A former Bradenton Beach city commissioner has formed a political committee with the goal to get petition signatures needed to recall embattled Mayor Bill Shearon from office.
The documents arrived Dec. 12 to the city clerk’s office, naming Pete Barreda, who served as commissioner from November 2003 to May 2004, as chair of the Committee to Recall William Shearon.
Shearon already was facing an effort by Vice Mayor Jack Clarke to force him from office. Now he may be facing a recall election as well.
“Bring it on,” the mayor said in defiance of the recall effort.
On Dec. 15, Barreda said, “Instead of all of the fighting and things that are going on, I think the easiest way to handle this is just to let the citizens decide one way or the other and then let our city move on with some normalcy and the way that we’d like to see our city operate. It’s as simple as that.”
Political action committees are well-known in politics, typically formed to mail literature to voters in support of causes.
A recall election is “a no-brainer,” Shearon said Dec. 8, adding that it would allow everyone to “see if they have the numbers to do it. Let the voters determine it.”
According to state law, to force a recall election petitions must first be signed by at least 100 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.
One hundred signatures is the committee’s target because there were 763 eligible voters in Bradenton Beach for the Nov. 4, 2014, election, according to a spokesperson for the office of Supervisor of Elections Michael Bennett.
Neither his office nor that of the Bradenton Beach city clerk received any recall petitions as of Dec. 12.
Shearon has struggled to fix some of the many problems he found in city government when he took office about 13 months ago. But since the forfeiture process began he repeatedly has said voters put him in office and voters, not commissioners, should have the final say on his tenure as mayor.
The drama surrounding the mayor and his detractors has seen more twists and turns than the roundabout on Gulf Drive. Shearon sued the city to stop commissioners from proceeding with the forfeiture process. His case is pending in the circuit court.
Meanwhile, after a Dec. 2 special meeting ended with no resolution, Clarke is expected to resume forfeiture proceedings against Shearon in January, when commissioners hire an attorney.
And now Barreda, a former elected official, also wants to oust Shearon.
Contacted Dec. 8, Commissioner Jan Vosburgh said she heard about the recall petition “but I have no details at all. I heard about that other times, too, and nothing happened. I’m not going to hold my breath.”
Clarke also said he has no knowledge of the recall effort. Like Shearon, he finds an election more suitable than forfeiture.
Removal of an elected official from office in Florida, via recall election, is rare. The removal of Anna Maria Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus in 2010 was the first-ever successful recall election in Manatee County and the first in the state since the 1970s, according to Bennett’s office.
According to state law, legitimate grounds for recall of elected officials include malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties and conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.