NORTH PALM BEACH — Voters will go to the polls for the second time in two weeks Tuesday to elect a council member to the open Group 2 seat.
None of the five candidates running for the seat received a majority of the vote in the March 13 regular election, forcing a runoff between Susan Tiedemann Bickel and Doug Bush, the top two vote-getters.
Bush, 28, a businessman, received 44 percent of the vote, while Bickel, 43, a teacher, got 24 percent. Both are first-time candidates.
The winner of Tuesday's election will serve a one-year term in the seat vacated in January when T.R. Hernacki resigned.
Also in the field were attorney Joseph Tringali, 66, businessman Mark Mullinix, 44, and human resources director Aimee Mangold, 49.
Bickel has focused on schools and families during her campaign, but has voiced concern recently about two other issues important to residents.
"I've heard quite a bit recently about the millage rate being higher than our neighbors," she said, referring to the village's property tax rate of 6.97 mils. "That's something that certainly bears looking at, to either bring it more closely in line with what our neighbors are or lowering it if at all possible."
Bickel's other concern is a proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project that would bring about 38 acres of seagrass to a portion of the Lake Worth Lagoon known as Turtle Cove. Bickel opposes the project.
Bush, a pro-business candidate, hasn't strayed far from his original message of encouraging business growth in the village.
"People really loved it, and it resonated well with residents," he said. "I've constantly been in contact with the voters since the election, and I've just had tremendous support."
Incumbents Bob Gebbia (Group 1), Mayor Darryl Aubrey (Group 3) and Bill Manuel (Group 5) were reelected to two-year terms when no candidates opposed them.
North Palm Beach Village Council Group 2
Term: Expires March 12, 2013.
Salary: $9,000 annually.
Personal: 28. Married. No children.
Education: Bachelor's degree, political philosophy, Boston College.
Professional: Works for Bush Brothers Provisions, his family's 87-year-old West Palm Beach-based meat business.
Political: No prior elected office, but served as an aide to former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley from 2002-06.
Issues: Wants to encourage business growth in the village, particularly along the U.S. 1 corridor.
Susan Tiedemann Bickel
Personal: 43. Married. One child, two stepchildren.
Education: Bachelor's degree, history, Georgetown University; master's degree, education, University of Pennsylvania.
Professional: Has taught for 17 years, the past seven at The Benjamin School, where she is a third-grade teacher and science department coordinator.
Political: No prior elected office but has served for the past year on the village's planning commission.
Issues: Wants to improve services for families and children.