Fighting for Her Job

A suspended elections supervisor is fighting to keep her job as a special master listened to testimony in Tallahassee Monday. Sarasota Elections Supervisor Kathy Dent was on the hot seat for more than four hours.

Dent was part of the state assembled team sent to Broward County to determine if Miriam Olifant's elections office was prepared for a special election this past January and the March primary.

Oliphant was suspended by Gov. Jeb Bush after the team’s report showed problems with poll worker recruitment, yet testimony shows research into the process of suspending Oliphant took place before the report was finished. Dent says there was no hidden agenda.

The first day of testimony in Tallahassee was contentious. Henry Hunter, who is representing Oliphant, says Dent's testimony proved there was a rush to judgment.

Special master Steve Kahn has no timetable to make a recommendation, and Oliphant has filed paperwork to seek re-election.

Ironically, 1987 was the last time the Senate tried a local official. It disagreed with the governor's suspension of Leon Elections Supervisor Jan Pietrick and reinstated him to office.

The 1986 trial of Jan Pietrzyk was prosecuted by Peter Antonacci, the same man who is prosecuting Miriam Oliphant.