TC Palm by Lisa Broadt
November 29, 2017
Two county commissioners who were charged Tuesday could find themselves removed from office by Gov. Rick Scott.
Commissioners Ed Fielding and Sarah Heard, as well as former commissioner Anne Scott, have been charged with violations of state public-records law.
Fielding and Scott were arrested Tuesday evening on criminal misdemeanor charges for failure to allow inspection of public records, according to arrest affidavits made public Wednesday.
Heard was charged with a noncriminal infraction for public-records violations. She submitted a written not-guilty plea Tuesday afternoon to County Judge Curtis Disque.
Fielding, Scott and Heard did not respond to requests for comment.
The charges are related to the civil lawsuit brought against Martin County by Lake Point rock quarry and allegations that the three public officials destroyed or failed to produce emails pertinent to the case.
The Governor’s Office on Wednesday provided few details about how Scott would respond to the Martin County cases. “Our office will review it,” spokeswoman Kerri Wyland in an email.
State law allows the governor to suspend or remove an official arrested for a felony or misdemeanor related to the duties of office. If the official is convicted, the governor is to remove that person from office, according to statute.
State law also allows the governor to remove an official for a variety of other reasons, including malfesance, neglect of duty and incompetence. Scott’s office declined to say whether a noncriminal infraction is a suspendable offense.
At this point, it’s difficult to say how the public-records charges could affect the performance of the County Commission, Chairman Ed Ciampi said in an interview Wednesday. [READ MORE]