By Mary Hladky
Gov. Rick Scott on Friday suspended Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie from office days after she was arrested on seven charges related to her city votes on matters that financially benefitted the city’s largest downtown commercial landowner.
Under Florida law, Haynie is now prohibited from performing any official act, and will not receive pay during her suspension.
Deputy Mayor Scott Singer will serve as mayor, city officials announced shortly after Scott issued his order. The city charter provides that when the office of mayor becomes vacant, the deputy mayor fills that role until a special election is held.
That election will be held on Aug. 28, the same day voters will go to polls for the primary. Singer said he will run for the position.
City officials have scheduled a meeting on April 30, which is open to the public, to discuss election procedures and other matters related to Haynie’s suspension. It will be held at 4:30 p.m. at 6500 North Congress Avenue in Boca Raton.
“The city is bigger than one person” and will continue to provide “world class services,” Singer said after he assumed his new role.
Asked if Haynie or her attorney had been in contact with city officials or city council members since her arrest, Singer said, “not to my knowledge.”
Haynie, who has not resigned her position, will be arraigned on May 24.
Haynie, who on April 16 settled a case against her by the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics on similar allegations, was arrested Tuesday on charges of three counts of official misconduct and perjury in an official proceeding, all third-degree felonies; and misuse of public office, corrupt misuse of public office and failure to disclose voting conflict, all first-degree misdemeanors.
The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office’s public corruption unit filed the charges.
Haynie arrived at the jail at 7:38 p.m. Tuesday, and was released on $12,000 bail about 90 minutes later.
Haynie is scheduled for arraignment on May 24.
“Mrs. Haynie wholeheartedly and completely denies the allegations which we plan to fight in court to the fullest extent,” her attorney, Leonard Feuer, said in an email to The Coastal Star.
Haynie, a Republican, withdrew from the District 4 Palm Beach County Commission race in a two-sentence letter sent just hours after her arrest to Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher.