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Tatem's school board seat will not be contested in this year's election

SOE determines it will be filled by gubernatorial appointment


BRADENTON — The Manatee County School Board District 5 seat for which Richard Tatem has submitted his resignation will not be contested in this year's election. Recently appointed Manatee County Supervisor of Elections James Satcher has determined that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will fill the seat by appointment instead.

Tatem is resigning to run for the Florida House seat that has been vacated by Tommy Gregory, the incoming president of the State College of Florida. Tatem tendered his resignation on May 31 but noted an effective date of Nov. 5. Some felt that Tatem's timing was deliberate to allow Gov. DeSantis to appoint a Republican for the remainder of the term rather than allowing voters to choose their representative on the non-partisan board.

In a letter sent from the SOE's office to TBT, Satcher wrote the following:

To whom it may concern,

On May 30, 2024, this office received a letter of resignation from Richard W. Tatem, a member of the Manatee County School Board elected for a term ending in November of 2026. The effective date provided by Mr. Tatem is November 5, 2024. The attached memo was prepared by outside counsel in response to my request for guidance on this vacancy. I submitted to outside counsel the input provided to me by the public and interested parties.

The current Resign-to-Run Law deems an office to be vacant upon the effective date of the resignation, and because the remainder of the term of Mr. Tatem's school board office is therefore less than twenty-eight months, the Florida Constitution provides for the vacancy to be filled via appointment by the Governor subsequent to November 5th for the remainder of the term. This office has no leeway to disregard the Resign-to-Run Law as amended in 2021 and to place the school-board office on the 2024 election ballot.

Please see the attached memo for a full analysis of this issue.

James Satcher
Supervisor of Elections

If there are fewer than 28 months left in a term, the Florida Constitution prescribes that the governor appoint a replacement for the remainder of the term. If 28 or more months remain in the term, a special election is to be held to fill the position.

The League of Women Voters Manatee County has argued that the SOE is legally required to put the race on the ballot. The organization cites a Florida Supreme Court advisory opinion (928 So.2d 1218, Supreme Court of Florida), which states that the “remainder of the term” for elected county officials should be calculated from the date the resignation is tendered, not the date the incumbent intends to vacate the office.

The memo referenced in Satcher's letter argues that a 2021 amendment to 99.012(3)(f), which was enacted after that opinion was rendered, specifies that the "office is deemed vacant upon the effective date of the resignation submitted by the official in his or her letter of resignation."


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  • kmskepton

    Brought to you by Team "Free Florida."

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • rayfusco68

    Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive. Logically the date of announcement that you are running for a different office should be the date new candidates for your previous position should vie for that elected office. If it appears that the resignee will lose the new election can they rescind their resignation and keep their current elected position?

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • vmccallum

    The links to the attached memo from Satcher is not working.

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • N_Alice_Newlon

    Supervisor Satcher is referring, in the logic to deny an election, to statute 99.012(3)(f) that was subsequent to the constitutional opinion referred to by the League. A statute cannot negate a constitutional provision, therefore, the constitutional opinion that an election is required to be held remains in force, despite legislative efforts to take selection of who represents them out of the hands of voters.

    The ACLU attorney that the League of Women Voters consulted to obtain the legal reason that this office should be in the election has indicated that they are not in a position to take on this case. The League has been advised that Reverend Golden, one of those wishing to run in this school board election, has obtained council to pursue this case to let the voters decide, per the constitution and per democracy, not be appointed.

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • Dawn Kitterman

    The documents should be accessible now. Please check the "memo" links again. Thank you for bringing this to our attention and we apologize for the inconvenience. :)

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • SlavaUkrainii

    An exquisite example of how Florida's election laws are specifically designed to perpetuate control by the governing politicians, not the voters.

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • san.gander

    Proof the Republicans of the Party of Florida do not care for democratic rule. The fewer elections, the better... appointed "hacks" and rewarding political cronies with public jobs, is what they do best. Not government "by the people for the people", but BUY the people - more power for themselves.

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • mforeman

    “ The attached memo was prepared by outside counsel in response to my request for guidance on this vacancy.”

    Funny, the memo is on the SOE’s letterhead and is not signed.

    Who was this outside counsel? Where is their signed legal opinion?

    Did SOE request an advisory opinion from the State Division of Elections? That would be the only opinion they could definitively rely on.

    They need to do better than this.

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • nancytsanders

    I was one of the three candidates for the District 5 school board seat. When it appeared no one at the SOE's office knew whether the vacated seat would be filled by appointment or election (as late as Tuesday of qualifying week) and continued to be told the office was waiting to hear from the SOE's attorney, I asked who the firm was. I was told the firm was Grey Robinson (813) 273-5000. I was advised the next day the decision to have the seat filled by appointment had been made and the documents referenced in this article were forwarded to me by the SOE's office. Nancy T. Sanders

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • nancytsanders

    P.S. I called the Gray Robinson Law firm to ask about the situation, was told by the woman with whom I spoke that she would research the matter and get back to me. She did not but the SOE's office did. Nancy T. Sanders, Candidate for Manatee County School Board, District 5.

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • Debann

    It's going to be another **** poor desaton appointed lackey in favor of the developers ..


    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • charliekennedy

    Lawsuit incoming….

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this