Newsletter: September 19, 2023

Homeless Problems in Downtown Delray

Does Delray Beach have a homeless "problem?"  Several people at the September 5th Delray Beach City Commission meeting seem to think so.  During the public comments section of the meeting, employees from Luna Rosa complained that they and their clients have been harassed by panhandlers.

One employee reported tents on the beach, public urination and verbal harassment.  She stated that she and her customers had to witness someone exposing themselves. Diane Bold, who used to be a police officer in St. Louis and now works as a supervisor server at Luna Rosa, said there has been a massive increase in vagrants and homelessness around the beach pavilion in the past six months. She suggested more police presence and more patrol for visual deterrence.  Other citizens came forward with public comments about the same problem.
This topic received further discussion during the Comments and Inquiries section of the meeting.  City Commissioner Adam Frankel, spoke about a public bench across the street from Lulu’s in Pineapple Grove which had to be removed because of the gatherings that took place there.  Frankel claimed that there is a video which shows one of the vagrants spreading feces on a mailbox. City Manager, Terrence Moore, said that they are addressing the problem now that the police department has full employment. They will take steps to increase the police presence at parks and beaches.

Chief Mager reminded the board that it is not a crime to be homeless, but violating the law or ordinances is. The department focused on the downtown Clean & Safe area made thirteen arrests from Tuesday 8/29 to Tuesday 9/5. The arrests were for drugs, alcohol, trespassing and COV (Crimes of Violence). The department wants to apply the same efforts at the beach as they have in the downtown.  Chief Mager noted that the relatively recent uptick in homelessness nuisances is likely due to clusters of the population being regularly dispersed only to have them cluster in new locations.  These clusters have inadvertently made their way east to the Pavilion.  Chief Mager said, “We are not picking on homeless people but targeting those people who are disobeying the law.”

According to Chief Mager, there are 104 homeless in Delray Beach, and that number has been stable over the last few years.  The Chief mentioned that there are 16 chronic homeless persons that account for the majority of the complaints and crime.  These are the individuals the department is trying to get out of the city.

Chief Mager believes that the solution lies in the combination of Road Patrol, Delray’s Clean & Safe Program and Community Outreach Program.  He urges citizens with concerns to call the police at 561-243-7800.  Citizens should call the police with these complaints rather than direct them to other city officials.

Performance Review for City Manager Terrence Moore

On August 15, 2023, the Delray Beach City Commission discussed the performance review of Delray Beach City Manager Terrence Moore and voted unanimously to increase his salary by 4.1%.  The Delray Beach City Manager is responsible for overseeing various departments, managing budgets, and executing policies. Prior to Mr. Moore’s appointment, the city had gone through eight city managers in as many years.
Mr. Moore started his tenure with the city when he was unanimously appointed on June 8, 2021, at a salary of $230,000, considerably lower than his predecessor, who earned $265,000 annually.  Justifying the pay increase, Vice-Mayor Ryan Boylston praised Mr. Moore for his organizational and communication skills, and effectiveness in the community. Commissioner Adam Frankel noting that the City Manager cannot please everyone, stated that he believes Mr. Moore is “doing a damn good job trying to.”  Deputy Vice-Mayor Rob Long commended Mr. Moore for his professionalism, and Commissioner Angela Burns noted his commitment to “turning things around.”
Mayor Shelly Petrolia, unsurprisingly, disagreed with her colleagues, stating she did not see things the same way as there are areas “falling short.”
On a scale of 1-5, Mr. Moore was evaluated by each commission member on: 

  • Leadership, decision making and judgment.

  • Planning & organization

  • Budgeting & financial reporting

  • Responsiveness & dispute resolution

  • Interaction with city commission members (following directions, communication, availability).

  • Job knowledge, personnel management and ethics. 

At only 2+ years, Mr. Moore's tenure can actually be considered long by recent Delray Beach City Manager standards.  The instability at the top is considered to have negative consequences in many areas:  high turnover in city staff, overall, disruptions and delays in decision making, and failure to adhere to the city's comprehensive plan, which defines long-term objectives.  Establishing stability in senior leadership in Delray Beach was identified as a key priority in the recent municipal elections.  The favorable review of Terrence Moore appears to present an opportunity for the city to formalize this stability.

Towards that end, Deputy Vice-Mayor, Rob Long, suggested that the commission consider amending Delray’s pension ordinance as it relates to the vesting period for the City Manager and the City Attorney. He stated that benefits like that help Delray Beach retain good talent making the city competitive among other cities.
Mayor Shelly Petrolia stated, “We haven’t had an issue of retaining; we’ve released people from these two positions.”
Long says, regardless of why they left, the majority of this commission believes, "We have a City Manager doing a great job and a City Attorney that’s doing a great job. I would like to do everything we can do to retain them.” 
Vice-Mayor Boylston said, “It’s an extremely competitive market out there in both the private and the public sector.  At my own company we take a proactive approach, we don’t wait until we’re losing people. We address it proactively.”
There was a consensus to schedule a meeting with the city’s pension counsel to explore the issue in relationship to what other municipalities are doing.

Bookmark This!

Do you want a "go-to" resource for knowing the fun events happening in downtown Delray?   The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has the most complete and easy-to-read events calendar (this is the link to bookmark) for all the great happenings in our city.  The ever-popular Restaurant Month goes through the end of this month, so make sure you jump on some great dining deals while they last.

We use cookies to improve your experience and to help us understand how you use our site. Please refer to our cookie notice and privacy statement for more information regarding cookies and other third-party tracking that may be enabled.

Friends of Delray

Home | About Us | Stay Informed | Community | Podcast | Support | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

By providing your cell phone or mobile phone number you are consenting to receive texts, including autodialed and automated texts, to that number with campaign notifications from Friends of Delray, Inc. Recurring messages, msg & data rates may apply. Text message subscribers can reply STOP to opt out and reply HELP for Help. SMS data will not be sold, rented, or shared. See privacy policy and terms and conditions HERE. Contributions to Friends of Delray, Inc. are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

Intuit Mailchimp logo