Brenda Snipes reneges on resignation, will stay as Broward Supervisor of Elections
The flagrantly incompetent Broward County Supervisor of Elections can’t even carry through a proper resignation. The 2020 election is coming, and her services may be needed by the Democratic Party.
Following the embarrassing fiasco of counting votes in the closely contested Florida governor’s race, Brenda Snipes submitted her resignation “Just hours after finishing a tumultuous election recount… ending a 15-year tenure full of botched elections, legal disputes and blistering criticism,” in the words of the local paper, Sun-Sentinel.
But that was then, and this is now, via the Sun-sentinel:
Broward Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes announced Saturday she will fight her suspension by the governor, and rescinded her letter of resignation that preceded it.
As the paper notes, this change immediately followed a move against her by Gov. Scott:
Gov. Rick Scott suspended Snipes late Friday afternoon, citing “widespread issues with voting” in Broward County.
Snipes’s attorney is claiming that her track record of mistakes doesn’t warrant suspension:
Broward elections office attorney Burnadette Norris Weeks said the governor is holding Snipes to a different standard than other elections supervisors in Florida, “as if there can never be a mistake made.” She alleged the suspension was mean-spirited, an attempt to take Snipes’ pension, and based on false or unfair allegations. She also suggested the Republican governor was motivated by politics, removing the Democratic supervisor in a heavily Democratic county.
“We believe it’s a malicious action that should not have happened,” she said, adding later that “all of the voters of Broward County should be concerned.”
Oddly enough, back at the time of her resignation, Snipes said, “It’s time to move on.” Is she a time-traveler?
Snipes staged her about face Saturday with a certain amount of colorful pageantry and counter-factual claims:
In a room filled with black pastors, elected officials, community leaders and her fellow “Deltas” sorority sisters in their trademark red clothing, Snipes thanked her supporters Saturday and asked everyone to keep an open mind.
“We’ve made lots of achievements, accomplishments and have always done our work in an air of quality and integrity,” Snipes said.
Snipes now intends to stay on through the 2020 presidential election, where the Demcorat candidate may need her assistance.
Here is video of her news conference Saturday:
The Miami Herald reports on what probably lies ahead:
The Florida Constitution mandates that the Florida Senate is required to hold a hearing to remove Snipes from office. The Senate has three months to begin its proceedings. The hearing was not likely to take place if Snipes’ resignation date was honored.
The executive order states that Snipes will not receive any pay or benefits while suspended, but it remains unclear if her suspension would affect the pension she is set to receive after her retirement as Broward’s supervisor of elections. Scott has appointed his former general counsel, Peter Antonacci, to lead the department.
Norris-Weeks said she believed Scott’s executive order was, at least in part, meant to interfere with her benefits. Mainly, she said, it was done “for the purpose of embarrasing (sic) Dr. Snipes” and “tarnishing her record.”
“The supervisor is being held to a standard that no other supervisor has been held to in the state of Florida,” she said. “We are disheartened by the governor’s actions. We believe it is a malicious action that should not have happened.”
Readers may recall that Snipes was due to collect a pension of almost $130,000 a year for a mere 15 years of service. This is more than two-and-a-half-times the average household income in Florida. Although it is apparently not illegal, it is an outrage to reward incompetence so richly.
Correction: Mark Roth informs us:
As I understand it, Snipes already had a 58,000 pension from her tenure as a teacher in the Broward County Schools.
She is also entitled, under Florida Law, to a pension for her serving as Broward County Supervisor of Elections.
When added together they total approximately $130,000. It is inaccurate to present Snipes as receiving $130,000 for her miserable performance as an appointed government official. In my opinion, it is bad enough that she receives $71,000.
Photo credit: Miami Herald video screen grab