Gonzalo C. Sanchez, as Chairman of the Recall Committee, and Providing Effective Government for all Residents, a political committee, Appellants,
Orlando Lopez, individually and as Mayor of the City of Sweetwater, Appellee.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 17-5123, Rodney Smith, Judge.
Davis Law, P.A., and Benedict P. Kuehne and Michael T. Davis;
and KYMP and Juan-Carlos Planas, for appellants.
Carballo Law, P.A., and Joseph A. Carballo and John
Rodriguez; Coffey Burlington, P.L., and Kendall Coffey and
Scott A. Hiaasen, for appellee.
LAGOA, FERNANDEZ and LUCK, JJ.
Gonzalo C. Sanchez, etc., et al., appeal the trial
court's final judgment concluding that the recall
petition filed against appellee, Sweetwater Mayor Orlando
Lopez, did not state a valid ground for neglect of duty
pursuant to the City Charter. We agree with the trial court
that the recall petition, filed pursuant to section 100.361,
Florida Statutes (2009), is legally insufficient as a matter
of law and therefore affirm the court's final judgment.
sought the recall of the mayor on the grounds that he failed
to perform his duties as section 4.01(d)(10) of the City
Charter requires. They alleged in the recall petition, among
other things, that the mayor failed to attend numerous
commission meetings, or provide staff to City Budget
Workshops, which forced the cancellation of meetings and
prevented commissioners from addressing important financial
issues. The mayor sought declaratory and
injunctive relief to suspend the recall process. He mainly
argued that the recall petition was invalid because he did
not neglect his duties pursuant to the City Charter. The
court found that the language of the recall petition was
legally insufficient because the mayor's absence from
commission meetings did not constitute neglect of duty under
the City Charter.
duties of the Mayor of the City of Sweetwater are delineated
in Article IV of the City Charter. Section 4.00 specifies
that "[t]he executive authority of the City of
Sweetwater will be vested in the mayor who will be
responsible for the administration of the city
government." Section 4.01 specifies the powers and
duties of the mayor which include, in relevant part, the
(a) Position of mayor: The mayor shall be the chief
executive officer of the City of Sweetwater and shall be
responsible for the management and administration of the city
government and the legislative power of the mayor shall be
limited to his right to participate in meetings of the city
commission, the power of veto, approval in writing of
ordinances and resolutions as provided hereinafter in this
section but the mayor shall not have a right to vote.
* * *
(d) Specific authority of mayor: The mayor shall:
(1) Appoint and when he deems it necessary for the good of
the city, suspend or remove all city employees and appointive
administrative officers provided for by or under this Charter
or personnel rules adopted pursuant to this Charter subject
to appeal to the city commission as more specifically set
forth in section 3.06(e) of this Charter. The mayor
may authorize any administrative officer who is subject to
his direction and supervision to exercise these powers with
respect to subordinates in that officer's department,
office or agency.
(2) Direct and supervise the administration of all
departments, offices and agencies of the city, except as