Apopka mayor refuses to step down after launch of recall petition

Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson is reacting to a petition to recall him from office. After five years as mayor, he said he is not bending.

"It hurts to you to know that there are people out there that think you’ve done such a poor job that you deserve to be recalled," Mayor Nelson told FOX 35 News.

Apopka resident Dennis New said there are various reasons why he wants Mayor Nelson out, and that’s why he’s been busy collecting signatures. "Mismanagement with the City of Apopka," he said, adding that there needs to be more planned development in Apopka.

New also accuses the mayor of firing employees who disagree with him and support his political opponents. He even likened Nelson to a "dictator."

"Obviously, [I] take it seriously, but a lot of the issues they bring up have no bearing and some of them are out-and-out lies," the mayor responded. "That’s beneath anybody to say I want to be a dictator. It takes three votes for anything to pass to city council."


"The Charter plainly states, the Council has the ability through both the Attorney and City Clerk to terminate them," New explained. 

New said a prime example is the mayor keeping the fire chief on, even though firefighters had a vote of no confidence in him.  "The fact that the mayor wants to keep him on, shows his blatant ignorance to the fact that the man is unable to be a fire chief." 

But Nelson argues, "The fire department is in a much better place than we were a year ago. I think the Chief will be the first to admit we’ve got some things we need to still accomplish."

That includes developing standard operating procedures in all departments. When Nelson started five years ago, he said there were only $8 million in reserves, and now there are $30 million.  "We have managed the taxpayer's dollar appropriately. Dennis News got an ax to grind."

"My ultimate goal is to have leadership in the city that is honest, has integrity, and is transparent," New told us.  

According to New, he needs to collect around 1,800 signatures as the first step and then around 5,000 later on to get a special election.