I think most lawyers would agree that some cases are simply more interesting than others. Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege of working on one of those interesting cases. It involves an attempted recall of two directors who were on the Board of a Hollywood Condominium association. I represented the owners seeking the recall.
To make a long story short, the owners served the association with enough recall ballots to require the Board of Directors to hold a meeting within five days to decide whether or not to certify the recall. Florida Statute 718.112 requires the meeting to be held within five days, exclusive of weekends and holidays.
The Board of Directors did not hold the meeting within five days. They held the meeting on day six. Their excuse was that during the five day period there was a holiday on June 3rd that is recognized by Florida Statute 683.01 as a holiday in the State of Florida. Therefore, they were allowed one extra day. So what is that holiday you ask? Get ready? Hold on. It’s Jefferson Davis’ birthday. You may remember him as a soldier and politician who also happened to be The President of The Confederate States of America at the time of the Civil War. Impossible you say that Florida still recognizes his birthday as a holiday? Wrong. Not only is Jefferson Davis’ birthday recognized as a holiday in Florida but so is the birthday of Confederate General Robert E. Lee (January 19th) and Confederate Memorial Day (April 26th).
So here we are in Florida…..with a State holiday that honors men whose goal it was to dissolve and overthrow the government of the United States of America, kill as many United States Soldiers as they can and to make sure blacks remain as slaves. We actually still have a state holiday that honors these men.
Fortunately for my clients The Rules of Procedure Governing Recall Arbitration specifically states that the only holidays that allow for extensions of time are those holidays found in a different Florida Statute, 110.117, and that statute (mandatory paid holidays) does not include Jefferson Davis’ birthday. So, the Board was late and my clients prevailed. I say this not to gloat, but to point out that while the country was bashing South Carolina for the display of the confederate flag, at least that state took action and took the flag down. Florida still has a law on the books that honors these traitors, but just won’t pay you if you decide to take the day off to celebrate. Now, let’s see if Florida will remove Jefferson Davis’ birthday, Robert E. Lee’s birthday and Confederate Memorial Day from its list of state sponsored holidays.
I am calling on The Governor or anyone from The Florida Legislature to act immediately to right this wrong, regardless of which side of the aisle you sit on.
If you are reading this blog and agree, send an e-mail to Governor Scott by clicking here. Tell the Governor: “I am appalled that pursuant to Florida Statute 683.01, Florida officially recognizes the birthday of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Confederate Memorial Day. These men sought to overthrow our government and keep blacks enslaved and it is disgraceful that their birthdays are considered state holidays. As Governor, I urge you to take immediate steps to repeal this legislation immediately.”