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Delray Beach city leaders face lawsuit on filling vacant commission seat

Citizen says city isn't following its own rules
Posted: 5:40 AM, Dec 30, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-30 15:41:09-05

The wait continues for voters in Delray Beach. A citizen sued the city claiming leaders violated rules by not holding a special election to fill an empty commission seat.

In court Friday, a judge decided to hear formal arguments at a later date.

City laws state if city commissioners cannot agree on appointing an interim commissioner, the city will hold special election for voters to pick an interim commissioner.

City leaders were split on who to fill Al Jacquet’s open seat. He resigned in November after winning a seat in the state House of Representatives.

“Do what it says. It’s not up to the mayor. We have a charter that runs our city, it’s not up to the mayor and he needs to understand that,” said J. Reeve Bright, who filed the complaint against the city.

The city argues it has a previously scheduled election in March and it is too costly to hold a special election so close to the regular election. The city attorney also said Reeve did not properly notify the city of Friday’s hearing.

“If you’re going to sue the city, which is suing the citizens of Delray Beach, you have to do it in accordance with the law. Once they do, we’ll be happy to come in here and argue the merits of the case,” explained R. Max Lohman.

The judge will issue a writ of mandamus and set a new date to hear arguments.