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  1. Florida Politics

Madeira Beach recall is off; city to pay commissioners' legal fees

MADEIRA BEACH — The effort to recall two sitting commissioners is over. Bob Preston, chairman of the committee seeking to recall Commissioners John Douthirt and Nancy Oakley confirmed Wednesday that, despite the support of more than 600 voting residents, there will be no appeal of last week's Circuit Court decision to block the April 17 recall election.

Judge George Jirotka ruled that the commissioners' vote to hire a budget director, an action the charter says is the responsibility of the city manager, was not malfeasance as alleged in the recall petitions.

"It is a shame. The judge is saying that the commission can do whatever they want, irregardless of what the charter says," Preston said, adding that "strong" candidates will run against the two commissioners in next year's regular election.

Meanwhile, the commission voted unanimously Tuesday to repay Douthirt and Oakley more than $13,000 in legal fees charged by the city's attorney, Ralf Brookes, who had independently represented the officials.

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