Boca Raton: Drucker named deputy mayor as Mayotte bids adieu

Boca Raton: Drucker named deputy mayor as Mayotte bids adieu
As Monica Mayotte ended her six years on the dais, fellow City Council members named Yvette Drucker to replace her as deputy mayor at an April 1 organization meeting.They also elected Fran Nachlas as chair of the Community Redevelopment Agency, replacing Marc Wigder, who has held that post for a year, and newly reelected council member Andy Thomson as vice chair.Drucker kept her role as a voting member on the Palm Beach County Transportation Planning Agency, a position she covets, and Nachlas is the second voting member.Thomson resigned from the council at the end of 2022 after serving most of his three-year term in order to pursue an unsuccessful run for the Florida House District 91 seat, and reclaimed his seat in the March 19 election. He won a council seat in a 2018 special election and was reelected in 2020.Drucker had served a full three years on the council when she was reelected in March, making her the heir-apparent to become deputy mayor based on consecutive length of service.Council members heaped praise on Mayotte, who wore a pastel suit that included green stripes to the meeting. “I am sure it is not an accident,” Mayor Scott Singer said of her wardrobe choice. She had made it her mission to press the city to improve environmental safeguards and sustainability.

“You will always be my sustainability champion,” Nachlas told her.

“You taught me a lot about sustainability and resiliency and just how important it is to protect the environment,” Drucker said.

Wigder cited her “unwavering commitment to causes she believes in.”

Mayotte advocated for creating an Office of Sustainability and hiring Lindsey Nieratka to manage it. Nieratka created the city’s sustainability action plan in 2019, now being updated.

Mayotte urged other council members in 2021 to join the Race to Zero, a global campaign to take immediate action to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming.

Also at her urging, the council prohibited the sale or distribution of polystyrene foam products on city property and the use of balloons and confetti on outside areas of city property.

She joined other council members to approve a building recertification program, proposed by Singer after the collapse of a Surfside condominium. Its intent is to ensure that buildings are safe and resilient to climate change.

Mayotte also pushed for a green building ordinance that will offer incentives to developers whose buildings use less water and energy and create fewer gas emissions.

That ordinance is now in the works, and Mayotte said last month that she regrets leaving the council before it is approved.

Findings in two lawsuits against the city blemished her tenure.

State and federal judges determined that she and former Deputy Mayor Andrea O’Rourke were unfairly biased in the cases, with Singer joining them on the second one, involving construction of beachfront homes. The judges ordered them not to take part in future votes on the properties.

In his remarks, Singer noted Mayotte’s environmental work but said her tenure was notable for other reasons as well.

“You also have been very responsive to the business community,” he said, and supported improving efficiency and streamlining the city’s operational processes.

Andrea Virgin, the CEO of the proposed Center for Arts and Innovation in Mizner Park, recognized Mayotte at a March 25 council meeting.

“You were a remarkable force for our project,” Virgin said, thanking Mayotte for her support of the cultural arts center. “We hope you will continue on this exciting journey with us.”

In making her remarks, Mayotte first drew a deep breath to hold back tears.

She praised fellow council members, thanked voters for “supporting my vision” and described O’Rourke as her mentor.

“I think I was able to prove it is possible to be business friendly, neighborhood friendly and still focus on sustainability,” she said.

Her parting advice to the council: “Be bold. Take risks. The city is on the precipice of great things. Make it happen.”