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Three applicants seek seat on Shores Town Council


The Indian River Shores Town Council has three solid, qualified applicants to choose from when members convene on April 26 to select a replacement to serve out the balance of Brian Barefoot’s term until 2020, but one name stands out as a favorite.

The town would be hard-pressed to find a more fitting person to continue Mayor Barefoot’s legacy than Thomas Slater.

Former Councilman “Tom” Slater served one four-year term, but did not seek re-election in November 2016 due to serious health issues. Sad to see him go, the whole town and the council pulled for Slater to bounce back and fortunately he has. A long-time John’s Island resident, Slater stated in the application he submitted to the town that “now health is excellent and can serve properly.”

In 2013 in one of the Shores’ few contested elections, Slater was the top vote-getter without really trying – he spent a whopping $45 on his campaign – and promised a thoughtful and deliberate approach to governing the Shores and being attuned to the wants and needs of the residents. He more than delivered once elected.

While on the council, Slater was known to be fair, and not afraid to cast a vote on the opposite side of his friends on the council if he felt it was the right course of action.

After stepping aside, Slater continued to attend periodic council meetings, and to keep up with major issues. He is graduate of Harvard University’s Small Business Program and a retired CEO and while on council was known as a classy guy who was accessible, and who treated all people with respect, be they low-ranking town employees or influential Shores residents.

Slater’s appointment would also preserve the unwritten, yet long-standing tradition of having three out of five council members hail from John’s Island. With the community such a large part of the population and tax base of the Shores – numbering 1,380 properties in a town of about 4,000 people – a three-vote majority of John’s Island resident-members on the council protects their interests, even if many property owners are seasonal and cannot vote in town elections.

Among the other two applicants is consultant and certified court mediator Linda Bolton, who ran for town council in March 2016 but lost to Michael Ochsner and Richard Haverland in a race that had two seats up for grabs. Among her experience, the Indian Trails resident has served in leadership with the Indian River Neighborhood Association and on the Wellington Village Council before moving to Indian River Shores, and now serves on the Planning Zoning and Variance Board.

When running for office, Bolton described herself as a “conservative Democrat” and she touts her ability to negotiate workable solutions, citing her record for settling 90 percent of the cases presented to her as a mediator in the 19th Circuit in 2017. On her application, Bolton says she’s applying “to preserve and protect the natural beauty, public safety and environmental leadership of Indian River Shores.”

In the past, she has expressed strong opinions in opposition to plans for the two-story office building slated for the Spectrum site, and in favor of preserving the historic beach access for Pebble Bay and other residents across the Town’s former five-acre oceanside lot at the southern end of the Shores.

Retired attorney Brian Foley is the relative newcomer among the applicants. A full-time resident of Pebble Bay for four years and property owner for 12 years, Foley states that he’s licensed to practice law in Florida, New York and Connecticut and prior to 2016 was vice president and general counsel for Princeton, New Jersey-based Tri Strata Company Inc., a global distributor of dermatology and skin care products, and prior to that he was managing partner at a boutique law firm.

His curriculum vitae includes attendance at the West Point Military Academy, substantial nonprofit work, and experience as chairman of the board for the prestigious Westchester Country Club. Foley says he wishes to serve “to continue the outstanding leadership role the Town Council has played in protecting the vital interests of the Indian River Shores community.”

For a while, there was a fourth candidate – Marbrisa resident Chris Hendricks, a certified public accountant and internal auditor.  Hendricks, who heads the town’s Planning Zoning and Variance Board, has also served on the Shores Finance Committee and could have added to the substantial financial expertise already on the town council.

But Hendricks withdrew on Monday, and with chief building official Jose Guanch announcing his departure effective Oct. 1 to take a job with Indian River County, and the Shores now seeking a new professional for that post, Hendricks’ steady leadership on the planning and zoning board might be more important than ever this coming year.

Council members are reviewing applications and individually contacting or interviewing the candidates to replace Barefoot, who said he’s stepping down because it’s an opportune time with the Vero electric sale on the right track and the controversial cell tower finally up on town property. The meeting to select Barefoot’s replacement, and to elect a new mayor and vice mayor, will begin at 9 a.m. on April 26 in council chambers at the Shores Town Hall.

Barefoot will not get to vote on his replacement.