The new Coconut Grove Village Council, elected on November 7, 2017, held its first meeting Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, at Miami City Hall. Mayor Francis Suarez presided over the swearing-in of the nine councilmembers, and District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell was also on hand to welcome the group.

At the time of their swearing-in, the councilmembers were Johannah Brown, Rachel Cardello, Steve Dloogoff, Zachary Elliott, Marcelo Fernandes, Larissa Ozols, Hank Sanchez-Resnik, Thaddeus Scott, and Linda Williams. Dloogoff, Sanchez-Resnik, Scott, and Williams served on the previous Council. There were 15 candidates in this year’s race. The top nine were voted to serve for a four-year term. The Council meets once a month, and the public is encouraged to attend.

At the initial meeting, the group elected six officers: Marcelo Fernandes, Chair; Linda Williams, Vice Chair; Zachary Elliott, Secretary; Larissa Ozols, Treasurer; Thaddeus Scott, Sergeant-at-Arms; and Steve Dloogoff, Parliamentarian.

The main discussion item was the list of pressing community issues the new Council faces. As a first step in tackling it, the group agreed on four major priorities:

  • Gaining higher visibility in the community through both electronic and personal communication, including regular participation in key local meetings.
  • Continuous organizational improvement, including budgeting and funding for the Council’s activities.
  • A focus on housing and zoning, including the current process for revising the Neighborhood Conservation District zoning overlay for Coconut Grove.
  • Transportation—roadways, parking, bicycling, pedestrian safety, and related matters.

“These priorities will drive our work for a while,” said Fernandes. “We’ll be working closely with the Business Improvement District, the Chamber of Commerce, Grove 2030, Village West, and all the residents, business owners, and grassroots organizations that make Coconut Grove such a thriving, vital community.”

In subsequent months, two of the council members, Johanna Brown and Zachary Elliott, resigned. They were replaced by the next-highest vote-getters: Courtney Omega and Sacha Dubearn. Larissa Ozols took the position of secretary, and Rachel Cardello took the position of treasurer.

council swearing-in

The first meeting of the new Coconut Grove Village Council. Seated at table, clockwise from front: Steve Dloogoff, Linda Williams, Marcelo Fernandes, Zachary Elliott, Rachel Cardello, Hank Sanchez-Resnik, Larissa Ozols, Johannah Brown. Not shown, Thaddeus Scott.