Christopher O'Donnell, Vulnerable Communities Reporter

Christopher O'Donnell

Vulnerable Communities Reporter

I’m a political junkie and I love literature so this job fits like a glove. But journalism wasn’t my first career. I was born and grew up in England and programmed computers for a living. I switched to reporting when I moved to Florida in 2001. I got my first break at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune after earning a journalism degree from the University of South Florida. I joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2016 after a three-year stint at the Tampa Tribune, where I covered city halls on both sides of Tampa Bay. When I’m not shouting at cable news, I love watching real football from England (alright, soccer) and riding my road bike on trails.

Orlando Gudes, Jeffrey Rhodes vie for District 5 seat in Tampa council runoff election

Orlando Gudes, left, faces Jeffrey Rhodes, right, for the Tampa City Council District 5 seat. [Gudes Campaign  |  Rhodes Campaign]
Voters will choose between Gudes, a retired police officer, and Rhodes, a funeral home director.

St. Petersburg housing agency accuses Mayor Rick Kriseman of interference, threatens lawsuit

The St. Petersburg Housing Authority is warning Mayor Rick Kriseman, left,  that the agency will sue the city if he moves ahead with a plan to remeove three of its board members for lax oversight. It comes after the agency was cited by the federal government for allowing CEO Tony Love, right, to stay in a low-income apartment for nine months in 2016.
Housing Authority board authorizes attorney to sue the city if Kriseman continues with plan to remove three board members.

Benches were removed from a downtown Tampa park. Is it to keep the homeless away?

Robert Allen Doyle,60, along with others who attend the twice weekly homeless feedings by Food Not Bombs are forced to sit on the ground after city workers removed all the park benches from Lykes Gaslight Square Park a month ago and replaced the benches with planters.     [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]
The city of Tampa last month removed the benches from Lykes Gaslight Square Park for renovation. Homeless advocates say the intent was to drive out homeless people.

Consultant got $3,600 to teach St. Pete housing CEO to be nicer, stop screaming at staff

St. Petersburg Housing Authority CEO Tony Love seen during a February board meeting. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
In 2017 the consultant coached St. Petersburg Housing Authority CEO Tony Love on how to treat staff better. But the complaints haven’t stopped.

Hillsborough foster care agency hires former interim DCF secretary

Former interim Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Rebecca Kapusta has been hired by Eckerd Connects to oversee its foster care operation in Hillsborough County. [DCF]
The Florida Commission on Ethics says the hiring does not violate rules that are supposed to prevent state employees that awarded contracts from working for the agencies that won those contracts.