A potential candidate for North Miami City Clerk claims that she was intentionally disqualified when she attempted to file her application Tuesday afternoon.
Janet Reed said that she arrived at North Miami City Hall before the noon filing deadline with her documentation and began the process of qualifying for the position at about 11:30 a.m. Reed was missing a necessary second form of identification to complete the application so she stepped out to get it.
When she returned with her utility bill, she said City Clerk Michael Etienne told Deputy Clerk Stephanie Thomas, who is acting as the city’s supervisor of elections because of Etienne’s candidacy, to process another candidate’s application first and that by the time staff was available to continue processing her application, it was past 12 p.m.
“They took their own sweet time in processing the paperwork and then willfully decided not to allow me to become a candidate by stalling the time at the clerk’s request,” Reed said.
Etienne, who is now the only candidate running for city clerk in the May 12 election, denied Reed’s claim that he influenced the deputy clerk’s decision, and also disputes the timetable.
“It was [Thomas’s] decision to make and no one else intervened,” Etienne said. “She simply had to follow the rules and the letter of the law.”
Etienne said that the other candidate, former Councilman Jean Marcellus who is running for mayor, began his qualifying process right after Reed left to get her necessary paperwork, which he said was closer to 11:50 a.m. By the time she returned, Etienne said, it was already past the deadline.
“Marcellus was not given preference as far as I was told,” Etienne said.
North Miami is one of a few cities in Florida that elects its city clerk, Etienne has served in the position since 2011.
Reed said she has already contacted the Miami-Dade Elections Department. Christina White, the department’s chief deputy supervisor of elections said the department advised Reed to reach out to the city clerk’s office or the state’s division of elections.
“We didn’t offer any other assistance in the case,” White said.
Reed said she will also contact the Miami-Dade County ethics commission.