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Emergency hearing called in Midway

Charles Willis
Posted at 5:32 PM, Apr 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-25 13:36:07-04

UPDATE: 4/24/13 5:13 p.m.

QUINCY, Fla. (WTXL)— Midway city leaders are due in court Thursday for an emergency hearing.

Last week a Gadsden County Judge said Mayor Pro-temp Charles Willis must be removed from the April 29 ballot. The judge says Willis is ineligible to be on the ballot because he lives outside of the district 4 that he represents.

Tuesday night the council voted 4-3 to appeal the judge's ruling. Among those that voted was Charles Willis himself. Had Willis not voted, it would have been a tie.

An emergency hearing was ordered for Thursday at 2:30 p.m. The judge will explain to the council members that they must abide by his orders. If they fail to do so they could be held in contempt of court.

We will be covering this hearing on air and online tomorrow.

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QUINCY, Fla. (WTXL) -- Midway Mayor Pro-temp Charles Willis is now serving his final days on the city council.

A Gadsden County judge ruled Friday morning that Willis is no longer eligible to remain on the ballot for the upcoming April 30 election. Willis was seeking re-election for his District 4 council seat.

Leslie Steel is among those who filed a petition for an emergency hearing, saying Willis has been breaking city charter by living outside of the district that he represents.

After hearing testimony from a number of individuals, including former city manager Auburn Ford, a judge agreed, finding enough evidence to support Willis was living outside of his district and no longer qualifies to represent District 4. According to the City of Midway's charter, a candidate can only run for a district seat where they reside and they must continue to live there throughout their term in office.

The Gadsden County Supervisor of Elections qualifying documents show willis used a P.O. box for his address back in March.

"The sad thing is he's been in office for 14 years, he knows what's right, he knows what he's doing, he's intentionally misleading the citizens of midway and he should do what's right by our city and be fair and drop out of this race," Leslie Steele told WTXL on April 9.

When reached by phone Friday, Willis responded to questioning from WTXL with "no comment.".

Now as the only name on the ballot, the seat is presumed to be filled by Willis' opponent, Samuel Stevens.