City Councilman Chris Cooper was defeated Tuesday by JoAnn Faiella to become the City of Port St. Lucia’s new mayor.
The buzz on the street was quite the opposite. Several local voters stated that Cooper was the only logical choice to carry the city through the current economic downturn.
“What has JoAnn Faiella done for our local economy, all I know is she was a paper pusher for the police department. Chris has been on the city council for years. He has been a part of the city government,” said one Port St. Lucie local.
In an election over shadowed by mounds of political bantering Faiella won with more than 55 percent of the vote.
Cooper, a Palm Beach County firefighter and two-term City Council member, ran on accomplishments made in the past eight years by the city officials, flaunting the creation of a biotech jobs corridor in Tradition and attracting the animation studio Digital Domain Holdings.
Late in the campaign, Cooper said, if elected, his first priority would be to merging the Police Department with the Sheriff’s Office. He said Sheriff Ken Mascara told him it could potentially save the city $12 million.
Cooper has not been quiet about his dissatisfaction with the police unions’ handling of contract negotiations and staging public protests denouncing council members. The unions have also made fun of the City Council members, by paying for a billboard near the Shell Bazaar on US. 1 with the council members dressed in Halloween costumes.
Faiella said her first priority as mayor would be to reinstate 24 police officers who were laid off Sept. 24 because of budget cuts. She also said she would champion moving the city away from a city manager/city council form of government to a strong mayor form of government.