Election Case Update: All Parties File Proposed Orders as requested by Judge Michael F. Andrews

Updated 5/31/2024 with Proposed Orders for Summary Judgment:

Timing for a decision is at the judge's discretion. We will provide an update as soon as we are informed.

The Controlling Law

This litigation involves two primary sources of law. First, Article VIII, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution provides that “[e]ach municipal legislative body shall be elective. Second, section 3.06 of the St. Pete Beach City Charter, titled “Vacancies; forfeiture of office; filling of vacancies” provides the mechanism for filling vacancies on the City Commission.

Plaintiff's Proposed Orders for Summary Judgment

Plaintiff's Proposed Orders:

City's Proposed Orders:

Sirata's Proposed Orders:

Updated 5/9/2024 with Final Replies:

Final replies have been filed in the election case:

If the outgoing commissioners were legitimately concerned about continuity of their local government, the responsible thing to do would have been to announce their resignation as soon as possible to provide the commission, City staff, and the voting public as much time as possible to 7 ensure properly elected officials were available to take their place. Instead, they waited until the last regularly scheduled commission meeting of the year and created a situation that left the City with a choice—either (1) rush to appoint interim commissioners before the end of the year in violation of the City charter or (2) temporarily have a commission that is incapable of having a quorum. It chose the former. At the same time, the City has cited to no authority permitting this course of action. The City now asks this Court to retroactively sanction its decision by arguing that complying with its governing document would have been difficult under the self-imposed crisis created by the outgoing commissioners. The court should not entertain this request.

Plaintiff's Final Reply

City's Final Reply

Sirata's Final Reply

Our hearing for summary judgment is scheduled for Monday at 9am at the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater.

This evening, our attorneys at GrayRobinson filed our response to the City's motion for summary judgment in our election case:

We encourage you to read the response in its entirety. From the Introduction:

It is not disputed that in December 2023 four St. Pete Beach city commissioners announced that instead of providing the public with detailed financial disclosures as required by Florida law that they would resign their seats instead. There is no dispute that by December 18, 2023 all four elected members of the St. Pete Beach City Commission announced that they would resign their seats by year end. Everyone agrees that the City sent an email to residents that said: “The City of St. Pete Beach has a vacancy on the City Commission all district seats (Districts 1-4).” The City and intervenors concede the plain language of section 3.06(d) of the City Charter. Under the City Charter once two or more vacancies existed the power to fill the vacancies resided with the electors of St. Pete Beach and not with the city commissioners.

The document is a comprehensive and methodical refutation of the City's arguments. The hearing for summary judgment is scheduled for May 13, at which point we will hear from the Circuit Court judge assigned to our case, Judge Michael Andrews.

For further background, here is a complete list of all the filings:

Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment:

City's Motion for Summary Judgment

Intervenor's (Sirata/Columbia Sussex's) Motion for Summary Judgment:

Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment:

You may be surprised to see the "Intervenor's Motion" above -- yes, Columbia Sussex hired attorneys to intervene in our election case. Not surprisingly, they are arguing on the side of the City in an effort to defend the legitimacy of the unelected commission.

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