By Agrippina Fadel
Does the Town of Tamarac grant free publicity to a commissioner during an election year?
Residents are calling Commissioner Mike Gelin’s four-page pamphlet inserted into the city’s TAM-A-GRAM “a piece of election propaganda,” questioning why taxpayer funds were used to publish and distribute it.
The brochure given to residents contains official city information and telephone numbers. Several people on The next door wondered if their tax money had paid for the flyer which “clearly cost over $1,000 to print.”
Kings Point resident Dorothy Schiller brought the pamphlet to the committee meeting on Wednesday and considers it campaign propaganda for Gelin, paid for by the town of Tamarac.
“On top of that, he fooled everyone. The flyer devotes an entire page to thanking the community for supporting Gelin as vice mayor. He looks like he did all the work last year,” said Schiller, adding that Gelin, whose term began on December 8, took credit for Commissioner Elvin Villalobos’ work as vice-mayor in 2021.
“It’s inappropriate and misleading – how are the commissioners getting away with it, and where’s the oversight?” Schiller said, reminding the committee that Gelin has a discretionary fund that he is allowed to use. However, in a similar situation, Villalobos sent valentine cards in February 2021 and was “severely lambasted” for “wasting taxpayers’ money”.
“So why is what’s good for the goose not good for sex?” Why does Gelin get away with it? she asked.
Schiller called Gelin’s pamphlet a “waste of taxpayers’ money” and a “misleading” attempt to promote the commissioner’s name ahead of the re-election campaign.
Gelin’s seat in District 2 will be on the ballots in November 2022.
Tamarac Talk has reached out to city staff for clarification on the funds used to pay for the brochure, but did not hear back at press time.
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Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and earned her master’s degree in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has resided in the United States for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.