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Judge rules for candidate in resign-to-run case

A judge on Monday denied a petition to disqualify Eugene Flinn from Tuesday's ballot to replace Katy Sorenson on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

Citing Florida's resign-to-run law, attorney and political activist Stephen M. Cody sued Flinn last week for not resigning from his post as mayor of Palmetto Bay before running for county office. Flinn said he did not need to resign because he is term-limited and his term as mayor would not overlap with a potential term as county commissioner.

Circuit Judge Ronald Friedman let Flinn remain on the ballot last week and said he would likely not rule on the case before Tuesday's election.

In an order denying Cody's petition Monday, Friedman wrote that there could be no overlap because Flinn was sworn in as mayor on Nov. 7, 2002. The Palmetto Bay charter says the mayor can only serve a maximum of eight consecutive years, which would mean Flinn's last day would be Nov. 6, 2010 -- 10 days before county commissioners would get sworn in.

"Therefore there can be no overlapping of office and therefore no formal resignation would be required for him to seek the office of County Commissioner," Friedman wrote.

The judge not address a lingering question on timing with Palmetto Bay's elections: If there is a runoff in the village's mayoral race, it would not take place until Nov. 16 -- again, 10 days after the end of Flinn's term according to Friedman's ruling.

"While I respect the judge, I think he's wrong," said Cody, adding that he was "a little surprised" by the order. "We may leave it to the appellate court to sort it out."