Pilcher Granted Temporary Injunction

By: Candace White
By: Candace White

The recall petition against Panama City Commissioner John Pilcher is dead for now. Monday a judge found in favor of a motion by Pilcher's attorney to keep city and county officials from moving ahead with certification of the recall petition.

Monday Circuit Judge Glenn Hess granted Commissioner John Pilcher an injunction that halts the recall petition process launch against John Pilcher.

The legal action prohibits Panama City clerk Mike Bush and County Elections Supervisor Mark Andersen from moving ahead with their work that would verify and certify the recall petition.

Judge Hess granted the injunction for several reasons, but the primary reason was the claims made by the group behind the recall petition weren't sufficient to warrant Pilcher from removal from office.

Specifically, Pilcher's vote on the sale of the old Bay Line Train Depot and the surrounding property cannot serve as the basis for a petition, especially since three other commissioners voted the same way.

Hess also said the group did not collect the petition signatures during the legal time frame, and the petition cover letter was legally too long.

Pilcher's attorney says now that the legal battles are out of the way, Pilcher can breathe easier.

Sandy Sanborn, Pilcher's attorney, said, "This has been a strain on him, as you can imagine, so to have it behind him so that he can move on and carry out his duties and responsibilities as a commissioner, as he was even while this process was ongoing, he can do it with a little bit more ease and sense of comfort."

Sanborn believes Judge Hess' ruling will stand because he says it's entirely consistent with Florida law and the wording in the petition itself.

This may not be the end of this recall attempt. Last Friday the group behind the recall petition had filed a motion asking to have Judge Hess recuse himself from this case. They cited the fact that Judge Hess also decided the legal case on the train depot sale.


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