HAINES CITY – During a private ceremony, Haines City Commissioner H.L. “Roy” Tyler was sworn into office July 15 – more than three months after losing to Claude E. Holmes II in the April 7 municipal election.
After the election, former Haines City Commissioner Donald J. Mason filed a petition to the court alleging that Holmes was ineligible to hold office because he is a convicted felon who never fully paid court fines associated with his arrest. Mason also petitioned the court to order Tyler, who was running for reelection, as winner of the election by default.
Holmes never admitted the allegations but did voluntarily give up his election victory after the allegations were made public.
Haines City Mayor Morris West and commissioners Anne Huffman and Jayne Hall requested the court call for a special election. A few dozen residents also petitioned the court for a special election. City Attorney Fred Reilly further argued in favor of a special election during a telephonic court hearing July 10.
Conversely, Tyler argued that he would like to retain his seat on the commission during the telephonic court hearing.
On July 14, Tenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Steven L. Selph signed an order which named Tyler the winner of the municipal election.
Tyler was sworn in the following day in a private ceremony.
During a Haines City Commission meeting July 16, Tyler made his first city commission votes since April. Tyler helped select Morris West for another term as mayor. Tyler also nominated Horace West to take over as vice mayor.