Post endorsements: In Greenacres, Pearce, Albert

If there ever was a time for Greenacres to put an end to years of tumult and divisiveness, this Tuesday is it.

For the first time in 29 years, this city of roughly 40,000 will have a new mayor. Sam Ferreri, who first came into that position at the tail end of the Reagan Administration, will not seek a 15th term. Miffed by the direction of the City Council in recent years — refer back to the aforementioned “tumult and divisiveness” — the 61-year-old says he’s had enough of the infighting.

That’s good. Because now maybe the council can get on with a more cohesive vision for where the city should be headed over the next 5 or 10 years.

Jonathan Pearce

But first, there is the matter of replacing Ferreri. The Post recommends current District 4 Councilman Jonathan Pearce. The source of much of Ferreri’s angst and ire the past several years, Pearce has a clear vision for where and how he’d like to lead the city. For the “how,” for example, he’ll immediately propose — as part of a charter review — limiting the mayor to four consecutive terms, or eight years. As for the “where,” he’d like to beef up the accreditation of the Fire-Rescue Services Department over the next two years and continue to add to an undermanned Code Enforcement Department to help bring along the older section of the city.

“We’re in good financial shape, and have good momentum,” Pearce said, adding that the city needs to capitalize with more projects like the new Nissan dealership coming to Lake Worth Road.

Pearce’s opponent, Joel Flores, agreed with the message of fiscal responsibility and economic development. The 35-year-old political newcomer said, however, the city has been hamstrung by “complete divisiveness and two groups going in opposite directions.”

“I want to bring the city together,” said Flores, who sits on the city Planning Commission, by implementing a visionary program for infrastructure improvement that would attract investors and business to the city.

We agree. But Pearce already has good working relationships in the city that put him in a much better position to make that happen.

Michael Albert

In the District 5 race, the Post recommends Michael D. Albert to replace incumbent Councilwoman Paula Bousquet. Albert, 35, said the city has to do a better job of communicating with residents so they can give more input on the direction of their city. “There needs to be a lot more listening and collaboration on the council,” he said.

He, Bousquet and a third candidate, retired Greenacres police officer William E. Kluth, pretty much agree on issues such as more annexation of parcels to the west, improving infrastructure with money from the penny sales tax hike and attracting business investment.

But Bousquet’s council experience also includes coming down on the wrong side of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office vote that has largely contributed to the divisive atmosphere.

It’s time to move on. Albert, associate director of Concord Law School and Kaplan University, will bring a much-needed perspective to the city council that focuses on young families. For example, he told the Post Editorial Board that park improvements are fine but investing in a water park for families with kids is better.

That kind of novel, innovative thinking will be useful on the council.

Palm Beach Post endorsements for the March 14 municipal elections will be posted online throughout this week on a city by city basis. They will be published in total in the Sunday, March 12, print edition.