By Dan Moffett

Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Keyser has scheduled a May 6 hearing to consider whether organizers of the movement to recall Ocean Ridge Town Commissioner Richard Lucibella have submitted legally valid petitions.
Lucibella’s attorney, Sidney Calloway, has asked the court to throw out the petitions, claiming they contain errors and are improperly filled out — “legally insufficient,” he says.
Haley Joyce, one of the movement’s organizers, has insisted that the petitions are accurate and legal. She said she has consulted with state officials to ensure her group is following the rules.
“I’m confident there’s nothing wrong with the petitions,” Joyce said.
Keyser said the hearing will deal only with the petitions and not complaints the organizers have about Lucibella’s conduct as commissioner. Nan Yablong, another recall supporter, said the group had hoped to bring in testimony about Lucibella’s role in the ouster of Police Chief Chris Yannuzzi in January.
“This is the only avenue provided by the state for voters to say they’re not happy with the performance of their elected officials,” Yablong said.
The recall group needs petitions with at least 233 signatures by the end of May to satisfy requirements for the second phase of the recall process and force a special election on Lucibella’s removal.
“This action began as a [response, by a] large number of Ocean Ridge residents, to Commissioner  Lucibella’s actions,” Joyce said. “In response, Mr. Lucibella chose to file a lawsuit against myself and others and he and his supporters have accused us of many things — including having a personal agenda, (or) the petition not being legally sufficient, (or) individuals signing because they were ill-informed.
“Let us be clear, this is not ‘personal.’ This is about a commissioner who, in our opinion, does not represent us.”
Joyce said the cost of the special election to taxpayers would be about $8,000 and “should Mr. Lucibella choose to resign, there would be no cost to the town.”
7960580453?profile=originalLucibella says he is fighting the recall in part because it sets a precedent that will undermine the governing power of future commissioners.
“Current and future commissioners will face similar threats of recall, personal attack and libel, should they fail to please a few vocal residents,” Lucibella has said.
An April 8 hearing before Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Peter Blanc ended with both sides claiming victory.
Blanc ruled that the recall organizers could continue gathering signatures, but he also granted Lucibella’s request for an emergency injunction that prevents the Palm Beach County supervisor of elections from certifying the petitions until Keyser can rule on their legality.
Calloway had asked Blanc to shut down the signature collections completely, claiming the petitions already submitted were “fatally flawed.” He argued that, while Lucibella’s opponents have the right to engage in a recall initiative, they had to do it the right way —  “not with a deformed recall process,” he said.
“We’re not arguing against the recall effort,” Calloway said. “But the documents are legally insufficient on their face.”
Calloway said the effort was having a damaging effect on Lucibella’s reputation, but Blanc was not persuaded.
“Those of us who are public figures are often subjected to unfair criticism,” the judge said.
Joyce told the judge that Lucibella was trying to stall the process until the town’s part-time residents return to their northern homes. “He wants to push this into the hot summer,” she said.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Activity Feed

Pippi posted an event
Jun 30
Pippi posted an event
Jun 30
Pippi posted an event
Jun 30
Pippi posted an event
Jun 30
Pippi posted an event
Jun 30
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a blog post
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in GULF STREAM
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in MANALAPAN
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BOCA RATON
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in ACROSS THE BRIDGE
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion
Jun 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in ACROSS THE BRIDGE
Jun 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 29
More…