ANNA MARIA — The recall election of City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus has been set for Sept. 7.
Chief Judge Lee Haworth established the date on Friday.
Before the election can be held, however, it will have to get the go-ahead from Circuit Judge Edward Nicholas, who has yet to rule on whether the recall petition is legal.
Stoltzfus attorney Richard Harrison maintains that the whole process should be thrown out because the petition was too vague for the commissioner to mount an effective defense.
Harrison says the accusations of malfeasance and misfeasance in office are not defined and therefore are not legally sufficient."To that end, he asked for an expedited hearing on his claim, which Nicholas denied, saying such a hearing should be held after all petition signatures are verified but before the recall election date. That ruling later was upheld in district court.
The required two sets of signatures now have been certified by Supervisor of Elections Bob Sweat, and Nicholas is expected to make his ruling either in late August or early September.
The recall committee began the process after learning about a series of e-mails that Stoltzfus sent and later was forced to make public after a records request.
In one of those e-mails, Stoltzfus offered to help fund a lawsuit against the city if his name could be kept out of it.
In another, he wrote comments contrary to the city’s position on a case pending before the Florida Department of Community Affairs. In that instance, he wanted DCA to consider his comments only if doing so would not require that he recuse himself from a vote if the matter were to come before the city commission again.
The city commission has scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, July 20, to vote on a resolution setting the qualifying dates from July 21 to 30.
If there are to be candidates running to replace Stoltzfus on the commission, should he be recalled, the city clerk will handle the qualifying of those candidates.