Two newcomers, including a longtime Surfside political figure, have been elected to the town commission in Tuesday’s election.
Eli Tourgeman, a former mayor, former commissioner and Surfside booster, was elected vice mayor in the March 18 general election. He received the most votes in the at-large election, garnering the title of vice mayor.
Tourgeman received 357 votes, or about 25 percent, replacing incumbent Vice Mayor Michael Karukin. Karukin received 274 votes or about 19.5 percent, and will remain a commissioner.
Barry R. Cohen, a newcomer to town politics, garnered 311 votes or about 22 percent, while incumbent Marta Olchyk received 273 votes or about 19.3 percent. Both will serve on the commission.
Mayor Daniel Dietch, 44, an environmental consultant with CH2M HILL, was automatically re-elected because he ran unopposed. All the winners will serve a two-year term.
Meredith Beattie, a town resident since 2004 who works as a senior training manager for the nonprofit organization City Year Miami, received 197 votes, not enough to win a seat on the commission. But she garnered more than twice as many votes this time than she did in 2012, when she ran unsuccessfully for a vacant commission seat during a special election.
Tourgeman, 68, a town resident since 1975, is vice president and manager of the HSBC Bank branch in Surfside. He also serves as president of the Surfside Business Association and is chairman of the town's tourist board. His long association with Surfside politics began in 1986 when he was elected commissioner. In 1988, he became vice mayor. He was elected mayor of the town in 1990 and served until 1992.
Cohen, 56, a first-timer to politics, is an attorney specializing in foreclosure defense. He has been a Surfside resident since 1985.
Karukin, 56, who works as director of patient registries at Teva Pharmaceuticals, has lived in Surfside since 1999. He was elected commissioner in 2010 and became vice mayor in 2012.
Olchyk, 75, has lived in Surfside for more than 12 years and is a retired federal investigator with the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as a former educator.