Term-limited Aaronson cannot seek another term on County Commission
By Burt Aaronson
The year is quickly coming to a close and the holidays are upon us.
Sheila, Marylou, Vivian, Meaghan and I wish you all a season of
peace and a happy New Year.
Many of you know already that term limits prevent me from seeking
another term as your County Commissioner. As I reflect on these
past two decades, I am amazed at the number of issues we have
tackled together. Each year brings its own set of challenges and I
can assure you that 2012 will be no different. One issue that I will be
focusing on in the upcoming year is unemployment as it relates to the
As the unemployment rate started rising and continues to grow, it
bothered me that many local hospitality industry businesses such as
country clubs were bringing in foreign workers through the Federal
H2B Visa Program. I began meeting with a number of country clubs
to address the issue of hiring foreign workers. Since that time the
unemployment has risen to over 10 percent and I am more eager
than ever to gradually reduce the number of foreign hired by the
I have spearheaded a collaborative effort with County staff, the
Workforce Alliance, the Country Clubs, and the Council of Presidents,
an organization of Country Club Presidents. I wanted the Clubs and
Workforce Alliance to commit to a four-year plan that would reduce
the number of H2B workers by 25 percent per year. They did and we
have set to work to fulfill this goal.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle is the lack of qualified workers available.
A recurring theme among responses from country clubs and golf
courses is that despite their desire to hire domestic workers, the
reality is that they cannot find or maintain them.
During a joint meeting between the County Commission and the
School Board, I suggested that a training partnership be created that
would provide a vehicle for those students that would be seeking a
job upon graduating from high school and not continuing on to higher
education. Now the School Board and the Tourist Development
Council have joined in our efforts to develop a “talent pipeline” by
way of training programs that will link local young people to jobs and
careers that are in demand.
I look forward to keeping you informed on this and many other topics
over the next year. As always, I invite your comments on any issue of
interest to you. As your Commissioner, I am here to help you. You
may write me at 301 N. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, 33401 or call
my staff at 276-1310 or toll free at 877-930-2205. My email address