Newsletter: March 8th, 2024


Friends of Delray, a 501c4 not for profit, has been working for over 2 years to explore the key issues facing Delray Beach.

FOD was founded by some of Delray’s most experienced citizen volunteers to discuss and inform residents regarding important issues facing our community.

Friends of Delray has addressed subjects which impact our City including education, arts and culture, parking rates, water quality, vagrancy problems, city boards, affordable housing, our municipal golf course and economic development.  We have reported on and highlighted some of our local not- for- profits such as Community Greening, Old School Square, Miracle League, Eat Better Live Better, Concourse D ‘Elegance and The Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Our goal is to discuss issues and we did not intend to endorse candidates this election cycle especially because two of our previous board or advisory board members are candidates. But Friends of Delray board and advisory board voted to endorse because so much is at stake.

Delray Beach is at an inflection point in its history with a $120 million General Obligation bond voted on to improve our Police and Fire stations and Parks as well as more than $150 million Utility bond to rebuild our water treatment facilities. Coupled with overseeing an adopted budget for fiscal year 2024 of $329,817,916., the stakes for the citizens and the city are monumental and call for absolutely the most qualified candidates to ensure the City’s continuing success. With such a heavy lift for our city staff it is imperative that we have leadership to oversee these projects while keeping our city running efficiently and maintaining the tenor congeniality at city hall.

Friends of Delray based our endorsements on the following criteria:

Candidate Questionnaires completed and returned by each candidate.

Candidate video interviews-We will send Candidate Interviews

Candidate Endorsements

Extensive research on each candidate


                       Ryan Boylston for Mayor

Here’s Why

Ryan Boylston’s wide swath of civic engagement is unparalleled by any of his opponents along with the sheer number of endorsements garnered by this candidate. The Delray Beach Community has benefited from his service through his tenure of six years as a City Commissioner and six years on the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Prior to that he served on the Pineapple Grove Board and many years on The Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

He is a leader for his community as well as in his professional career where he leads a diverse team as a successful business owner. One of the most important attributes utilized when considering any endorsement is if the candidate is open to constituent feedback and input on any given matters and Boylston has exemplified that attribute.

Mayoral Opponents:

Tom Carney did not receive our endorsement because he has been absent from city involvement for the past ten years. His decision to hold an alternative event simultaneously with the Chamber of Commerce debate was divisive and signaled a willingness not to work with the business community on important and pressing issues facing our town.

Shirley Johnson did not get our endorsements because she continues to support her vote to terminate the lease at Old School Square. Her decision costs taxpayers millions of dollars. She refused to reconsider her hastily rushed vote to terminate a 32-year-old non-profit lease despite a broad outcry from the community. Delray Citizens repeatedly requested to have the matter reexamined in a public forum. Her reluctance provides unmistakable evidence of the candidate’s inflexibility to listen to the voters. In addition, Ms. Johnson also chose to attend the alternate event with Carney, further dividing our city.

                         Jim Chard for Seat 1

Here’s Why

Jim Chard has an impressive resume in managing departments and projects for the largest municipality in the United States. He worked at the elbow of three different New York City Mayors and oversaw large municipal projects like rebuilding Yankee Stadium and managed billion-dollar budgets for the city. His budget and project experience positions him as the best candidate to take on Delray’s large upcoming projects.

He has devoted the past twenty years volunteering in Delay Beach. He has served on many city boards, not-for-profits, and several task forces. He currently serves as Chair of the Historical Preservation Board and is a founding board member of Community Greening. He has been vocal in criticizing the termination of the Old School Square lease and the plan to sell off part of the golf course.

Seat 1 Opponents:

We did not endorse Tennille Decoste because of the breadth of difficulties she has experienced in her employment history. She was recently terminated by the city of Boynton Beach for misconduct. The outside labor employment counsel for Boynton Beach cites four instances of extreme ethical misconduct and two instances of serious misconduct. Her previous employment in Delray Beach ended under undisclosed circumstances.

Tom Markert was not endorsed by FOD because he also chose to attend the alternative Candidates’ debate instead of honoring his word to attend the Chamber of Commerce forum. He does not have a record of civic or community involvement in Delray Beach except for his recent Police Advisory Board service. When questioned about why he was running for city commissioner he said, “I always wanted to be in politics.”

                  Nicholas Coppola for Seat 3

Here's Why

Nicholas Coppola brings his experience as an electrical contractor for a large company managing complex projects which makes him a natural to oversee large capital projects. His mastery of cost control and timely completion are skills needed to watch over the various $100 million projects currently in the pipeline. He is highly active in the Delray and Palm Beach County Community including Delray Beach Code Enforcement Board, Chair, Compass Community Center, Chair, Sherwood Park Civic Association Vice President and Treasurer, Impact 100 Men of Palm Beach County, Pines of Delray Homeowner Association.

Seat 3 Opponents:

Anneze Barthelemy is extremely likable but was not endorsed because since she lost a commission election bid nine years ago, she does not appear to have expanded on Delray Beach civic resume since that time. We concluded that her lack of experience would yield minimal results if this candidate were elected.

Juli Casale did not gain our endorsement because she cost Delray taxpayers millions of dollars during her former term in office. With her vote to terminate the Old School Square lease causing the cultural center to be dark. A stop gap effort to have the DDA manage a portion of the campus has cost Delray taxpayers more than $2 million. Such a band aid approach creates further conflict as the DDA is its own taxing entity. Further, Juli also voted to sell our public land at the municipal golf course to developers. The scope of naïve and ill convened fiscal decisions facilitated during Mrs. Casale’s previous tenure on the Commission has provided a clear roadmap as to what to anticipate if she were to secure a second shot at holding an elected seat on the dais.

Best Regards,

The Friends Of Delray Board

Judy Mollica - President

Steve English - Treasurer

Gregg Weiss - Secretary

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