Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

In Pembroke Park, elect Morrissett­e, stick with Dieuveille


All five seats on the Pembroke Park Town Commission are up for election, but commission­ers in districts 2 and 3 ran unopposed. District 1 is open; an incumbent is running again in District 4; and voters will decide whether a familiar face in District 5 should return to the commission. All districts are at large, so all city voters can vote in all three races.

This oddly shaped town of about 6,200 looks like dumbbell on a map and is referred to by that descriptio­n at Town Hall. The western portion is mostly townhomes and condos while the east, linked to the west by a thin strip along Hallandale Beach Boulevard, is mostly mobile home parks. The town is in for big change, especially as it moves away from the Broward Sheriff ’s Office to its own police department. That requires careful city oversight.

District 1

Two candidates applied, Erik Morrissett­e and Charisse Colon, but only Morrissett­e filled out our questionna­ire or participat­ed in our interview. Originally from Canada, Morrissett­e is now a U.S. citizen and has lived in Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom. That gives him a worldly view on issues important to Pembroke Park, such as undergroun­ding of power lines.

“If you want to see power cables on poles in Denmark, you’re going to have to go to [a museum], where they might have a row of them so people can see how it was in the old days,” he joked.

Morrissett­e, 66, is a section director of the Federation of Manufactur­ed Home Owners of Florida (FMO), which defends rights of mobile home park residents. That’s an asset for this eastern District 1 seat, where Morrissett­e and most of his neighbors live in mobile homes.

In his endorsemen­t interview, Morrissett­e also showed he’s willing to buck the desires of current commission­ers. He said it was a mistake for the city to hire as police chief David Howard, the same person who served the city as a consultant when putting together the proposal for the police department. Morrissett­e called that a conflict of interest, and Howard’s tenure as chief has unfortunat­ely become the subject of bad blood between he and other town officials, including a libel lawsuit filed by Howard on Feb. 9.

Colon lists her address as an RV park. Our background investigat­ion shows two arrests in the past six years for cocaine possession. For District 1, the Sun Sentinel endorses Erik Morrissett­e.

District 4

Commission­er Reynold “Rey” Dieuveille seeks a second term and is challenged by Musfika Kashem. Both candidates sent questionna­ires, but only Dieuveille participat­ed in our interview, as Kashem had to travel to her native Bangladesh.

From her questionna­ire, Kashem, 33, seems well-informed, citing harsh code enforcemen­t and few amenities as problems for the town. She also writes that the town has wasted tax dollars for years, and while it has had problems, Kashem’s criticism is misdirecte­d.

The Broward Inspector General’s Office released a damning 2018 report finding that “for 16 years, town officials engaged in gross mismanagem­ent and various forms of misconduct in the procuremen­t of profession­al engineerin­g services.” Dieuveille, elected in 2019, is part of the solution, not the problem.

Born in Haiti, Dieuveille, 42, works at a startup, Kitchen Robotics that, as the name suggests, is developing a robotic kitchen aide. He helped put together a portal on the town’s website so that residents can see how money is spent, an important reform. He’s leading the way to updating the town’s sewers and drainage in a town where flooding is a regular occurrence.

Between septic conversion, a new police department and straighten­ing out city finances, Dieuveille has his work cut out for him. We don’t always agree with him — like Morrissett­e, we question whether the police chief was the right hire.

Still, with his experience and proven ability to get things done, Dieuveille deserves another term.

For District 4, the Sun Sentinel endorses Rey Dieuveille.

District 5

Former Mayor Ashira Mohammed wants to return to the Town Commission after leaving to run for state House. Her questionna­ire shows she has far more experience than any other candidate in Pembroke Park. She was mayor from 20102019, and spent seven years on the commission before that.

She served throughout the misdeeds by town officials uncovered by the inspector general, and while not directly implicated, it’s inexplicab­le that a mayor with a law degree let all of this plundering go on unaware. In 2020, another Broward Inspector General report found Mohammed used town resources for herself in her state House campaign, but the state attorney could not prove she “willfully” broke the law.

We don’t believe Mohammed should serve again. Her opponent, Anthony Jackson, did not respond to our questionna­ire or interview request. His sparse campaign website offers little. In District 5, the Sun Sentinel makes no endorsemen­t.

Editorials are the opinion of the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board and written by one of its staff members or a designee. The Editorial Board consists of Editorial Page Editor Steve Bousquet, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Dan Sweeney and Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson.

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