Tampa City Council Members React to the Departure of Police Chief Mary O’Connor

Departure of Police Chief Mary O’Connor: In April, Charlie Miranda, a member of the city council, stated he voted for Mary O’Connor for police chief because “there was no other choice. When he cast the deciding vote to affirm her, “just one person was standing in front of me.”

The former assistant police chief Butch Delgado had Miranda’s private support, but Miranda officially backed Mayor Jane Castor’s choice. I didn’t want to further polarise the city. That’s not anything I intended to do.

On the other hand, Miranda’s thoughts turned to baseball after hearing of O’Connor’s resignation on Monday morning. A blunder is acceptable, but a mistake is not, as his instructor often emphasised.

Let me get this straight: you’ve never failed to catch a ground ball? Error. But don’t you know that there are fewer outs when the tying run is on third base? Mistake. Indeed, Chief O’Connor fits that description, Miranda added.

Police Chief Mary O'Connor
Police Chief Mary O’Connor

Departure of Police Chief Mary O’Connor

Miranda, a staunch ally of Castor’s, expressed regret that one more scandal would round out the year of City Hall turmoil. He wasn’t the only council member to express sorrow. It’s a shame. “It’s tragic,” he sighed.

Orlando Gudes and Castor, who has just formally run for reelection, have a unique friendship. Because Gudes disagreed with the mayor on some matters, he claims that she and her staff are actively working to ruin his professional reputation.

In April, when a city investigation revealed that Gudes had made a former aide’s workplace unsafe, Castor demanded that he resign. Despite Castor’s wishes, Gudes resigned as chairman but remained a council member. Gudes has been seen with the mayor at several recent civic events.

Although Gudes was one of only two council members to vote against O’Connor’s approval in April, he has stated that he will not “bash” Castor for her bad choice for police chief. And as a “godly person,” he remarked, he wouldn’t enjoy the mayor’s misfortunes.

Gudes declared, “I’m not going to do what was done to me.” The other dissenting justice, Bill Carlson, expressed his shock at the decision by text message. The act has brought shame to our once-proud city in the eyes of the world’s media.

Carlson texted, “Mistakes like this, and the ongoing civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, hurt our city’s ability to attract investment and top-tier entrepreneurs. He suggested that the mayor take heed of “this blunder” and work to unite “the council and community on vital topics” to achieve change.

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Lynn Hurtak, a council member selected to fill the vacancy left by John Dingfelder’s departure and thus absent from the deliberations when O’Connor was chosen as police chief, has stated the matter.

Unfortunately, we are here because of the choices made by former Police Chief O’Connor. A new police chief who maintains the department’s recent emphasis on community participation and officers’ mental and physical health is someone I look forward to City Council approving,” the statement continued.

Luis Viera, a member of the city council who has supported Castor on several topics since her 2019 election, recently stated that the state of Florida’s third-largest city needs to improve. “On many fronts, this whole incident has been a huge letdown. The cops and citizens of our city deserve better,” he wrote in a text message.

Viera has urged for a “smooth transition” in the selection of a new police head. The city and its police force “deserve a procedure that learns from the past and is robust, efficient, and responsible” and “as free as possible from unnecessary political volatility,” as Viera put it.

Guido Maniscalco and Joseph Citro, two council members, did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Did the Tampa Police Chief resign?

Tampa, Florida’s police chief resigned on Monday after she used her position to avoid getting a ticket when her husband’s golf cart was pulled over for a traffic violation.

What did the Tampa Police Chief do?

A police chief in Florida has resigned after a video surfaced of her demanding to be let go from a traffic check while flashing her badge. Chief Mary O’Connor of the Tampa Police Department resigned on Monday following an internal affairs probe, according to a statement released by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

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