this shot at his former colleague, retired Commissioner Burt Aaronson: “We had a former commissioner who liked to be referred to as the ‘Godfather.’”

“I like czar,” said Vana at one point in the discussion.

Taylor and Vana said they like the idea of a change in title, suggesting it may add heft to the top two leadership positions on the commission. But they said changing the commission to a strong-mayor form of government may be what it takes to give the title real meaning.

Commissioner Paulette Burdick agreed, saying she “would support the concept of a strong mayor” to strengthen the commission’s leadership, though she wondered if it was necessary: “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”

Newly elected Commissioner Mary Lou Berger said the strong mayor question should be left out of the discussion. She was ready to support the title change in a vote, as long as it did not involve a power shift.

“We spent a lot of taxpayer’s money doing a charter amendment process last year, and [changing to a strong-mayor form of government] was not a topic that came forward with any great strength from the residents of the county,” Berger said.

Before the discussion was tabled Abrams addressed Santamaria’s accusation of self-promotion.

“Like I said, it’s not about me,” Abrams said. “If this were not to pass, I’m not going to take out a full page ad in a newspaper. I’m not going to have my friends write letters to the editors about the injustices of it all because it’s not about me.”

Abrams explains his reasons for the proposed change in this exclusive interview with BizPac Review:

Take our poll: What should the chair of the PB County Commission be called?

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About Michele Kirk

Michele Kirk is a writer, editor, and field reporter for BizPac Review. Michele can be reached at michele@bizpacreview.com & @michelekirkbpr

  • Suzanne Squire

    Yeah Right – Does he even believe what he is saying? Self Promotion is like a little vomit in your mouth!

    It is about you Steve – All our reps believe they know better for us than we know for ourselves!

    We are known as Corruption County and still having trouble w/the IG getting funded. Why not reverse

    all the bad votes we had that were cast by the Incarcerated? You are so full of yourself up to your brown eyes!

    Oh and this was just smoke and mirrors covering up the real topic – Rules of Procedure Changes!

    They wiped out the old and recreated something that adds to what I fondly call, "Project Shut Up".

    1 good thing about Steve (Stevie the little wonder boy) can do math but only when prodded!

    He will never mention them himself but usually will concur because all the numbers suck!

    We spend millions for a handful of temporary jobs. 2x we incentivized Home Depot and

    DBR shows the property sold! Poof the money, jobs and taxes are GONE!

    So tell us again how giving you the title of Mayor Helps US besides declaring yourself our boss?

    When his head comes out of his hiney it will be the pop heard around the world!

  • Depot Time

    First off, you mean Office Depot, not Home Depot. Yes, Office Depot did sell their building–their OLD vacant building in Delray Beach, not the new headquarters they built in Boca Raton! Office Depot has an agreement with the county to create jobs, tax revenues, etc., or they have to give the incentive funds back, and they are in compliance. No wonder they think they know better than you know yourself–because you know nothing! Poof.

  • Might be good idea

    Why would we in Palm Beach County want to be at a disadvantage competing against other large counties who have county mayors, such as Broward, Orange, and Miami-Dade? It's not all about Willie and the other readers' own insecurities, which they show by their knee jerk attacks, instead of examining the merits of why the title change is being proposed. Quit biting off your nose to spite your face just because you hate your government and probably don't even vote in elections because you hate both Democrats and apparently Republicans like Abrams.

  • Paying attention

    We need more peeps in office like abrams. He is a solid republican who is smart and can make educated decisions. Unlike someone like SANTAMARIA, who is clearly problematic on numerous levels.

  • Boca Legend

    Doofus might be a good title for Abrams by the looks of him.