FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Broward County has a new Mayor and Vice Mayor.
On Tuesday, county commissioners selected Steve Geller as Mayor, he’ll replace Dale Holness. Michael Udine was tapped to be Vice Mayor, he replaces Geller.
In his inauguration speech, Geller addressed the rising number of new COVID infections in the county.
“Our COVID-19 positive test numbers are bad and getting worse. Our three-day average trend line is over 8%, and disturbingly, the two-week average has risen consistently. It’s clear that the worst is yet to come, and that’s without what we know will be the super-spreader events of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s,” he said.
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Geller said it was clear to him that by early January, the numbers will be above 10 percent.
“Until we get the vaccines distributed, there are only two ways to fight COVID, masks and shutdowns. I hope that now that the Presidential election is over, that we can understand that a mask is a medical device designed to protect people’s lives and health. It’s not a political statement. I find it ironic that many of the people that complain the loudest about refusing to wear masks also complain loudly about shutting down businesses,” he said. “I hope that if we strongly enforce mandatory mask ordinances, that we can avoid additional business shutdowns.”
One of Geller’s first actions as Mayor was to send a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis requesting a statewide mask mandate. It also asked the governor to rescind the suspension of fines for not wearing a mask.
Previously, Geller had contacted the Office of County Attorney about mask enforcement. They replied that “we continue to be of the opinion that people do not have a constitutional right not to wear a facial covering outside of their home during the pendency of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In terms of other business, Geller, who is a supporter of unions and organized labor, said plans to form a Mayor’s Labor Council.
“The single biggest thing that I want to concentrate my time on is bringing more high paid jobs to Broward County. I’ve been working towards this during much of my tenure on the Commission, and I hope to use my Mayorship to strengthen this area,” he said.
Geller said he also plans to address affordable housing, rising seawater that impacts the county’s coastal cities, and support more cultural activities including theater, museums, art, music, dance, and festivals which draw people to the county.