BRADENTON BEACH -- A petition to recall Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon from office is the latest in an ongoing political drama in the city.
In documents sent to the city, the Committee to Recall William Shearon lists longtime Bradenton Beach resident Peter Barreda as chairman.
Barreda, who served as city commissioner from November 2003 to May 2005 when he resigned, declined comment other than to say he wants to keep the process simple.
Eric Robinson of Venice is listed as committee treasurer, a role he has played for various other political committees.
Guided by Florida Statute 100.361, the municipal recall requires a collection of signatures and a special election on whether the mayor should be removed from office.
The move coincides with an effort by some city commission members to remove Shearon from office.
Shearon said a recall campaign should have been used in the first place.
"The voters voted me in so the voters should make the decision to remove me from office," he said.
Shearon said the attempted ouster has been going on
for months. He described it as a disruption that will be costly to the city in attorney's fees.
"Not only that, but I'm still frustrated because the vice mayor had 13 charges supposedly against me and didn't even share them in the last meeting," Shearon said. "I still don't know what I've done wrong."
The mayor said he would like the resolution rescinded -- then there would be no need for the lawsuit he recently filed against the city. Last month, Shearon filed a petition for writ of prohibition requesting Manatee County's 12th Judicial Circuit Court prevent the city from "illegally suspending" him under the resolution.
"I have not seen nor heard a statement from any individual that may or may not be chairing a recall committee," said Vice Mayor Jack Clarke, who is leading the effort to remove Shearon from office.
On Dec. 2, tensions erupted at a special city commission meeting between Clarke and Shearon when the mayor refused to recuse himself. The meeting was called to vote on whether to pursue forfeiture of office against Shearon, but commissioners instead voted 3-2 to continue the issue to an unspecified meeting.
According to Clarke, the decision to continue pushing a forfeiture proceeding against Shearon depends on the speed in which the recall moves forward.
"I think I could better answer that question after the first set of petitions showed up," Clarke said. "I would say that if the recall moved in a timely fashion, speaking for myself, I would have less incentive to go forward with the forfeiture."
According to Manatee County Assistant Supervisor of Elections Scott Farrington, Bradenton Beach has about 760 registered voters.
"By statute they must have 100 signatures," he said of the number of signatures needed for a recall.
From the moment the committee collects its first signature, it has 30 days to collect all 100.
"Theoretically, you're looking at up to five to six months," Farrington said of the recall process.
Clarke added he doesn't want to hear about a recall election in July.
"It's got to happen really quick," he said. "It can't be six months down the road. ... I'm not inclined to let it drag out."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.