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Date of Issue: July 17, 2010

Judges orders Stoltzfus recall vote Sept. 7

Voters in Anna Maria will decide Sept.7 whether to keep Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus in office, or recall him under the provisions of Florida’s recall statute.

Chief Judge Lee Haworth of the 12th Judicial Circuit Court today set Sept. 7 as the date for the recall election after receiving and accepting the Recall Commissioner Stoltzfus petition from Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Bob Sweat.

Sweat last week certified the recall petition signed by 259 registered Anna Maria voters and submitted by Bob Carter, chair of the Recall Stoltzfus Committee. The committee needed 204 signatures for a valid petition.

At the same time as the recall election, Anna Maria voters will have a choice for commissioner on the ballot, in the event Stoltzfus is recalled and does not complete his term, which expires in November 2011.

Florida statutes allow candidates to run for election to the commission seat held by Stoltzfus in the same recall election. Haworth said the qualifying period for those candidates is from 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 21, to noon on Friday, July 30. Qualifying packets are available at Anna Maria City Hall.

In the event the Sept. 7 vote does not approve Stoltzfus’ recall, the election of a replacement would be a moot point, Sweat said.

Haworth cautioned that he might have to amend his order because of two cases involving Stoltzfus presently awaiting hearings in the Manatee County Circuit Court.

Judge Ed Nicholas is presiding in both cases, and Haworth ordered Nicholas to “promptly” provide him with a copy of any decision.

The two cases are Barfield v. Stoltzfus, a public records request issue, and Stoltzfus v. Carter.

In the latter case, Stoltzfus has challenged the legality of the recall petition and attorney Richard Harrison, representing Stoltzfus, has claimed no recall election can be held until Nicholas rules on the motion.