Mayor Thomas A. Masters is in his fifth term as mayor of
the City of Riviera Beach. Re-elected three times to the non-voting
position, most recently after capturing an overwhelming majority in a
three-way race for his seat in March 2013, the mayor commands a powerful
platform. A representative of the entire city, Masters ensures the
voice of every resident is heard through the Office of the Mayor always
declaring “Let the People Speak”. Having served 20+ years as a
community activist on the pacific coast, the Pasadena, California native
came to Florida in 1987 to serve as pastor of the New Macedonia Baptist
Church in Riviera Beach.
Mayor Bishop Masters’ community activism is long-lived and
started with his religious faith. Formerly known as the “Wonder Boy
Preacher”, Bishop Thomas Masters began preaching at age four, became a
licensed minister at age 9 and was ordained at age 12, taking God’s
message to the masses worldwide.
Mayor Masters is proud of his many accomplishments during
the past eight years of service to City residents, however, the one that
is most dear to his heart is the ‘Riviera Beach Senior Discount
Program’ which some believe could save the elderly community an
estimated $1.2 Million dollars. This initiative is the result of the
Mayor personally galvanizing more than 100 City businesses to give the
4600 residents, age 62 and older, a 10 to 50 percent discount on
products and services.
Mayor Masters explains “these discounts will help ease some
of the economic hardships seniors endure while living on fixed incomes,
struggles that he personally witnessed with his own aging mother, Dr.
Isabell Masters, until her death in 2012.
Another heart felt mission accomplished by Mayor Masters is
the creation of the Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) within the Riviera
Beach Office of the Mayor. Touched by the plight of our military
service men and women returning home to the City from fighting and
protecting us abroad, Mayor Masters sought to do something tangible to
advocate and assist veterans and their immediate family in obtaining
earned veteran services and benefits.
MOVA serves as a clearinghouse for providing information and
maintaining partnerships with county, state, national organizations and
federal agencies providing assistance to veterans. The Mayor’s Office
of Veterans Affairs is manned by veteran volunteers in the Mayor’s
office and is opened Wednesdays from 9:30am to 12:00pm.
This month, Mayor Masters was the only elected official from
Palm Beach County to travel to Turkey as part of a special 15-member
Florida delegation of mayors, commissioners, college presidents and
state legislators invited to address that country’s largest business
association at the International Davraz Congress. As a result of the
Turkey trip, the mayor and Palm Beach State College president, Dr.
Dennis Gallon, inked a historic agreement offering Riviera Beach
residents more opportunity to further their education. Dr. Gallon
joined Mayor Masters in sponsoring the city’s first ‘Riviera Beach Day’
at the college where thousands of city students have attended over the
past 25 years.
Following the mayor’s recent trips to Equatorial, Guinea and
China, and having been elected Vice President of Tourism for the World
Conference of Mayors, Mayor Masters now confers with government
officials, corporate leaders and investors from around the world
regarding global issues and of course, promoting education, job
creation, and business development in Riviera Beach. Mayor Masters has
also led the city council in establishing sister-city relationships with
Freeport, Bahamas, Isparta, Turkey and Kunming City, China, where he
was a VIP guest to the 5th Global Outsourcing Summit in 2012.
Known as the ‘Jobs Mayor’, focused on putting people back to
work, Masters organized an Ex-felon Jobs Fair where more than 700
people came hoping for a second chance at sustainable employment. From
that, Mayor Masters started the only weekly, Faith-based and Non-Profit
‘Jobs Club’ in the State. As a result of his efforts and aggressive
outreach to the City’s major employers, hundreds of unemployed and
under-employed individuals, including ex-felons, have found gainful
employment in and around Riviera Beach, and across Palm Beach County.
His efforts to limit sentencing for young offenders, pushing juvenile
justice issues took him all the way to Rome for a personal meeting with
the late Pope John Paul.
Mayor Masters has empowered residents to fight crime in
their neighborhoods, obtained college scholarships for City students and
brought local health care experts together to brainstorm on ways to
fight negative health and lifestyle issues.
This mayor’s activism is not limited to the city of Riviera
Beach or even to the United States of America. When the Haiti earthquake
shook the very foundation of the country in 2010, Mayor Masters led
recovery efforts and organized two flights filled with 32,000+ pounds of
food and medical supplies, and 65 doctors and nurses, an effort which
saved thousands of lives in Haiti.
As Mayor, Thomas Masters likes to say, he has been able to
“turn advocacy into policy”. To that end, he led the creation of a city
teen curfew, forbidding teenagers under 18 years old from being on the
streets of Riviera Beach after 11:00pm weekdays and by midnight on
Weekends unless accompanied by an adult. As a result of this ordinance
in 2011, not one underage child has been shot or killed during curfew
hours. Mayor Masters also led the charge for the passing of a citywide
ordinance in 2009 that made wearing “Saggy Pants In Public” illegal. The
ordinance passed by nearly 75% of the voting electorate.
He is the City’s liaison to the Riviera Beach Education
Advisory Board, and a member of both the U.S. Conference of Mayors and
the National Conference of Black Mayors.