In her first state-of-the-town address on Friday, Mayor Danielle Moore tipped her hat to public safety leaders for keeping residents safe by rising to face the challenges of the global Covid-19 outbreak.
Moore looked back over a year that was also marked by political upheaval on the national scale.
“We are at the tail end of what has surely been the worst year of our lives, a deadly pandemic compounded by political divisiveness and unprecedented violence,” she said. “In Palm Beach, however, we have been very fortunate – I would argue, less a matter of luck than the result of dogged determination and hard work.”
Moore delivered her speech at the Palm Beach Civic Association’s annual meeting, which members viewed virtually. The event was sponsored by Palm Beach Island Hospice Foundation.
A former town councilwoman and council president, Moore was nominated without opposition at the Town Caucus in January to become mayor upon the retirement of Gail Coniglio.
Coniglio was recognized Friday by Civic Association Chairman and CEO Bob Wright for her many accomplishments during 10 years in the town’s highest elective office.
Coniglio oversaw the renovation of Town Hall Square, the opening of the new Mandel Recreation Center, the launch of the island-wide initiative to bury all overhead utility lines, and the demolition of the town docks to make way for an all-new Town Marina scheduled to open in the fall.
She also forged strong partnerships with the state and federal governments and secured millions of dollars in federal aid for coastal protection.
“Gail ensured that our beaches and finances were left healthier than she found them,” Wright said.
The Civic Association gave Coniglio a telescope in thanks for her years of service. Civic Association President Mary Robosson said the telescope was “to chart Gail’s next course, as she has been a shiny star to our community as mayor.”
“I’m very grateful, and grateful for the partnership I’ve had with you,” Coniglio told Civic Association leaders.
In her speech, Moore thanked Coniglio for her grace and wisdom, and for leading the town as it made great strides in coastal protection, one of her signature accomplishments.
“She leaves me with big shoes to fill – literally giant footsteps in the sand that she has worked so diligently to get for our town,” Moore said.
The Civic Association gave its 2020 Town Beautification Award to the Garden Club of Palm Beach and to SMI Landscape Architecture for creating the new tidal garden at Bradley Park. The Garden Club donated the funds for the tidal garden, and SMI provided the design.
The Wright Award for Outstanding Leadership was given to Fire-Rescue Chief Darrel Donatto and Fire-Rescue Division Chief Sean Baker for their leadership in protecting the public well-being during the pandemic.
Moore praised Donatto and Baker, and the town’s entire public safety operation, for their expertise and hard work during trying times.
Covid-19 disease has claimed the lives of 13 town residents, Moore said. But the town saved many lives by mounting a vigorous public health safety campaign and by vaccinating 1,300 residents to date, she said.
“Losing 13 residents and friends to Covid-19 was indeed tragic, but without our incredible team of town employees, the results could have been exponentially worse,” she said.
At the meeting, the Civic Association presented a “2020-21 season in review” video that can be viewed by clicking on this link: https://palmbeachcivic.org/palm-beach-civic-association-2020-2021-season-in-review/