BRADENTON BEACH -- A special election to recall Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon has been set for May 19.
According to the Committee to Recall William Shearon, several "town hall" events will be held throughout the city first to allow invited speakers to answer questions about the recall.
The first town hall event will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Sandpiper Resort Co-Op Clubhouse, 2601 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach. The second will be at 6:30 p.m. April 28 at West Manatee Fire and Rescue Volunteers Inc. Hall, 201 Second St. N., Bradenton Beach.
"Our work as a committee is nearly complete," read an email from the recall committee to a Bradenton Herald reporter. "Once the qualifying period is over this becomes an election campaign, which is not the function or intent of this committee."
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According to Manatee County Assistant Supervisor of Elections Scott Farrington, Shearon can be included in the list of candidates to replace himself. Shearon confirmed Monday he is going to file to be included among other candidates.
"I guess I'm stubborn ... but I don't believe in quitting," Shearon said. "I was elected by the people to serve a term and I'm going to serve my full term. That's what I'm fighting for ... not only to serve my term but, as I stated before, I'm going to run in November again."
The Manatee County Supervisor of Elections confirmed it received 130 petition signatures and 121 were accepted as valid, which is 15.9 percent of the 763 registered voters in Bradenton Beach.
According to Farrington, a special election is like a regular election.
"There will be vote by mail so if somebody isn't going to be in town, they can request a ballot and we'll mail it to them and they can mail it back," he said.
Voting polls will be open 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. May 19.
The ballot will have two questions, Farrington said. The first would ask registered Bradenton Beach voters if they want to recall Shearon. The second would focus on his replacement.
"If the mayor is not recalled, that second issue is moot and it doesn't matter who wins it," Farrington said. "If the mayor is recalled by the first issue, then whoever wins the second race will be the replacement."
The qualifying period to become a candidate in the special election begins Tuesday.
Any Bradenton Beach resident and registered voter can run for mayor. Qualifying must be finished by noon Friday, Farrington said, adding the paperwork is not lengthy.
As long as voters want him, Shearon said he is making the effort to continue to do his job.
Bradenton Beach Vice Mayor Jack Clarke, who spearheaded the effort to force Shearon to give up his seat, told the Herald he submitted his letter of resignation last Friday. He said he plans on running in the special election and therefore has to be ready to resign his commission seat. His resignation will be effective after the recall election.
"I will be filing at the earliest possible time," Clarke said. "Following completion of my qualification, I will then commence my campaign for the special election."
Clarke said he still had another five weeks of work to do in the city.
"I'm happy," he said about the special election. "I've always wanted the voters to have a choice, and I would have been happy to have it sooner rather than later."
According to Bradenton Beach Commissioner Edward Straight, quite a few people are upset with the mayor.
"We'll be able to see whether the majority of people want him to continue or not," he said.
Straight said the city commission has been trying to work through a lot of disagreements with a global settlement proposed by Shearon. If successful, the settlement could put to rest four lawsuits in Bradenton Beach at the same time and end the effort to force Shearon to forfeit his office.
"This has to do with the citizens being upset -- they're the ones that signed the petition," Straight said. "Whatever happens, we'll make the best of it."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.