- Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order on Thursday morning that vacated a seat in the Broward County School Board
- Rod Velez, who won Broward County’s local election to serve on the school board was halted by legal troubles after a criminal conviction he received in 1995 put his eligibility to occupy public office into question
- The state prosecutor’s inquiry revealed last week that he did not have all of his rights restored and was thus unable to serve in public office without state clemency
- Because Velez’s swearing-in ceremony was unable to take place within thirty days of his certified election win, DeSantis cited Florida Statute to vacate the seat and subsequently appoint Daniel Foganholi to the position
Just ahead of the swearing-in ceremony to install Rod Velez to the Broward County School Board, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order declaring Velez’s future seat to be vacated.
Due to a criminal conviction Velez received in 1995, his eligibility to occupy public office has been the subject of several legal challenges.
After looking into the dispute, the state attorney’s office decided not to investigate, while a judge approved his petition to dismiss the complaint questioning his eligibility to serve.
Last week, however, the state prosecutor’s inquiry revealed that he did not have all of his rights restored and was thus unable to serve in public office without state clemency.
As state law requires an elected official to be sworn in within 30 days of their certified victory, Velez was unable to clear legal hurdles in order to meet the deadline.
As a result, DeSantis cited state law to vacate the seat.
“Per Florida Statutes, a vacancy in office occurs “upon the refusal of the person elected or appointed to accept the office,” and that a vacancy in office shall occur “upon the failure of a person elected or appointed to office to qualify for office within 30 days from the commencement of the term of office.” Since 30 days have passed since the commencement of the term of office for Broward County School Board District 1, and no person has taken office within that time period, Governor DeSantis declares that a vacancy exists on the Broward County School Board, which he will fill in compliance with the law,” the executive order states.
Minutes after the governor issued the executive order, he announced the appointment of Daniel Foganholi, who previously served as a board member for the school district.
The Broward County School Board voted to remove superintendent Vickie Cartwright from her position in November following a 5-to-4 school board vote introduced by Foganholi.
Cartwright, who assumed the role in February after her predecessor Robert Runcie was arrested on perjury charges, came under fire after a recent state audit was conducted to investigate whether the school district violated state law by giving $237,000 in exit payments to three administrators.
The complaint, drafted by an investigator within the department’s inspector general’s office, alleged concerns of waste related to the administrators receiving payouts far exceeding what is permissible by state law.
“This is about accountability,” said Foganholiwhen introducing the motion.
Those voting to remove Cartwright cited what they referred to as “toxic behavior,” seeking to “reset, even when uncomfortable,” while those against the motion allege the move as politically calculated.