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Riviera Beach recall effort: citizens group sues city and supervisor of elections

Posted at 7:01 PM, Dec 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-12 08:01:58-05

A citizen’s group filed a lawsuit against the City of Riviera Beach and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, Susan Bucher, after Bucher invalidated the group’s recall effort.

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Bucher had validated only two out of around 8,600 petitions, which were signed by Riviera Beach residents in an effort to recall the three city council members who voted to fire City Manager Jonathan Evans. 

Bucher never gave a reason for her decision to invalidate the recall, but a WPTV investigation found that she acted on direction of City Attorney Andrew DeGraffenreidt. 

In a letter to Bucher, DeGraffenreidt said she should only count petitions for specific dates, based on a few wrongly dated petitions. 

The attorney for the citizen’s group, John Whittles, said those dates were wrong and stated that the group acted according to Florida Statue, collecting the petitions within a 30-day timeframe. 

“I don’t think they can take the city to court,” DeGraffenreidt said during a recent city council meeting.

However, that is what the group is doing. 

Whittles is requesting the judge to validate the petitions and move to the next step of the recall process, the rebuttal stage. 

That makes it the third lawsuit to be filed against the city since Evans was fired by council on Sept. 20.