Dania Beach vice mayor's ICU stay still 'unexcused absence'

Chickie Brandimarte believes mayor, commissioner playing dirty politics

DANIA BEACH, Fla. - There was yelling and name calling at a heated meeting in Dania Beach on Monday night, the crowd aiming their anger at Mayor Walter Duke and Commissioner Bobbie Grace.

For the second time, the two refused to excuse the vice mayor's absence from last month's commission meeting.

At the time, Vice Mayor Chickie Brandimarte was in the intensive care unit recovering from surgery.

Duke and Grace claim they didn't know the vice mayor was in the hospital when they were asked to excuse her absence last month.

But even after learning about the hospital stay, they still refused to excuse the absence again Monday night.

The vice mayor, who returned to City Hall on Monday night, claims the two are playing dirty politics.

Brandimarte told Local 10 News she believes they want her off the commission.

"I had no control over what happened to me," Brandimarte said.

If a commissioner has back-to-back unexcused absences, he or she can be removed from office. The mayor gave no reason for refusing to excuse the absence.

Duke gave no explanation as to why he didn't excuse Brandimarte. Grace said she had no obligation to excuse the absence.

"Had I been the mayor before, I would have called a special meeting as soon as I found out there was a problem and motion to excuse her," former Mayor Anne Castro told Local 10 after the meeting. "And, even tonight, they had a chance -- a perfectly good chance -- to take care of it, and they didn't. That's a lack of leadership."

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