Former Miami Commissioner Richard Dunn Suing To Stop Incumbent Michelle Spence-Jones From Running Again

The city attorney sides with Spence-Jones

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    Former commissioner Richard Dunn is suing to stop Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones from seeking another term in office. He and his attorney Juan Carlos Planas made their case, while Spence-Jones declined to comment. (Published Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013)

    Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones is running for another four-year term in November – and former commissioner Richard Dunn is suing to stop her.

    “It is not about Michelle Spence-Jones,” said the Rev. Dunn, who plans to file his lawsuit next week in civil court. “This is not a personal issue. It's based on a principle – what does the city of Miami charter say?”

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    Regarding term limits, the charter says that "... no mayor or city commissioner elected and qualified for two consecutive full terms shall be eligible for reelection in the next succeeding term."

    Dunn's argument is that Spence-Jones is wrapping up her second full term, even though she was suspended two times during the term, while she battled and beat criminal allegations of bribery and theft. She returned to the commission most recently in August 2011.

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    Spence-Jones declined to comment.

    The city attorney sides with Spence-Jones, issuing an opinion that reads, "Since you have only served one full term and one partial term you are eligible to qualify and be elected for a second full term."

    Miami Surprised By Extra Millions in Budget

    Dunn's attorney, Juan Carlos Planas, said the charter says a person can be elected and qualified for two terms, but it says nothing about serving two terms.

    “Commissioner Spence-Jones got the back pay, had that time that she was suspended accrued to her retirement system, so in the eyes of the law she was there for two full terms,” he said.

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