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Steve Geller Sworn In As New Broward County Mayor

Joe Cavaretta
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Steve Geller was sworn in as Broward County mayor Tuesday.

The Broward County commission swore in a new mayor and vice mayor yesterday.

The Broward County commission swore in a new mayor and vice mayor yesterday.

Outgoing mayor Dale Holness gave a state of the county address.

Holness chronicled the county’s journey through the pandemic. Starting with economic growth last November, to the shutdown on March 13 and beyond.

“It was unprecedented and disturbing. We were battling an unknown enemy, one we could not see and predict,” Holness said.

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Holness said Broward is currently on the road to recovery, as plans for expansion and growth have managed to continue amid the pandemic.

“COVID-19 taught us a lot, most notably that we are all connected. No matter what your race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status — the coronavirus does not discriminate. It knows no boundaries, and unfortunately, it’s not over yet,” he said.

Steve Geller was chosen unanimously by the commission to be mayor. Michael Udine was chosen as vice mayor.

Geller addressed the increasing COVID-19 positivity rates and sayid that masks work.

“I hope that now that the presidential election is over, we can understand that this is a medical device designed to protect people’s lives and health. It’s not a political statement,” Geller said.

The newly-appointed mayor said that he sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis requesting a statewide mask mandate as the only alternative to a larger shutdown. In the letter, he also asked the governor to withdraw section four of Executive Order 20-244.

It “suspends the collection of fines and penalties associated with COVID-19 enforced upon individuals.” Geller said this has been widely misinterpreted as preventing local governments from requiring mask wearing.

“Let me repeat, that the order does not prevent Broward and our municipalities from fining people or requiring masks. It merely postpones our ability to collect these fines,” he said.

Besides COVID-19, the single biggest thing Geller wants to concentrate on is bringing higher-paying jobs to Broward.

Some of his ideas include better publicizing the research jobs offered by universities throughout South Florida, helping small businesses grow, incentivizing filmmakers to come to Florida and Broward and building the presence of union and trade jobs in Broward.

“Frequently companies come to Broward and ask for incentives and tout the number of workers they’ll employ. What I care about is the quality of the jobs that they’ll create,” he said.