Saad to Naples council: 'I look forward to serving the balance of my term'

Saad's statement after resignation vote

After a vote of 4-3 vote by ...

— Councilman Sam Saad will continue to serve on Naples City Council.

Saad reaffirmed his earlier statements in an e-mail to city officials Wednesday night. Saad said in the e-mail that he was encouraged by family and constituents to stay on board, despite the majority of council asking him to resign.

“The encouragement I received from everyone unanimously reaffirmed my previous decision to stay on Council and serve the city of Naples,” Saad wrote. “I look forward to serving the balance of my term on the Naples City Council and working with all of you to keep Naples the premier place to live, work and raise a family.”

Saad declined further comment on the issue Thursday.

Naples City Council on Wednesday voted 4-3 to ask Saad to resign.

“It’s totally his decision,” Mayor Bill Barnett said about Saad’s decision to stay on council. “I think that he made his decision, and you have to respect his decision. This is all on him.”

The request came two weeks after Saad was photographed driving without a valid driver license by a Daily News photographer, and the same day council members questioned comments attributed to Saad on the blog Arab Racism Islamo fascism.

The Daily News hasn’t been able to independently verify the comments attributed to Saad on the blog, and has requested transcripts and video of a 2006 episode of a show during which he is said to have made the remarks.

Comments left by the Daily News on the Wordpress blog seeking elaboration of what is posted there haven’t been answered.

Saad said Wednesday the comments don’t reflect his values or the values of his family.

Councilman Doug Finlay, who voted against the resolution Wednesday, said he was “a little disappointed” that Saad decided against resigning.

“I would have thought that he would have gotten the drift of things yesterday,” Finlay said Thursday.

Finlay said his decision Wednesday wasn’t a show of support for Saad or his actions; instead he said he was concerned with the pace council was moving.

“I think the actions that council took yesterday were inappropriate and would have been much better to delay,” he said. “Under no circumstances would I have voted (for it Wednesday) ... it has the appearance of a witch hunt.”

Councilman Gary Price – who led the charge to ask for Saad’s resignation – said Thursday he hadn’t yet seen Saad’s e-mail to council and because of that didn’t feel comfortable commenting on it.

But Price did address a rumor circulating around the city that City Council members would boycott the April 7 meeting to prevent a quorum.

“No. The answer is absolutely not,” Price said when asked if he would boycott the meeting. “People put me in office to do my job.”

Finlay and Barnett both echoed Price’s comments, saying they wouldn’t boycott a meeting to prevent a quorum.

“I would not boycott a council meeting and I sit next to Sam,” Finlay said. “That would be inappropriate to delay, or not allow, the business at hand.”

Barnett said he “thinks it’s going to be business as usual” during the April 7 meeting.

The city of Naples doesn’t have a provision in its charter that allows council to discipline another council member.

Florida law does give the governor the ability to suspend elected officials from office, but that is generally extended to elected officials who are arrested on a felony or a misdemeanor related to their duties in office.

Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Gov. Charlie Crist, said Thursday that the governor has received one e-mail asking for Saad’s removal.

Voters can also ask to recall Saad from his position, but not until one-fourth of the term is completed, or in Saad’s case after one year.

Posted earlier

Naples City Councilman Sam Saad will not resign.

Saad said Wednesday night in a e-mail to Naples City Council and City Manager Bill Moss that he planned to stay on City Council. Saad said the decision came after speaking to his wife, Amy, as well as supporters throughout the city.

Naples Mayor Bill Barnett this morning said it was totally up to Saad whether to resign, and he respected his decision. Barnett said he doesn't think Wednesday's vote will have a lasting effect on Saad's relationship with council.

“I will have a relationship with him like I will any other council member,” Barnett said. “This is all on him. He has decisions to make, and we need to get on with council business.”

Barnett said he was unaware of rumors that City Council members were planning on boycotting the April 7 council meeting to prevent a quorum.

“I can't imagine any member of council doing that,” he said. “It's not like we're going on strike.”

Naples City Council on Wednesday voted 4-3 to ask Saad to resign. The request came two weeks after Saad was photographed driving without a license by a Daily News photographer, and the same day council members questioned comments reportedly made by Saad on the blog Arab Racism Islamo fascism.

The Daily News has been unable to independently verify the comments referenced on the Web site.

Saad's e-mail to Naples City Council:

From: Sam Saad

Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 23:35

To: Mayor Bill Barnett; City Council

Cc: Bill Moss

Subject: Response to Today's Resolution

Mayor and Council,

I heard your comments and concerns today and I have carefully considered them.

As I promised I would, I sat with my family and then privately with my wife to consider the right course of action.  As is no doubt true of each of you, my family is my first and highest priority.

I was also contacted by a number of people representing a wide cross section of our community.   These are the people I have taken an oath to serve.

The encouragement I received from everyone unanimously reaffirmed my previous decision to stay on Council and serve the city of Naples. I look forward to serving the balance of my term on the Naples City Council and working with all of you to keep Naples the premier place to live, work and raise a family.

Kind Regards,

Sam J. Saad III

__ Connect with Naples reporter Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster at www.naplesnews.com/staff/jenna_buzzacco

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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