In a matter of minutes, Spring Hill leaders quickly shot down a resolution Monday night that would have initiated a lawsuit to determine whether or not Alderman Hazel Nieves had violated the city charter by temporarily residing outside of her ward.
During a Sept. 21 Spring Hill city meeting, City Attorney Patrick Carter revealed that it had come to the attention of the board through an anonymous tip that Nieves had been temporarily living outside of her ward, Ward 4. Carter explained that in doing so, Nieves could have potentially violated the city’s charter, which would result in her being removed as alderman.
Nieves firmly denied the allegation that she had potentially violated the city’s charter, explaining that she had sold her home within her ward and purchased a new, still under construction home within the same ward. It was due to the coronavirus pandemic, she explained, that led to the completion of her new home being delayed.
Since April 22, Nieves said she had temporarily resided at her two children’s homes, both of whom live in Spring Hill, though one resides in a different ward.
Spring Hill leaders shoot down measure to initiate lawsuit
Before city leaders were able to speak on the resolution, a total of 26 public comments were read aloud for more than 45 minutes, with every single comment urging city leaders to not pursue the removal of Nieves.
Aldermen Matt Fitterer, John Canepari and Kevin Gavigan have also voiced their opinion that Nieves did not violate the city’s charter in past comments or social media posts.
With Mayor Rick Graham not present during the meeting, Vice Mayor Amy Wurth read the resolution aloud, with Fitterer immediately proposing to table the measure. As a proposal to table a resolution does not allow for further discussion, city leaders immediately went to a vote.