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Delray Beach gets new mayor and two commissioners

Delray Beach voters chose two familiar faces and one newcomer in one of the most heated municipal races in Palm Beach County.

According to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office, Tom Carney, a former mayor and current attorney, defeated Ryan Boylston, the city’s current vice mayor, and Shirley Johnson, a former commissioner. Carney, 70, will replace current mayor Shelley Petrolia, who has served in that position since 2018.

In a second race, Tom Markert, a political newcomer, edged out Tennille DeCoste, another political newcomer, and Jim Chard, a former commissioner. Markert will replace current city commissioner Adam Frankel. In a third race, Juli Casale, another former commissioner, defeated Anneze Barthelemy and Nick Coppola, and she will replace Boylston.

Voters also voted not to eliminate the city’s Board of Adjustment, which considers and decides on appeals and variances to the city’s land development regulations.

In each race, development, water quality, affordable housing, the proposed historic district designation along a portion of Atlantic Avenue and preserving quality of life for the “Village by the Sea” rose as popular topics.

For Carney, this will be his first time back on the commission in more than 10 years. The 70-year-old attorney served as a city commissioner from 2011 to 2013 and then briefly as acting mayor in 2013. He ran for mayor that same year but lost to Carey Glickstein. He believes his experience as a practicing lawyer will provide something to the commission that it hasn’t had, namely an understanding of what it’s like being in front of and behind the dais.

“I am so grateful and so humbled,” Carney said on Tuesday night. “I keep my promises. This has been very exciting.”

Carney will be joined by Markert, 66, who, after a long career working as an executive in global companies, feels ready to give back to the community he has grown to love. As a commissioner, he wants to promote smart development and respect among the commission, something that he believes is often lacking.

Casale, the Seat Three winner, takes a very conservative approach to development, believing the city needs to be more conscientious than it has been in the past. The 55-year-old former business owner hasn’t been away from the commission for long — she served one term from 2020 to 2023 in a seat now held by Rob Long, who defeated her in the 2023 election.

Tensions ran high in this election, taking off when about half the candidates didn’t attend the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce candidate forum, which they all were invited to, on Jan. 30 and instead participated in a similar event on the same date and around the same time.

Boylston, Chard, DeCoste and Coppola participated in the chamber’s forum while Carney, Johnson, Markert, Barthelemy and Casale took part in a different forum in the city’s Courtyard at Marriott Hotel, not far from where the chamber’s forum was going on in the Arts Garage.

According to the city’s code of ordinances, Carney, Markert and Casale will assume their new seats on March 28.

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