Madeira Beach fire chief broke law, judge says

Derryl O’Neal must pay a fine and reimburse the city for storing his Jet Ski on city property
Published December 6

MADEIRA BEACH — Fire Chief Derryl O’Neal may be facing a $4,320 fine and bill for docking his personal watercraft on city property.

A state administrative law judge recently found that O’Neal violated a city ordinance and state law by storing his Jet Ski on a city-owned lift over a two-year period.

Judge Robert Cohen ruled that O’Neal should reimburse the city’s marina $2,320 for two years of unpaid wet storage fees, as well as pay a $2,000 fine to the state.

In March, the state Commission on Ethics found probable cause against O’Neal and referred the matter to the state Division of Administrative Hearings where O’Neal said he kept his Jet Ski on city property so he could supervise water rescue training for new firefighters.

“I never intended to do anything wrong,” said O’Neal.

The ethics commission will consider the administrative law judge’s recommended action at a future meeting.

The initial complaint against O’Neal was made by Madeira Beach resident Robert Preston.

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