If it walks like a Duck; sounds like a Duck; and acts like a Duck, it just might be a Duck……
Monday night, in the Auditorium of the 6500 Building on Congress, City Council met to review the processes for filling the vacant and soon to be vacant seats on the Council. The room was packed, standing room only, with many of Boca’s most recognizable faces intently focused on the process discussion.
Susan Haynie has been suspended from the office of Mayor. Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the Executive Order suspending her on the 27th, last Friday. A meeting is planned to discuss the Process and Procedures for replacing her by election. In the same process a new Council Member will be named by appointment by the other Council Members.
Jack McWalter sums up why this meeting is so important:
The four remaining council members can vote to put anyone on the city council for 90 days until the August 28th election.
If you want a resident-friendly choice it’s not going to happen without you attending the meeting. Time and place are listed below. See you there.
Previous articles have mentioned chemicals that are used to control pests, weeds and mold. There are three basic categories of chemicals applied for these purposes: pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Knowing the difference helps put the toxicity of these classes of chemicals in perspective. Sometimes they’re the best choice for managing a problem, the lesser of two evils. Other times their use might be due to budgets or simply chosen for sake of ease. In the latter cases there’s a tendency for over-use, application of amounts that build up to become seriously toxic to people and wildlife over time. Understanding what you’re trying to control and how to control it responsibly is the key to using these toxic chemicals in the right amounts.
The roots of trees are large and criss-cross, gnarled and uneven. The ground is smooth. The light of the sun is filtered by the tree foliage on each side of the hike, along the nature trail. The only movement at The Yamato Scrub Natural Area is the occasional bird, startling in a tree or a squirrel dashing up a nearby trunk.
The Palm Beach Board of Education met with parents and blamed the people of Boca and its City Council for its overcrowded schools. Jack explains.
4:20 pm Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie has been suspended by Florida Governor Rick Scott http://www.wpbf.com/article/boca-raton-mayor-suspended-by-gov-rick-scott/20088926
What’s next for Susan Haynie and the Mayor’s Seat?
Al Zucaro provides a glimpse into possible futures. Things are changing quickly, but this is what we know now, Friday the 27th at Noon.
Mayor Susan Haynie was charged with 4 felonies and 3 misdemeanors by the State Attorney’s Public Corruption unit last week. The public’s most often heard demand, since these charges were filed, is for her ‘resignation’ from the office of Mayor. Her breach of the public trust uncovered over the last year is considered by many as unacceptable. It’s my opinion that her resignation is in the best interest of the city of Boca Raton. However, public opinion and public trust aren’t what’s going to spell out the course of events. There’s a lot of bureaucracy ahead of us still and people want to know what could happen. I’ll break it down for you.
Could the Political Fix be In – Haynie Back in the Mayor Seat???
As of this writing, Ms. Haynie has not resigned the position; has proclaimed her innocence; and has vowed to have her day in court. She’s essentially saying we’ll all have to settle in for a long drawn-out painful period. Or will we?
A criminal matter of this type generally comes to conclusion in one of two ways:
- a trial with jury verdict, guilty or not-guilty; or,
- a negotiated plea bargain of some sort.
So far, in all her Commission on Ethics matters, Ms. Haynie has chosen to accept a negotiated settlement rather than proceed to a full blown evidentiary hearing. So the blusterous statement of her attorney in the newspapers about vindication in court may be just that, bluster. She might actually have to face the music earlier. Let’s analyze….
Why does Ms. Haynie refuse to step down, to resign?
An easy answer…If she resigns, she is out of office, out of politics, immediately.
There is actually no obligation at this time for her to resign; criminal charges are not convictions. However, the Governor has the ability to ‘remove’ her from office; or, in the alternative, he has the ability to ‘suspend’ her instead.
- If ‘removed’ from office, she is not able to return to her seat even if there are no convictions from these pending felony criminal charges.
- Suspension allows for her to return if acquitted or if she reaches a negotiated plea with no conviction(s) of record.
As of this writing, the Governor has taken no action. Reports are that he has taken the situation under advisement and that he will be taking action soon.
The Governor will ‘suspend’ Ms. Haynie pending the outcome of the criminal matter.
editor’s note: Al Zucaro ^ was right. That’s what happened>>>
His action will come before the May 8th meeting where the City Council will consider moving forward with a ‘special election’ on the County’s August primary ballot. The meeting on Monday, April 30th, will explore this possibility. If ‘suspension’ allows for a special election, Deputy Mayor Scott Singer will preside until the election, after which the winner will preside over the Council for the remainder of the Haynie term, March, 2020, or, possibly, sooner.
Possibly sooner? You bet…Here’s how:
Assuming that Ms. Haynie choses to negotiate instead of facing a jury trial, she may still avoid a ‘felony conviction.’
Susan Haynie is a first time offender. As a first time offender, she may be eligible to resolve this matter through a negotiated plea bargain.
This outcome is possible if the State Attorney agrees to a plea bargain where Haynie enters a plea of guilty; agrees to some sort of punishment, probably probation; and recommends that the presiding judge grant the status of ‘Withhold Adjudication’; a relief where the criminal activity is not carried forward on a person’s record as a conviction.
The State of Florida is the only jurisdiction in the United States including the Federal Government that has this extraordinary relief in such a criminal matter.
Here is where the ‘possibly sooner’ comment is relevant:
If the State Attorney would offer such an arrangement and the Mayor were to accept this outcome, arguably there would be no conviction and, hence, no reason for her to remain suspended; the charges would be resolved; and, under a Florida Supreme Court ruling, she would be immediately able to return to her seat as the Mayor.
So the elements that need to be in place are as follows:
- The Governor ‘suspends’ not ‘removes’ the Mayor from office;
- The State Attorney offers the plea deal described above; and
- The presiding Judge agrees to accept the negotiated deal.
Could all this actually happen in such high profile case with its powerful political cast?
Maybe, maybe not…but it is possible….
Here are the proverbial flies in the ointment:
- The Governor’s politics in his campaign to unseat Senator Bill Nelson;
- The State Attorney’s reputation as a protector of the citizen’s interest with public corruption being of high concern; and;
- The presiding Judge, who is not obligated to agree with the State’s recommendation, refuses to accept such a politically charged plea bargain.
Also, there would remain a question as to whether an actual admission of guilt to any or all of the felony charges would be enough to prevent her from returning to the Mayor’s seat; a fact pattern yet unresolved and ripe for legal challenge.
In law school you learn not to ‘what if’ a situation to death; you learn to plan argument around actual facts. With that in mind, I raise only one additional question…
Assuming there is a determination to schedule a special election, what if the plea bargain described with the outcome being ‘no conviction(s)’ is resolved before the August special election. Arguably, Ms. Haynie would contend that the special election is moot, an outcome that would be fuel on the political fire in the city of Boca Raton.
What a mess….
You proclaim your love for Boca Raton…
If that is true…
bring this to an end….
Publisher – BocaWatch
What a bombshell!
In the space of less than two months, Susan Haynie, the Mayor of Boca Raton has faced three separate ethics problems culminating with her arrest and booking into the Palm Beach County Jail on criminal charges.
Can any of us remember when this has happened to any prior Mayor of our city?
This is sad news for our city on many levels. No matter what your feelings may be toward our Mayor, it must be recognized that she has served in appointed and/or elected office for more than sixteen years. With that experience she should have known better.
The Mayor’s first two ethics violations were administered at the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics. Both have a negotiated settlement with fines plus a public reprimand. The most recent legal challenge, however, comes from the State Attorney’s office and is, by far, the most serious of the three; a legal challenge that has resulted in criminal charges including perjury and criminal misuse of office.
The Mayor deserves her day in court on these criminal charges and more details will be forthcoming during the ensuing days. Those details should reveal much. It is almost a certainty that regardless of the outcome, Ms. Haynie’s attempt to become a county commissioner in the November election have now gone up in smoke. She is politically damaged goods. Haynie’s criminal defense attorney has been heard to state that “Mrs. Haynie wholeheartedly and completely denies these allegations which she plans to fight in court to the fullest extent.”
Meantime, these incidents and others that remain unresolved, have left a blemish on Boca Raton; a blemish that may become a lasting stain if not dealt with effectively. Regardless of the outcome of Haynie’s criminal charges, Boca Raton needs to move on without her. Ms. Haynie’s many years of service notwithstanding, her chapter as an elected official needs to come to a close.
Trust, once lost, is difficult, if not, impossible to regain. Her immediate future will surely be consumed with resolving these mounting civil and criminal matters; a complete and total distraction.
What comes next for Boca?
In relatively short order the City Council and Administration should decide how to handle this difficult situation. If it is determined that Ms. Haynie can not continue to participate in City Council and/or CRA proceedings, her resignation or removal from office will trigger a special election as early as the currently scheduled August 2018 primary.
The legal process and Ms. Haynie willingness to fight the charges may dictate how quickly this is resolved. From the perspective of the resident and those conducting business in Boca Raton resolution must come; the sooner the better. Ongoing and prolonged headlines and news articles of the Mayor’s circumstance will surely hurt our city’s image.
How ironic that this news broke at a time when a Boca Raton City Council meeting was in process. While Deputy Mayor Scott Singer was conducting the meeting due to the Mayor’s absence, Susan Haynie was being fingerprinted in West Palm Beach for her booking into the county jail. With this breaking news, the three council members present, along with the City Manager and City Attorney were receiving text messages regarding the explosive event. Near the end of the City Council meeting, Councilmember Andrea O’Rourke forced conversation on the issue but, without complete facts, the discussion did not go far.
Minus an elected Mayor at the helm, the Mayoral responsibilities fall on the shoulders of recently appointed Deputy Mayor Scott Singer. Mr. Singer has proven himself capable of conducting meetings through years while serving as CRA Chairman but, in that capacity, he also demonstrated poor leadership judgement by failing to move forward against his political ally, Susan Haynie, with the available legal process that would have resolved this matter many months ago.
Referring back to Haynie’s run for County Commissioner, upon her announcement, Mr. Singer immediately filed to run for Mayor in what was then anticipated to be a March, 2019 election. Is it the cynic or the realist that would suggest that Mr. Singer was politically calculating when he participated in orchestrating his appointment as Deputy Mayor less than a month ago?
Hopefully, Ms. Haynie will resign and provide the residents with an early opportunity to restore trust in our city’s elected officials.
What are residents left to do to get our city’s image where it belongs?
This has not been a banner day for our Chamber of Commerce or our city’s Economic Development Department. Due to the hit on Boca’s image this has not been a good day for our city.
It is most assuredly, a sad day for our city and its residents.
Publisher of BocaWatch
Susan Haynie was scheduled to join the rest of Boca Raton’s City Council Members in tonight’s Council Meeting at City Hall. Instead she told members she was sick. The meeting adhered to the agenda with only Deputy Mayor Scott Singer, Council Member O’ Rourke and Council Member Mayotte as the attending elected officials. During the meeting Mr. Singer broke from the agenda to address Mayor Haynie’s absence.
TAKE OUR POLL ABOUT BOCA’S PARKS!
It’s not easy to make a list of the things that Boca Raton Parks are missing. We have so much in our parks that it’s hard to think of things we don’t have. This poll lets you give your opinion on what the parks have and don’t have.
Special thanks to Parks District Commissioner Craig Ehrnst for the support reaching out to other District people for additions to this list. Thanks also to Briann Harris and Melissa Dawson who provided items to the list including Pickleball and Splash Pads.
I wasn’t a big fan of money being spent, or park land being lost, towards building more tennis courts. After the Nadal deal for Patch Reef became history I saw Art Koski in a video segment looking brokenhearted. He mentioned how it would still be nice to build indoor tennis courts somewhere else. I thought to myself “this guy is the only one who wanted them.”
Later that morning I was having coffee with my dad and my dad said to me “You know what the City should build? Indoor tennis courts.” I realized I was being ignorant in thinking Mr. Koski was alone in his opinion about indoor tennis courts. That motivated the creation of this poll. Your opinion is what matters.
Do you have an idea for the parks that you don’t see here?
Please share your idea in the comments below.