Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Port Richey fills one vacancy, negotiates on another

PORT RICHEY — Council members picked a new city attorney on Tuesday night and voted to begin negotiations to hire Tom O'Neill, the former New Port Richey city manager, as Port Richey's interim city manager.

Joseph Poblick, who serves as city attorney for Zephyrhills, will now provide legal services to Port Richey, too.

Mayor Richard Rober told city staffers to execute a contract on Wednesday with Poblick after the council voted unanimously to hire him. The proposed terms included a monthly retainer fee of $1,610 to cover 14 hours of work, with an hourly rate after that of $125 for transactional work and $150 for litigation.

Poblick beat out two other finalists — Palm Harbor attorney Joseph Salzman and St. Petersburg attorney Timothy Driscoll — for the spot. He will take over for outgoing City Attorney Michael Brannigan, who resigned in March after the council announced it would seek bids for the position.

Council members said they received glowing recommendations on Poblick.

"I think he is an honorable man, and I would like to go forward," council member Nancy Britton said upon making a motion to hire him.

Poblick, who has been Zephyrhills city attorney since 2006, also operates a general practice firm there. In addition to his law degree from Loyola School of Law in New Orleans, Poblick has a master's in public administration from the University of South Florida. He did not attend Tuesday's meeting and did not return a call Wednesday for comment.

The council also took another step toward putting O'Neill at the helm until a permanent city manager can be found.

For weeks, council members have debated whether to hire O'Neill as interim city manager while they wade through the process of hiring a permanent manager. On Tuesday evening, the council voted to begin negotiations with O'Neill, with the caveat that a final contract must be approved by another vote.

Only council member Terry Rowe voted against it, arguing the city should go straight into the process of hiring a permanent city manager. Police Chief Dave Brown has been serving as acting city manager since February, when the council fired Ellen Posivach after a critical audit.

"I don't see it taking that long," Rowe said of finding a permanent manager.

How much O'Neill would be paid remains up in the air. Rober said he discussed an annual salary of $84,000 to $88,000 with O'Neill. Both Rowe and council member Bill Colombo bristled at those figures as too high.

Colombo said he would like to see a bare bones offer of $6,000 month-to-month. O'Neill did not attend the meeting, but Rober said the council would be presented with exact numbers for the final vote following negotiations.

Port Richey fills one vacancy, negotiates on another 05/11/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 8:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Candle in the Wind' was the perfect song at a tragic moment

    Music & Concerts

    When's the last time you listened to the biggest pop single of the modern era?

    John’s recording of Something About the Way You Look Tonight/Candle in the Wind 1997 was certified eight times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in its first day of release in the United States.
  2. Trump decries the removal of 'beauty' as governments in Florida, other states debate Confederate monuments


    ATT: Hillsborough County Commission, other local governments and the

    Shore Acres residents adjusting to 40th Avenue bridge closure


    ST. PETERSBURG — Nina Pollauf, principal of Shore Acres Elementary School, worried last Friday when she heard about the 40th Avenue bridge closing for emergency repairs.

    A group from the engineering firm Kisinger Campo & Associates assess the situation on the 40th Avenue bridge.. LARA CERRI   |   Times
  3. Powerball jackpot climbs to $510 million, 8th largest


    DES MOINES, Iowa — The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $510 million, making it one of the largest in U.S. history.

    A store clerk pulls a Powerball ticket from the printer for a customer, Tuesday, in Hialeah, Fla. The Powerball jackpot has has rolled 18 times, since the June 14, drawing, resulting in an estimated $510 million for Wednesday night's drawing. [Associated Press]
  4. Photo of the Day for August 17, 2017 - 'Keeping a watchful eye'

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from George Capaz of Wesley Chapel, FL. The photo was taken at a small roadside lake at Bruce B. Downs Blvd and Cross Creek Blvd.