It was standing-room-only amidst smiles and handshakes as Biscayne Park swore in David Coviello, Fred Jonas, and Roxanna Ross as village commissioners.
Residents seemed hopeful the new commission would work together and provide a more welcoming environment than it had in the past.
“I am really proud of this new commission. Now, I’ll be able to leave these meetings without my blood pressure being high, and I don’t have high blood pressure,” resident Judi Hamelburg said.
She and several other residents made references to the debates that had been this commission’s signature for the past two years.
“What I see with our new commission is harmony of process and respect. This will be the hallmark of this commission,” said resident Karen Cohen.
After Coviello, Jonas and Ross joined Commissioners Bob Anderson and Barbara Watts they unanimously named newcomer Coviello as the new mayor.
“I feel an extreme sense of pride and honor to be able to contribute to my community in such a significant way,” Coviello said.
Watts, who initially nominated him for the position, said “What we need is a fresh commission, a fresh mayor and a fresh start. I think Coviello is the one to do that for us.”
After what has been considered a tumultuous time, both residents and commissioners have high expectations for the newly established dais.
“We can work together,” said Anderson. “We may not always agree, we don’t have to agree, but we can work together. We can vote then we can move on with no bad feelings.”
“I am a consensus builder,” Coviello added. “I will always listen to opposing points of view. As I said during the campaign, it's very easy to take a hard line position on an issue. The more difficult task is to find common ground in order to solve the problem.”
Coviello, a partner with the law firm of Shutts & Bowen, specializes in land use and zoning, a skill some residents said is coming to the village at the perfect time with annexation still on the table as a viable alternative to increase the city’s revenues.
“I believe we have a positive, competent, caring and hardworking commission that will listen to residents and narrow their scope to the essentials needed to maintain the village intact for another eight years,” said village resident Tracy Truppman.
Additionally, Watts will now serve as the vice mayor for six months and the remaining commissioners will each serve six-month terms in reverse alphabetical order (Ross, Jonas, Anderson). Coviello and Ross will serve four year and 11 month terms while Jonas is serving a two year and 11 month term. The next municipal election will be held in November 2016.
The next commission meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 7 at the Ed Burke Recreation Center, 11400 NE Ninth Court.