Palmetto Bay

Eugene Flinn is out as Palmetto Bay elects a new mayor and two new council members

Karyn Cunningham, Patrick Fiore and Marsha Matson won seats on the Palmetto Bay Village Council.
Karyn Cunningham, Patrick Fiore and Marsha Matson won seats on the Palmetto Bay Village Council.

Eugene Flinn, founding mayor of Palmetto Bay, lost his bid for another term on the Village Council Tuesday. Karyn Cunningham, who left her council seat representing District 1 to run for mayor, defeated Flinn with 61 percent of the vote.

Cunningham, 55, is a retired teacher. Flinn, 56 and an attorney, was the village’s original mayor when the South Miami-Dade community incorporated in 2002. He served two terms from 2002-2010, then ran again and won in 2014.

One of the issues that divided Flinn and Cunningham was a developer’s proposal to build 485 condos on the property that once housed Burger King’s corporate office. Flinn supported the project; Cunningham voted against it.

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Eugene Flinn lost his re-election bid as mayor of Palmetto Bay. Eugene Flinn

Residents also chose two council members to fill seats in districts 1 and 3.

In the District 1 race, which represents the northern part of the village, Patrick Fiore, 62, won the seat he had held from 2010 to 2014, when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor against former mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Flinn.

Fiore defeated 69-year-old Anthony Gorman, a construction quality control systems manager and political newcomer, with 59.78 percent of the vote.

District 3, the southern part of the village, went up for grabs when incumbent Larissa Siegel Lara opted not to run again.

The seat went to a first-time council member: Marsha Matson, 73, an arbitrator for the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, who was involved with the steering committee that incorporated the South Miami-Dade village in 2002. She won with 52.30 percent of the vote.

Matson defeated Robert Buzzelli, 72, who resigned from the Services Advisory Committee to the council to run, and David Soderholm, 59, a traffic supervisor at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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Voters also rejected a charter amendment that would have made it tougher to remove the city manager, city clerk or city attorney. Removal would have required four votes from the five-member commission instead of the current three votes.

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