Janet Eckermann is a nurse by profession who is on a mission of healing, but she is hoping to heal her city and not just one person.
Eckermann is going house to house by golf cart in Port Richey to circulate a petition. She’s seeking to have Port Richey Vice Mayor Terrence Rowe removed from the city council.
“Well, he’s been suspended and he’s facing multiple charges that ultimately render our council ineffective,” said Eckermann.
Rowe stepped in as Mayor after former Port Richey Mayor Dale Massad was arrested after shooting at a Pasco County Swat team who had come to his home to arrest him on charges of practicing medicine without a license.
Massad is now facing much more serious charges as a result of the shooting. Rowe was then arrested after going to jail and speaking with Massad. Rowe is now facing charges of obstruction of justice.As a result of the Port Richey City Council only has three acting members.
Port Richey’s City Manager says Rowe’s arrest does not mean he is permanently off of council.
“He was only suspended by the governor, not removed from office. He did not resign, has not resigned to this date. So, he is out in limbo, the position is out in limbo,” said City Manager Vincent Lupo.
To be successful the recall petition requires the signatures of 180 registered voters who live in Port Richey City Limits. Eckermann believes she will get that many and more.
“I’m getting a lot of signatures, a lot of people want information. There are a lot of people who haven’t been involved in the city in a very long time who are now waking up,” said Eckermann.
There will be a special election for the vacant mayor’s position on June 18th, what Eckermann is not certain of is the outcome.
“Oh goodness, I think it’s going to be a mess. I think we have a faction in Port Richey that would like to see the dissolution of the city. I do not believe that will happen,” said Eckermann.
Another issue is for the city is a recent move by city council member Dr. Richard Bloom. Dr. Bloom turned in a resignation letter for his city council seat, effective June 18, the date of the special election.
Dr. Bloom is running for the mayor’s office, but his resignation letter is nonrevocable. “Either he becomes mayor by-election, or if he loses that election he is simply off the council,” said Lupo.
It is possible that Port Richey could gain a mayor, but lose a city council member in June and still be down two city council positions.