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Date of Issue: June 09, 2010

More motions filed in Stoltzfus recall

Both sides in the push to recall Anna Maria Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus have submitted legal motions in the Manatee County Circuit Court and the state court of appeals.

Through his attorney, Richard Harrison, Stoltzfus filed May 24 for dismissal of the recall, as well as an accelerated hearing and a temporary injunction to halt the recall petition effort until a hearing could be scheduled. The accelerated hearing motion was denied by Circuit Court Judge Ed Nicholas.

On May 28, Harrison appealed Nicholas’ decision on the accelerated hearing to the Florida Second District Court of Appeals in Lakeland and again asked for an expedited hearing.

At the same time, Recall Commissioner Stoltzfus committee chair Bob Carter was filing his motion for dismissal of the Stoltzfus-Harrison May 24 motion.

Carter, along with Anna Maria City Clerk Alice Baird and Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Bob Sweat were named as co-defendants in Harrison’s May 24 dismissal motion.

Carter claimed that Stoltzfus has “not properly pled the request for injunctive relief,” because he has not alleged the “ultimate facts showing irreparable injury which cannot be cured by money damages.”

He noted, “Unless and until the second round of petition signatures is completed, it is unknown as to whether there will actually be a recall election.”

Stoltzfus will have “adequate opportunity” for a remedy at that time, and there is “no current emergency,” Carter alleged.

Carter said committee members have begun gathering signatures for the second petition. Stoltzfus was allowed to submit a defense statement, which he supplied May 28. The statute then requires a second petition be completed within 30 days of the submission of Stoltzfus’ statement.

According to the recall statute, the committee’s second petition needs the signatures of 15 percent (204) of the city’s 1,362 registered voters as of the Nov. 3, 2009, election. Those signatures must be certified by Sweat as eligible voters for the petition to be valid.

If the signatures are certified, the process outlined in the statute calls for Nicholas to then set a date for a recall election unless, according to Sweat, a temporary injunction is granted or the recall effort is dismissed by the court.

The committee needed signatures of 10 percent of the city’s eligible registered voters to complete the first petition and it obtained 247 signatures, but Sweat certified only 218.

As of June 7, the committee had about 80 signatures, one committee member said.

The deadline to obtain the 204 required signatures in the second petition is June 28.