Accusing Gov. Rick Scott of a “malicious and politically motivated” executive order, suspended Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes has filed a federal lawsuit against Scott and Senate President Bill Galvano as she tries to regain her job.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Tallahassee, follows a tumultuous period that included high-profile reports of election problems in Broward County, Snipes’ announcement that she would resign from the job in January, Scott issuing an executive order to suspend Snipes — and Snipes saying she was rescinding her resignation.
In the lawsuit, Snipes argues that her due-process rights are being violated. It came four days after Galvano said the Senate, which has the constitutional authority to remove from office or reinstate suspended elected officials, would not take up the matter.
The 27-page lawsuit said Snipes has “suffered a significant deprivation” of her rights.
“She has been publicly humiliated by being closed out of her job and further not being paid during the suspension,” the lawsuit said. “At this point, Governor Scott’s allegations have gone unchallenged as he sits high on a ‘throne’ utilizing state resources to continually humiliate Snipes. Due process clearly applies.”
But John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, characterized the lawsuit as a “desperate move.” Scott and other Republicans hammered Snipes because of problems in the aftermath of the Nov. 6 elections, which included Scott defeating Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in a race that required machine and manual recounts because of its narrow margin.
“The governor’s action to remove Ms. Snipes from office for misfeasance, neglect of duty and incompetence speaks for itself, and the media has reported on multiple instances where she broke the law (in handling the election),” Tupps said in an email Tuesday. “This lawsuit is a desperate move from someone who has already officially submitted her resignation. This is simply an attempt by Ms. Snipes to rewrite the history of her failed leadership.”
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker has scheduled a conference call Thursday afternoon to begin moving forward with the case.
Snipes, a Democrat who was first appointed elections supervisor in 2003 and has been elected four times, announced Nov. 18 that she would resign effective Jan. 4. But on Nov. 30, Scott issued an executive order suspending Snipes and replacing her with Pete Antonacci, whose past roles have included serving as Scott’s general counsel.
The day after the executive order, Snipes held a news conference and rescinded her resignation. The lawsuit said Snipes’ attorney contacted Senate General Counsel Jeremiah Hawkes on Dec. 3 about starting the process for a Senate hearing to fight the suspension.
But Galvano said Thursday that the Senate considers Snipes’ resignation “unconditional and effective Jan. 4, and the Senate will be taking no action.” In a memo to senators, Galvano also said there wouldn’t be time to conduct a “full investigation into the serious assertions” in Scott’s executive order. The Senate will not hold committee meetings before Jan. 4 and doesn’t begin the 2019 legislative session until March 5.
“Past Senate practice as recently as 2012 dictates if a term ends prior to the Senate being able to take action, then no further proceedings are held. … This decision in no way reflects on Dr. Snipes, the governor, or their actions,” Galvano wrote. “The decision merely reflects that no timely action can be taken by the Senate. Nothing precludes Dr. Snipes from seeking a judicial determination of any rights she may have related to the Office of Broward County Supervisor of Elections.”
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to block Scott and Galvano from enforcing parts of state law and a Senate rule dealing with suspensions. It also seeks a judgment that those parts of state law and the Senate rule are “null and void” because they deprive Snipes of due process.
“In this case, the suspended public official’s loss of pay or the orchestrated shattering of her reputation was without due process of law,” the lawsuit said. “Also, the laws do not provide any procedural safeguards for notice and an opportunity to be heard. In the case of Snipes, there has been no opportunity to respond to Governor Scott’s executive order.”
Scott didn’t humiliate her she did a fine job humiliating herself and the office she held.
DR? Dr of what, basket weaving?
Steve Ward says
I have to agree with the alien on this one. Failure to do your job on several occasions Retire already
First she resigns now wants her job back even though she’s known as corrupt by a federal judge?
“She has been publicly humiliated by being closed out of her job and further not being paid during the suspension,” That is almost funny…..
She was publicly humiliated and the laughing stock of the country with how her “election board” handled the last few elections. She and Broward county were and are the laughing stock of Florida and the entire country. Finally being suspend for incompetence should have been no surprise.
Lock him up says
It’s terrible that Scott was elected to the state senate!! This man isn’t fit to be dog catcher—-he should be in prison!!! An investigation should be conducted on the millions Scott or his related businesses made on deals while he was governor. Scott never should have gotten away with Medicare fraud!! I hope Dr Snipes shows this arrogant man is shown for his bully tactics and his lack of leadership.
She should have been fired a long time ago!
@lock him up….. investigation was done, get over it… Your support of Snipes after he blatant in ability to do her job, for whatever reason be it just plain incompetence or political motivation shows your response is just a reflection of your political leanings.
If she had followed the law (after all we ARE a country of LAWS) and performed her job without becoming an incompetent spectacle to the entire country not just in this past election but even in previous elections, she would probably still have her job. Time for her to go, enjoy retirement!
Is she is a Dr, it is ONLY a PhD type, in OTHER words “Piled high & Deep”, as in pooh pooh. And She brings shame and humiliation on HERSELF, and the Voters of Broward,………AGAIN!
Percy's mother says
Dear Lock him up . . .
WHAT medicare fraud???? (regarding Gov. Scott)
Snipes is an incompetent and resigned from her job. Anyone in the private sector conducting their business with such stupidity would have been fired post haste.
As usual, it will take on the tone of racial injustice.
Concerned Citizen says
In the regular workforce if you’re job performance is found wanting you are given a chance to fix it. If you don’t then you are fired.
Should be the same way in government but it’s not. The people are getting tired of government workers free loading while the rest of us do whatwe are supposed to to make a living.
She had numerous issues in her office and failed to correct them. Leadership starts atthe top and a poorly run office is reflective of that.
Do the job or they find someone else who will.
FYI – Snipes was born in Talladega, Alabama, and majored in modern foreign languages at Talladega College.
Brenda Snipes graduated with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction for adults from Florida Atlantic University, and was awarded a doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.[
She is corrupt and should get her house in order before she is sent to jail.