Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Port Richey city manager gets 30-day suspension after DUI charge

Tom O’Neill submitted a retirement notice, but it was rejected.

Tom O’Neill submitted a retirement notice, but it was rejected.

PORT RICHEY — City Manager Tom O'Neill was suspended from his job for 30 days Wednesday and has agreed to enter into substance-abuse treatment after prosecutors last week charged him with DUI.

The punishment will not take effect for two months.

A State Attorney's Office report released Aug. 29 revealed O'Neill had a blood alcohol level of 0.367 — more than four times the level Florida law presumes a driver is impaired — after he was taken to the hospital on July 13 when a New Port Richey police officer found him asleep behind the wheel of his sport utility vehicle.

Police did not follow through with a DUI investigation, but prosecutors took up the case after a dashboard camera video of the incident surfaced showing O'Neill with his arms draped over paramedics' shoulders as he was helped to the back of his SUV. He was unable to perform sobriety tests at the scene, according to the police officer's report.

The charge led Port Richey Mayor Eloise Taylor to call a special meeting at City Hall on Wednesday to address O'Neill's status. She began by proposing the 30-day suspension and counseling for O'Neill.

Before the meeting, O'Neill submitted a notice of retirement memo to the council that would take effect Oct. 28. The board did not accept it.

Instead, the council opted for unpaid leave effective Nov. 4. O'Neill proposed two weeks of leave, which the council later bumped up to 30 days.

O'Neill told the council he came up with that date because he thought it in the best interest of the city for him to be part of upcoming hearings on the budget and water rates.

"We do have a rather intense month ahead of us," he said.

The majority of the council praised O'Neill's job performance before the DUI charge.

"I'm not accepting this," said council member Nancy Britton, holding up O'Neill's retirement memo. "I think you are a great city manager and I'm not accepting this."

Britton later made a motion for the city's attorney to draft a resolution for a vote at a later date outlining the counseling and 30-day suspension. Before a 4-1 vote, O'Neill agreed to the requirements, though he never specifically addressed his DUI charge.

The lone vote against the motion came from Council member Terry Rowe, who called for either O'Neill's resignation or firing.

"I'm sorry, mayor, I feel the council looks very weak with this movement," Rowe said of the motion.

Port Richey city manager gets 30-day suspension after DUI charge 09/04/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 11:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida TaxWatch calls out $180 million of questionable spending in state budget

    Blogs

    Florida TaxWatch, a Tallahassee thinktank, has released its annual "budget turkey" list that calls on Gov. Rick Scott to veto nearly $180 million in special projects tucked into the budget, mostly in transportation.

    Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch's vice president for research, presents the organization's 2017 turkey list.
  2. U.S. plans first test of ICBM intercept, with North Korea on mind

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON — Preparing for North Korea's growing threat, the Pentagon will try to shoot down an intercontinental-range missile for the first time in a test next week. The goal is to more closely simulate a North Korean ICBM aimed at the U.S. homeland, officials said Friday

    n this May 21 file photo people watch a TV news program showing a file image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. With North Korea's nuclear missile threat in mind, the Pentagon is planning a missile defense test next week that for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile.
  3. A breakdown of the proposed new state budget by the Florida Association of Counties.
  4. Gradebook podcast: Budgets, pre-k, achievement gap and more

    Blogs

    As classes let out across Florida, school district leaders continue to analyze how they're going to balance their budgets given the constraints proposed by state lawmakers.  Reporter Jeff Solochek and editor Tom Tobin discuss the concerns district finance officials are raising as they look at the budget while …

  5. Boehner: Trump's term 'disaster,' aside from foreign affairs

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON — Former House Speaker John Boehner says that aside from international affairs and foreign policy, President Donald Trump's time in office has so far been a "complete disaster."

    John Boehner said he's been friends with Trump for 15 years, but still has a hard time envisioning him as president.