Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis after arrest

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order on Monday suspending Regina Hill as an Orlando commissioner days after her arrest

DeSantis' decision to suspend the embattled District 5 commissioner is in accordance with Florida law, which gives the governor power to remove an elected official from office should they be indicted by a grand jury. Hill was indicted by a grand jury last week on charges related to elderly exploitation and fraud. 

Hill showed up — like usual — to the Orlando City Council's board workshop ahead of their regularly scheduled board meeting. When the meeting was adjourned, she exited through a back door from the commission chamber. 

About 15 minutes before the board meeting was scheduled to start, DeSantis announced her suspension. Hill never returned once that meeting started. 

"As a city, our focus is making sure the residents of District 5 are appropriately served and represented," said Mayor Buddy Dyer. 

Dyer addressed the suspension when the meeting started. He announced the city is looking to hold a special election to fill the District 5 seat in May. 

Here's a look at the Florida statues DeSantis referenced in his announcement on Monday:

  • Article IV, section 7(c) of the Florida Constitution states: "[b]y order of the governor any elected municipal officer indicted for crime may be suspended from office until acquitted and the office filled by appointment for the period of suspension, not to extend beyond the term, unless these powers are vested elsewhere by law or the municipal charter."
  • Section 112.51(1), Florida Statutes, provides that the Governor may suspend from office any elected municipal officer for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness, incompetence, or permanent inability to perform official duties.
  • Section 112.51(2), Florida Statutes, provides that the Governor may suspend from office any elected municipal officer who is indicted or informed against for the commission of a state felony or misdemeanor.

Late Monday evening, Hill released a statement through the District 5 community email: 

"As I navigate through these challenging times, I want to assure the residents of District 5 that our team's commitment to your needs and well-being stands firm. The office remains operational and fully equipped to provide the support you need, so please don't hesitate to contact them at district5@orlando.gov or by calling 407-246-2005 for any assistance.

"My confidence in the integrity of the legal process and faith in God is unwavering, and I'm deeply moved by the support from our community. This support is a constant reminder of the strength and resilience that defines District 5, and it fuels my continued dedication to serving and uplifting every community member through these trying times. I will wait for my day in court when I'll be able to prove my innocence and that I always acted in good faith."