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Recall Effort Under Scrutiny

1-24-2007

An effort to recall Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Mayor Oliver Parker is under scrutiny by a Broward County Circuit Judge.

Judge Barry E. Goldstein listened to arguments Tuesday during a hearing requested by Parker to stop the recall process. Goldstein is expected to make his decision to Fort Lauderdale today.

Parker has filed lawsuits against the town; Suart Dodd, chairman of the recall committee; and county Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.

Those on the committee say Parker cast the deciding vote on the town's budget that included a special assessment to be used to pay for emergency medical services.

The mayor is prohibited by law from passing a special assessment for EMS, said Dodd's attorney, Ross Sulmister.

Of the 742 petition signatures the recall group collected, 699 were certified by Snipes' office. The group needed about 500 signatures from registered voters.

Town residents packed the courtroom Tuesday to listen to arguments by Shulmister and Parker's attorney, Suart Michelson. Those in the audience included Dodd, Town Commissioner Jerry McIntee, Vice Mayor John Yanni, and Mayor Pro-Tern Chuck Clark.

Michelson contends that Parke was required by law to vote on the budget that was prepared by the town's attorney and finance director. Michelson said those looking to recall Parker must show he was involved in misconduct.

"It's not a bad act to vote on a budget," the attorney said.

However, Shulmister said Parker acted improperly and he approved the budget despite problems pointed out by other commissioners.

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