This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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Monday night, in the Auditorium of the 6500 Building on Congress, City Council met to review the processes for filling the vacant and soon to be vacant seats on the Council. The room was packed, standing room only, with many of Boca’s most recognizable faces intently focused on the process discussion.
The objective of this meeting was to review and understand the process and procedures related to filling the vacancy created by the suspension of Susan Haynie from the position of Mayor of Boca Raton.
The suspension was ordered by Florida Governor Rick Scott with Executive Order 18-123 on April 27, 2018.
Many residents attended the meeting to hear:
- A review of relevant Florida State Statutes and Boca Raton City Charter provisions by City Attorney Diana Frieser
- Comments and questions from Acting Mayor Scott Singer and City Council Members Monica Mayotte, Andera O’Rourke and Jeremy Rodgers
- Public comments and questions
- City Council Member and City Attorney responses to public comments and questions
The process outlined by the City Attorney is that Susan Haynie is suspended from office as articulated in the Executive Order referenced above. She will remain suspended until such time as she is found guilty of at least one felony charge or innocent of all felony charges. If found guilty, she will be removed from office and if she is found innocent she will be reinstated to office.
While the above scenario is playing out, the City Council will be undergoing short and long-term changes. In the short term, Scott Singer becomes Acting Mayor and leaves City Council Seat A vacant. The four current City Council members must appoint a resident to fill Seat A until a special election is held. Residents are encouraged to submit recommendations of qualified people to fill Seat A.
City Charter calls for a special election to elect a Mayor to serve out the current mayoral term, which ends in 2020 and also elect a resident to serve out the remainder of Seat A’s current term, which also is 2020. The current City Council members must decide on a date for the special election. Feasible options for the date include August 28, 2018 which is also the date for the Primary Election and November 6, 2018 which is the date for the General Election.
The above items will be topics for discussion and decision-making at the next regular City Council meeting schedule for May 8, 2018 at 6:00PM.
Jim, the way I heard it was that if the suspended mayor is found guilty of any of the charges (felony or misdemeanor), she would be removed. Florida Statutes 112.51(5): “If the municipal official is convicted of any of the charges contained in the indictment or information by reason of which he or she was suspended under the provisions of this section, the Governor shall remove such municipal official from office.”
Thanks Joanne, good point. I was just using Governor Scott’s suspension order where the misdemeanors are not listed, only the four felonies. The sentence you reference does seem to mean removal if convicted of any of the felonies or misdemeanors.
Uh ho, the fix might be in. On January 25, 2018 Governor Scott issued an Executive Order suspending Joy Cooper from the position of Mayor of Hallandale Beach, FL The Cooper EO references felonies and misdemeanors; whereas the Haynie EO references only felonies. So what might be shaping up is that Haynie pleas away the felonies to avoid prison, but is convicted of the misdemeanors and, therefore, is removed from office.
Haynie’s arraignment is currently scheduled for May 24th.
The difference between the two EOs is really interesting…
An August election short changes the “Snow Bird” participation. Everyone knows how the population swells by October/November,
My VOTE is for the November date.
PS: I’m a Snow Bird and I would like to vote.
Hello Michael, If the final decision is August, you can vote absentee by contacting the Supervisor of Elections office for a ballot. Hope to see you when you return. Al Zucaro
Michael, Al is right, you can vote by mail. Not just for this election, but for all of them. It’s the easiest way to vote – from your living room. I also find it’s valuable because I can research an issue while I’m marking my ballot, which can’t be done in a physical voting booth.