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Our Town by William Kelly: John Randolph retires as town attorney

John “Skip” Randolph is stepping down as Palm Beach’s town attorney after 44 years at the post.

Mayor Danielle Moore announced at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting that Randolph would be leaving at the end of this month. She thanked Randolph for his decades of service.

Since becoming town attorney in September 1979, Randolph has provided legal counsel to 49 elected officials, seven mayors, six town managers and countless staff in Palm Beach, Moore said.

Palm Beach has for decades relied on Randolph for his deep institutional knowledge, loyalty and trusted advice, Moore and council members said.

“Skip has provided all the elected officials with wise legal counsel and has served the people of our community with great integrity and forethought,” Moore said.

Randolph is a land use and governmental attorney with the West Palm Beach law firm Jones Foster. He has also served as attorney for the towns of Gulfstream and Jupiter Island. He will be succeeded as Palm Beach’s town attorney by Joanne O’Connor of Jones Foster.

Randolph is also chairman and founder of the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians & Jews and a married father of three adult children and grandchildren.

He told Moore and council members that he is retiring as Palm Beach’s town attorney “somewhat reluctantly.”

“I enjoyed so much these 44 years working with you and with the staff and the residents so, although it is with reluctance, it’s time,” he said. “It’s time to spend more time with my family and doing things for the community and it’s time to smell the roses.”

Council President Margaret Zeidman thanked Randolph for his wisdom and loyalty.

“You have been an immeasurable help to me,” said Zeidman, who is vice chairwoman of the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians & Jews. “You have been a trusted and reliable friend.”

Councilwoman Bobbie Lindsay said she has long appreciated Randolph’s calm demeanor and “tremendous” institutional knowledge.

“Not only are you excellent at your trade, you are also a wonderful human being and that is important to this town,” Lindsay said.

Councilman Lew Crampton said Randolph reached the top of his profession in terms of awards and recognition from the Florida Bar. But he said Randolph’s stature reaches even higher than that.

“You have developed a moral authority in this town via your leadership of the Christians and Jews organization,” he told Randolph. “You have a wonderful family. You have created an environment here that I know Joanne [O’Connor] will continue to perpetuate. Our town is all the better for your having served it.”

Over the years, Randolph has received many awards, including the Florida Bar City, County and Local Government Section’s Ralph A. Marsicano Award and the Paul S. Buchman Award for Municipal Attorney of the Year. He also has been named to The Best Lawyers in America list for Municipal Law and Municipal Litigation.

Randolph received a standing ovation following Tuesday’s announcement. But Moore told Randolph that the town isn’t through honoring him yet.

“You will never be far from our thoughts and prayers, and we know we will see you again next month, as Maggie [Zeidman] and I have a plan for you,” she said.

 

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