Gov. Rick Scott should reinstate Michael Pizzi, Fla. Supreme Court rules
Pizzi: 'I am the mayor of Miami Lakes'
MIAMI LAKES, Fla. – Former Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi should be reinstated by the governor, the Florida Supreme Court said Monday.
Pizzi has sought to have Gov. Rick Scott end his suspension since he was acquitted of federal corruption charges in August. However, Scott has refused to do so, saying voters elected a new mayor in a special election after Pizzi's arrest last year.
Under state statute, an elected official is supposed to be reinstated if he or she is cleared of the charges.
Five justices sided with Pizzi, while two justices gave dissenting opinions.
The three-page response states that the governor "has a mandatory duty to revoke the order" that authorized Pizzi's suspension.
Justice Charles T. Canady offered a dissenting viewpoint.
"Ordinarily, the application of this statutory provision would create an indisputable legal duty both to revoke the suspension order and to restore the suspended official to office," Canady surmised. "Here, however, the petitioner does not suggest that the governor has a duty to restore him to office and thus oust the mayor elected in a special election under the charter of the municipality."
Justice Ricky Polston concurred.
A writ of mandamus was withheld until Jan. 2 because the justices "believe that the governor will fully comply with this order."
Late Monday night, Scott did just that, issuing an executive order that lifted Pizzi's suspension. However, Scott's order "does not reinstate" Pizzi as mayor, leaving his status in limbo.
The ruling complicates matters in Miami Lakes.
Current Mayor Wayne Slaton has said he had no intention of stepping aside.
But Pizzi is adamant that he is the rightful mayor.
"My name is Michael Pizzi, and I am the mayor of Miami Lakes," Pizzi told Local 10 News.
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