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Patricia Atkins-Grad recall, Tamarac, Florida (2013)

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A vote about whether to recall Patricia Atkins-Grad from her position as city commissioner for the 2nd District of Tamarac, Florida was launched in 2013. Atkins-Grad resigned from her position in September 2013. She blamed health raises for the decision.[1] [2]

Background

In 2010 Atkins-Grad was charged with, and later acquitted of, eight felony counts, including accepting bribes from a local developer in exchange for her vote on particular building projects. Despite her acquittal, because of her defense of being "politically naive," some local residents still felt Atkins-Grad needed to leave office and started the recall effort.[3][4]

Legal issues

In May, while recall supporters were gathering signatures, Atkins-Grad filed a lawsuit to try and stop the effort under claims it violated multiple state laws. That lawsuit was dismissed by circuit court judge Michael Gates on July 3. Atkins-Grad then filed an appeal on July 11, but her motion was denied by the 4th District Court of Appeals.[3][4][5][6]

Water incident

In early August, Atkins-Grad was accused of battery by a recall supporter after she allegedly doused him with a bottle of water at a public event because he was wearing a "Recall Atkins-Grad" t-shirt. Local prosecutors, however, declined to file charges because they felt it would not stand in court.[7][8]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Florida

On July 22, the petition deadline, recall supporters turned in more than 2,514 signatures. They needed signatures from 15 percent of registered voters in her district (1,875 names) to trigger a recall election. City officials verified 2,296 signatures. The election date of October 15 was then set by Judge Peter Weinstein. City officials estimated a special election could cost $48,000.[5][9][6][10]

A first attempt to recall Atkins-Grad had failed to gather enough signatures, so recall supporters redoubled their efforts with the help of computer-generate maps and lists.[3]

Resignation

On September 11, 2013 Atkins-Grad gave a letter of resignation to the commission, along with a request for $8,000 compensation. In a closed session on September 12, the commission accepted Atkins-Grad's resignation. In her letter, Atkins-Grad blamed health problems, including a skin cancer diagnosis. She claimed her decision was not a result of the recall effort, stating "My health is much more important to me than the job right now."[1]

Recall supporters indicated they were happy with the decision to resign. Alvin Entin told reporters, "Sometimes it takes a while, I guess, for people to do the right thing, but it's the right thing she's doing now." They also showed concern over the compensation, but said it was better than the cost of a special election. Entin stated, "It's a lot less than the $50,000 to have one or two special elections. I figure we're saving money."[1]

See also

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