We can't recall the last recall
Listen for the chanting: "Hey, ho, hey, ho, Cathi M. has got to go." It's coming from the Pasco County GOP, which is angling to remove School Board member Cathi Martin for repeated absences from board meetings since her 2006 reelection. (She's missed about half of the sessions since September, attributing them to a string of bad luck and illnesses. Click here to read her recent explanation.)
"This is a woman who doesn't do her job," state committeewoman Shari Kotsch told about 75 party activists in Land O'Lakes at a school district meeting room late Thursday. On Friday, county chairman Bill Bunting pledged to support any recall effort financially and help distribute petitions. Martin, by the way, is a Democrat.
Thing is, there's no law providing for a voter-led recall initiative of a constitutional officer. And, there's no law mandating that School Board members attend board meetings either. The path to removal runs through the governor's office, where they probably need something substantial to hang a removal on.
Kotsch said she plans to explore her options after this weekend's state Republican meeting.
The Gradebook couldn't find Martin at any of her several phone numbers. But we do have her comments from Tuesday's board meeting, where she offered apologies for her poor attendance and promised to fulfill all her obligations throughout the rest of her term. She noted that the district lacks a policy detailing how an ill board member can participate while medically restricted, saying that would have helped her find a way to keep on top of things.
"I hope I am on the right track, because I have totally missed my job," Martin concluded, after urging the audience to tend to their health lest they end up with multiple problems like the ones that have plagued her.
- Dave DeCamp, Pasco County government reporter, and Jeff Solochek