Oakland Park vice mayor resigns
Open letter to the community from Vice Mayor Anthony Niediwiecki:
I am happy and excited to report that I have been offered and I have accepted a high level administrative and faculty position at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. My position will put me in charge of one of the best legal skills program in the nation, as it was recently ranked number 4 by US News and World Report. I am very fortunate to have received what I consider one of the best jobs in my field so early in my career. For me, my husband, and our professional growth, we had no choice but to accept this great opportunity. This provides me with the necessary security and growth that I didn’t have with my job at Nova, and it provides my husband Waymon with many more opportunities for his work on national LGBT rights. Other than the cold winters, this is a perfect fit for us.
The obvious sad part of this is that I will leave one of the greatest jobs I have ever had—working as a city commissioner here in Oakland Park. As such, I will have to resign my position effective June 1, 2010. I timed my announcement early to minimize the impact on the city. This announcement gives the city plenty of time to deal with finding a replacement for my commissioner seat and allows the election to fill that vacancy to coincide with another election.
I just want to say that I have been very fortunate to have been given a chance to help lead this city during some exciting and sometimes difficult times. Since being elected, we have accomplished so much together and I know that this city will continue to move forward. In just the past year, we have improved our communication with our residents by passing the neighborhood notification ordinance. We have strengthened our hotel ordinance with the goal of improving our city’s image and making sure that we are working toward better development and businesses in the city. We have put forward aggressive plans for improving our economic development in the downtown area and across the city. We did this by amending our zoning in the downtown area, reevaluating the zoning on Commercial Blvd and Powerline, assigning one planner for each part of town, and creating a business and economic development director position. We have taken great steps in making people know that we are open for business. We also have tackled a difficult budget year while even lowering one of our major fees, the waste disposal fee and assessment, something no other city in this county was able to do. In fact, a recent study suggests that we are the third leanest government in all of Broward County.
But very personally, I am very proud that I was able to continue to fight for the equality of all. I am so proud of this commission for making numerous statements supporting the diversity in this community, including reaching out to those underrepresented communities during our census count, celebrating gay pride in our city, expanding protections for our transgender brothers and sisters, asking the president and Congress to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, pushing to overturn the ban on adoptions by gay and lesbian individuals, and celebrating the different languages that are spoken in our city.
Most importantly, we have set the city on a path toward success. I also have to say that after serving this city, I honestly believe that it is truly moving forward, and I know that our community will maintain this move in the right direction.
I entered government as a community activist, fighting for equality and fighting to improve our city. I feel fortunate to have been able to take that fight to this dais, and I know that there are many new activists in town waiting to sit up here. As this commission decides how to find a replacement, I hope you look for someone that shares our values and goals in making this a great city that is on the move. We need to foster and support new faces and new ideas. Most importantly, we need to make sure that all of our residents and businesses are heard in the process. I would like to ask the city clerk and city manager to place on the next agenda an item to discuss the process of finding a replacement in June.
I will have many opportunities over the next two months to do this, but I wanted to say a couple of thanks. Thank you Mayor and commissioners for welcoming me on this dais. You have been a joy to work with. I want to thank every employee of this city, from John Stunson and his staff to everyone who works in this great city. Your support and hard work have made my job so much easier and much more joyful that I ever expected. I know the residents and I are so proud that you are here for us. And I really want to thank DJ for all of his help and guidance over the year. Most of all, I want to thank all of the residents for your support and help in moving our agenda forward. I have made so many friends, and I will cherish these times forever. Finally, I need to thank my husband Waymon for all of his support over the past several years. The city has taken me away from him a lot, but he has been a solid rock for me. To all of you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
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