Harry Stoltzfus recall, Anna Maria, Florida (2010)
The recall effort began in earnest in April 2010. On May 14, recall supporters gave election officials a petition with 247 signatures in order to force a recall election. Stolfzfus was one of five commissioners on the city commission. If he had not been recalled, his seat would have been up for re-election in November 2010.
Stoltzfus recall question
- In favor of the recall: 362 votes
- Opposed to the recall: 331 votes.
To fill newly vacant seat
- Gene Aubry: 363 votes
- Harry Stoltzfus: 333 votes.
Gene Aubry was sworn in as a city commissioner at 9am on Sept 22, 2010 to fill the seat that Stoltzfus was recalled from.
Supporters of the recall
Anna Maria resident Bob Carter was a leader with the "Recall Harry Stoltzfus Committee", which was set up to begin collecting signatures to force a recall vote on April 22, 2010. According to Carter, Stoltzfus should be removed by the voters of the city for "malfeasance and misfeasance." Specifically, according to Carter, "Public record evidence that Stoltzfus violated the Government-In-The Sunshine Law by holding electronic meetings and using liaisons to discuss public business which has not been advertised to the public." This public record is from email conversations between Mr. Stoltzfus and others in the community.....these emails were submitted by Mr. Stoltzfus himself.
On June 11, 2010 the Florida Ethics Commission dismissed a related ethics complaint filed against Mr. Stoltzfus..
Path to the ballot
10% of Anna Maria's registered voters had to sign a recall petition for a recall election to be forced. The signatures had to be collected in a 30-day period from the time that the first signature is turned into the city's clerk.
Once signatures are submitted:
- The Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office had another 30 days to verify all the signatures as registered voters in Anna Maria.
- Stoltzfus then had five days to submit a 200-word defense statement answering the charges on the petition.
- Carter then had 60 days to gather signatures from 15% of the registered voters in the city on a second petition that included Stoltzfus’ defense statement.
- Once those signatures were verified, the September 7, 2010 recall election date was set.
In late May, an attorney for Stoltzfus asked a 12th Circuit Court judge Monday to accelerate his ruling on a delay or stop of a recall vote.
The judge declined to expedite his decison but held a hearing on August 12, 2010 and considered nearly three hours of argument from respective counsel for Stoltzfus and Carter. The judge has not yet issued a ruling as of August 18, 2010 at 3p.m.
All attempts made by Mr. Stoltzfus to stop the recall election were denied by the District Court judge and respective Appellate court. In all instances the judges concluded that the recall petition was legal and met all criteria for a recall election.
A special election was held on Sept.7 2010 for voters to decide whether to recall Harry Stoltzfus and who would fill the spot if he was recalled. Harry Stoltzfus and Gene Aubry were both certified to run for the open seat if the recall was successful.
- Bradenton.Com, "Date set for recall election in Anna Maria", July 16, 2010
- Bradenton Herald, "Stoltzfus recalled in Anna Maria", September 13, 2010
- Bradenton.Com, "Committee forms to recall Anna Maria commissioner", April 16, 2010
- Bradenton.Com, "Recall petitions against island official turned in", May 15, 2010
- Bradenton, "Anna Maria commissioner asks judge to delay recall", May 25, 2010
- Bradenton, "Island official files response to recall petition", May 29, 2010
- Anna Maria candidates have choice to make
- Lawyer seeks Anna Maria recall delay
- [http://www.bradenton.com/2010/09/04/2552152/judge-anna-maria-recall-election.html Judge: Anna Maria recall election results to be sealed
- Anna Maria voters go to polls for recall
- Court rules vote in Anna Maria recall can be certified
- Anna Maria certifies recall election results
- Anna Maria recall saga complete