Seymour Gelber stood in front of a packed chamber at Miami Beach City Hall where he once presided as mayor. Now 98, with a dose of pride and humor, he swore his son Dan into the office he once held, commending him for his record of public service.
Seymour Gelber pointed out that even though Dan Gelber, 56, has held weighty positions in public life — federal prosecutor and a top lawmaker in Tallahassee — he’s never taken himself too seriously.
“These qualities will allow you to be the best mayor this city has ever had — present company included,” said the elder Gelber, inducing laughter from the audience.
Gelber and commissioners Mark Samuelian and Michael Góngora were sworn in at Miami Beach City Hall Monday, three rookie commissioners on a seven-member panel. As mayor, Gelber will serve a two-year term. The commissioners will serve four years. Commissioner Micky Steinberg, who won reelection unopposed, was also sworn in; this will be her second term.
One outgoing commissioner already made his exit from City Hall. Michael Grieco, at one point a top contender for mayor, ended his term early in October as he pleaded no contest to a campaign finance crime. Samuelian now fills Grieco’s old seat.
Joy Malakoff, who served one term as commissioner, and Philip Levine, the outgoing mayor who is now running for governor, said their goodbyes.
“I love this city and do plan to stay involved,” said Malakoff, who is retiring from the commission. A retired banker who focused on key land use issues such as new building standards tailored for the anticipated impacts of sea level rise, she thanked her fellow commissioners and the city’s staff.
In concluding his second term in office, Levine thanked the city and its employees for implementing the commission’s policies, including upgrading stormwater drainage infrastructure, approving a master plan for North Beach and passing a citywide minimum wage.
“The folks that work in the public sector just work incredibly hard,” he said.