- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

MIAMI, Jan. 17 (UPI) — Broward County Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant refused to resign Friday, and Gov. Jeb Bush thwarted efforts by the county commission to suspend her.

"I will not be resigning. I have plans that I have to continue on," Oliphant said.

The commission canceled a meeting set for later in the day after the Republican Governor said he could not suspend the Democratic elected official because she had broken no laws.

"I have a duty to adhere to the law, and the law for suspension is criminal activity, where there's an indictment or malfeasance," Bush said.

"Incompetency certainly could be an accusation. She could be accused of that. She's not accused of something that would allow me to suspend her," he said.

Commissioners said they wanted to resolve the problem in time to run primary municipal elections Feb. 11 in Fort Lauderdale and Dania Beach, Fla.

The State Attorney's Office is investigating allegations of mismanagement and voting irregularities.

Although she was not involved in the 2000 presidential election fiasco, she is accused of going $1 million over budget and losing hundreds of ballots in the Sept. 10 primary election.

The Nov. 5 primary election went smoothly, but only with the help of the commission who provided additional manpower, including some at the management level.

In another development, former community relations director Bob Cantrell filed suit against Oliphant Friday, charging her with violating whistle blower laws.

He was fired three days before he was scheduled to answer questions by prosecutors in the state attorney's investigation.

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