Less than 24 hours after outgoing Gov. Rick Scott formally suspended her via executive order, embattled Broward County elections chief Brenda Snipes rescinded the resignation she had submitted prior to his decision.
The New York Times reports that on Friday, November 30, Gov. Scott announced his plans to strip Dr. Snipes of her title and promptly replace her with his former general counsel Peter Antonacci. Echoing concerns from both Republicans and Democrats over a number of controversies that have tainted elections she’s overseen, Gov. Scott cited a “demonstrated malfeasance, incompetence and neglect of duty” in his decision to fire the 75-year-old office veteran.
As CBS News cites in its coverage of the developments, Gov. Scott’s order was roundly criticized from the left, with chairman of the Broward County Democratic Party, Cynthia Busch, questioning why a relatively inexperienced “Republican Party stalwart” was being brought on board to fill-in for Dr. Snipes, and ex-senator out of Fort Lauderdale, Chris Smith, calling the move “spiteful.” Dr. Snipes’ attorney Burnadette Norris-Weeks conveyed just as much grief over the announcement, posing during a press conference held over the weekend, that Dr. Snipes’ team believes such “malicious” action was taken “for the purposes of embarrassing Dr. Snipes — embarrassing her and tarnishing her record.”
Norris-Weeks would also update reporters on Dr. Snipes’ plan to call off the January 4 date of her scheduled resignation in the interest of completing her term, which won’t expire until November of 2020.
According to RT news, there is some speculation that Dr. Snipes’ reversal may be motivated by a fear that her $130,000 yearly pension could be in jeopardy given Gov. Scott’s insistence that “taxpayers should no longer be burdened by paying a salary for a supervisor of elections who has already announced [her] resignation.”
Only one week ago the elections chief, who was promoted to the post by then-Gov. Jeb Bush in 2003, seemed prepared and willing to step down amidst a firestorm of controversy stemming from election irregularities that saw the county mix-up invalid documentation, misplace thousands of ballots, and submit late results during last month’s crucial Senate race recount. The reports came on the heels of numerous alarming gaffes that have led to a poor reputation preceding Dr. Snipes, who only last year got caught up in scandal for illegally destroying ballots from a contested primary between ex-DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Tim Canova, per Politico.
In accordance with Florida state law, a suspension from the governor requires that one either be removed by the Senate or have their status reinstated by county officials. Dr. Snipes’ attorney told the press that she plans on “fighting this to the very end.”
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