Sentinel columnist Lauren Ritchie: committee seeks recall of mayor, three commissioners

Orlando Sentinel columnist Lauren Ritchie is reporting in today’s edition that two-time former city commission candidate Mike Howard has formed a committee “including several who sued the city last year” that plans to petition the recall of Mayor Chris Bell and commissioners Sharon Kelley, Al Goldberg and John Gunter.

They decided to leave out the fifth commissioner, Chris Cheshire, because he took office after many of the bad decisions resulting in lawsuits were made.

Ritchie reports the rules according to Lake County Supervisor of Elections Emogene Stegall—the group needs signatures from 250 registered voters within 30 days—that’s 10 percent of Fruitland Park’s 2,442 registered voters.

Each petition must allege one or more of of seven infractions for which commissioners can be recalled: malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties or conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.

At the end of the 30-day canvassing period the petitions will be submitted to City Clerk Esther Coulson, who forwards the petitions to Stegall’s office for verification.

The voting supervisor’s office then has 30 days to make sure signatures are legitimate, after which commissioners can file statements refuting the allegations. The recall committee then has 60 days to collect 367 voter signatures—15 percent of the electorate—to get a judge to set a date for a recall election.

It then takes a majority of voters to recall a commissioner.

We’ll report more on this story later today.


One Response to Sentinel columnist Lauren Ritchie: committee seeks recall of mayor, three commissioners

  1. David Wilkins Reply

    March 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Who in the world is Mike Howard? Politics used to be operated by a majority so candidates had to win to be part of the decision process. Now, any unhappy person with time on their hand can find 250 disgruntled citizens and force cities to pay for elections. Sad. Check out the state of Wisconsin as an example.

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