The new Islamorada Council is sworn in on Dec. 6.

Five Islamorada council members raised their right hand as Monroe County Judge Sharon Hamilton swore them in to their seats to kick off the Dec. 6 meeting. A dwindling build permit supply, a lack of affordable housing, transportation and the future of the Fills are among the many issues the new dais will face heading into a busy 2023 in the village.

Incumbents Buddy Pinder, Henry Rosenthal and Mark Gregg return to the dais for a second term on the council following their victories on Election Night. Sharon Mahoney, a longtime resident and business owner, and Elizabeth Jolin, local fishing guide and former village Achievable Housing Advisory Committee member, join the dais for the first time following election wins against their opponents.

Following the swearing-in, the council went to work by selecting Buddy Pinder as mayor and Sharon Mahoney as vice mayor for the year. While the decision for mayor was unanimous, it didn’t go without some discussion. Councilman Mark Gregg issued his support for Pinder, who received the most votes of any candidate running for council. 

“I can tell you I’ve seen no one do a better job. He loves the job and is enthusiastic about it,” Gregg said. 

Rosenthal, who served the previous year as vice mayor, responded by nominating himself. In his remarks, Rosenthal said he’s qualified and would benefit from the title to bring progress on some village matters. 

“I have a great deal on my plate right now in order for me to be successful; this title is very important,” he said. “There’s nobody that can get it done quicker or better. This is my service not only to Islamorada but to the county as well.”

Council members voted 5-0 to bring Pinder back to the mayor’s seat and 5-0 to name Mahoney as vice mayor. 

Village Manager Ted Yates opened comments by welcoming the new council. 

“Elections are very, very difficult. They drain you physically, financially and emotionally,” he said. ”I congratulate you for enduring the storm and really looking forward to the next two years. I look forward to the opportunity and I know we’ll do a lot of great things.”

Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.