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Despite law, they want school board member recalled

By DAVID DECAMP
Published May 19, 2007


LAND O'LAKES 

Emotions were roused, supporters were aboard, and Pasco County School Board member Cathi Martin was about to face a fight to recall her from office.

Unless a little thing called Florida law is followed.

Angered by Martin's attendance record at board meetings, Pasco Republican Party state committeewoman Shari Kotsch promised 75 party activists on Thursday that she would launch a petition drive to recall Martin, who missed nine of 17 recent meetings.

But Florida allows recalls only for municipalities and counties governed by charters, which Pasco is not. Only the governor can remove a school board member, and only for certain misdeeds that do not include spotty attendance.

For her part, Martin apologized at Tuesday's School Board meeting for missing so many meetings, promising to keep her obligations the rest of her term. She has blamed personal and family health problems for her poor attendance.

Kotsch contacted the school district Thursday for information on recalls. A school district secretary directed Kotsch to seek out legislators for help. Kotsch said she would be happy with a new law mandating attendance. She plans to speak next week to a lawmaker, perhaps state Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey.

County GOP chairman Bill Bunting is not giving up either. He also promised Friday to back a recall effort using party money and GOP volunteers to help distribute petitions.

Times staff writer Jeffrey S. Solochek contributed to this report. David DeCamp can be reached at ddecamp@sptimes.com or 727 869-6232.