Stuart, FL - Stuart Mayor Eula Clarke, who had made a derogatory "pig" comment to a city police officer, was forced to step down as Mayor just prior to being fired. However, she can't easily be removed from her position as commissioner, and she refuses to leave that position.
The City Commission met on Monday and all four of the other Commission members called for Eula Clarke’s resignation. They scheduled what they are calling a ‘re-organization’ meeting at 5 PM Wednesday when they were to vote to remove Eula Clarke as Mayor. Forced to step down, Eula Clarke remains on as a commissioner. Mayor Tom Campenni has taken over the position of Mayor.
According to the commission, the only way for her to be removed then as a commissioner is to be removed by Governor Rick Scott, resign, or have 10% of the city voters sign to have her removed.
The comment that sparked outrage came on January 11th. According to the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association, Officer Ed Fitzgerald was in Taylor’s Grocery speaking to the store clerk when Mayor Clarke walked in. Upon entering and seeing the officer she said, “I didn’t know we were serving pig tonight.” Officer Fitzgerald left the store, very upset at the offensive comment made by Mayor Clarke.
Eula Clarke came under sharp scrutiny for the incident. She tried to avoid questions on whether it actually happened during a recent interview with WPTV.
When a local reporter tried to interview Eula Clarke about the incident, she begun by trying to skirt the details. “So what happened on January the 11 involving a Stuart police officer?,” he asked.
“Andrew, I told you I want to make a short statement to the public,” she said.
He tries again by asking her, “Did you make a reference to a pig in reference to a Stuart police officer?”
“Again, I’m telling you that I support law enforcement,” she replied. She scrambled to dodge the direct questions but later backtracked and said, “It happened. That was something that happened. It’s done with. I want to move on. I want the officers to work for our community. I want them to believe in what I do as mayor. To believe in what they do for their jobs. I just want to make sure that they know I have their backs,” she said.
Eula Clarke continued to say that she had met with the officer and “expressed to him how sorry it is that this unfortunate event happened.”
Clarke has since issued further statements, claiming that “pig” was being used to refer to meat, not a derogatory term. “The words have been said. I use that word when referring to certain meat products. It’s one of those things,” she said at Monday’s commission meeting, as some in the audience heckled. “I hear you, I am telling you. I’m sorry. That’s not the instance that that was used.”
City Commissioner Troy McDonald did not receive her apology well and called her on it by saying, “At the same time you were apologizing, you started to try to back off and say, ‘Well I was talking about pork products’ or ‘meat products,’ which makes me question your sincerity at this point. That’s troubling.”
Some locals, perhaps unfamiliar with Clarke's acknowledgement that she made a derogatory comment, are trying to claim that it was a big misunderstanding.
No matter what excuses people try to make now, Eula Clarke's intention seems clear; she was openly disrespectful towards law enforcement, and admitted it. However, you can't apologize your way out of your attitude towards your city's officers.
For those who aren't aware, calling for Eula Clarke's resignation is not cyber-bullying. If she wants to be a politician then she needs to know that she's going to be openly criticized for her actions. And this claim apparently forgets the fact that she was caught bullying a police officer.
At this time, it appears that Governor Rick Scott is the only person able to remove Eula Clark from office. Please share this story and ask people to call the Governor's office to have Eula Clarke removed.
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