Category Archives: Articles about Madeira Beach

Fire chief poised to become city manager in Madeira Beach

Fire chief poised to become city manager in Madeira Beach

By Sheila Mullane Estrada, Times Correspondent

MADEIRA BEACH — Fire Chief and acting City Manager Derryl O’Neal may be appointed permanent city manager Tuesday, a move that echoes much of the city’s conflicted political history.

The City Commission was slated to discuss whether and how to begin a city manager search during its workshop on July 25, but Mayor Maggi Black put a quick halt to that when she proposed giving O’Neal the permanent job.

“From my standpoint, it comes down to whether at the next meeting Chief O’Neal will accept the permanent position, and, if he would, then we would have no need for a search,” Black said, adding that O’Neal is “doing the job well.”

“I agree,” Commissioner Nancy Oakley said.

The full commission then agreed to put O’Neal’s appointment on Tuesday’s agenda. If his appointment fails, the commission will then decide whether to hire an outside organization to conduct a search.

Oakley, along with Black and Commissioner John Douthirt, was elected in March on a platform of halting large-scale development in the city.

They frequently act as a team against Commissioners Terry Lister and Nancy Hodges, who support pending hotel developments in the downtown area.

When Black suggested the commission name O’Neal as the permanent city manager and forego performing any statewide or national search for candidates, Lister’s reaction was immediate and loudly drawn out: “Whaaaat?”

This week Lister said he is strongly opposed to O’Neal becoming the city’s manager, adding that Black’s evaluation of O’Neal’s ability is “absolutely not true”.

Lister and Hodges opposed O’Neal’s appointment as acting city manager, and vehemently opposed the earlier firing of former City Manager Shane Crawford — an action pushed by newly elected Black, Oakley and Douthirt.

Crawford was eventually allowed to resign and was given a severance package that when combined with his wife’s (former City Clerk Cheryl Crawford) severance was valued at $125,000.

O’Neal, 57, is a member of the Cross Bridge Church, the Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge, serving as a past district deputy grand master. He is also a member of the Center for Public Safety Excellence, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Florida League of Cities, and the International City Manager Association.

O’Neal has never been a city manager, but holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a master’s degree in public administration and is close to completing a doctoral degree in business administration.

He began his firefighting career in 1979, working for Pasco County Emergency Services.

Ironically, O’Neal himself has had a checkered history in Madeira Beach since he was first appointed fire chief in 2001.

In 2006, O’Neal came under fire, accused of creating a hostile work environment within the fire department. Following an investigation into the allegations by the city’s firefighter union, then-City Manager Jill Silverboard found no significant evidence that the complaints were valid, but required O’Neal to complete a “corrective action plan” or face “immediate suspension and/or discharge.”

O’Neal was fired in 2009 by then-city manager W.D. Higginbotham Jr. for alleged insubordination, following complaints from Belleair Bluffs officials over O’Neal’s perceived interference in a then-pending fire services referendum in that city.

At the time, O’Neal was meeting with a group of fire chiefs considering plans for the creation of a public safety improvement district that would consolidate area fire services.

In November 2011, O’Neal returned to Madeira Beach, hired by then-interim City Manager Jim Madden as interim fire chief while continuing to serve as fire chief for the city of Minneola.

In March 2012, Crawford, shortly after he was hired as permanent city manager, appointed O’Neal as the official city’s fire chief.

Two Madeira Beach Woman Appointed to VISIT FLORIDA committees

VISIT FLORIDA’s Board of Directors established committees to enhance and maximize industry input toward fulfilling VISIT FLORIDA’s commitment to being “industry-led.”  With this being said, Madeira Beach has two voices on committees to fully represent our beaches. Missy H. Hahn, president of the Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce, was appointed to the… Continue Reading

New Madeira Beach commission off to a chaotic start

New Madeira Beach commission off to a chaotic start

By WAYNE AYERS, TBN Correspondent Weekly workshops will be held ‘to work things out’ MADEIRA BEACH – The April 11 Madeira Beach City Commission meeting agenda appeared made to order for a newly-installed commission majority getting a first experience at governing. One page long, it listed, besides installation of the elected officials and selection of… Continue Reading

Plans for Madeira Beach Town Center have been approved

Plans for Madeira Beach Town Center have been approved

 By Laurie Davison, Reporter Bay News 9 MADEIRA BEACH — Madeira Beach City Commissioners have approved plans for the Madeira Beach Town Center, which is a major development set to go up at the city’s gateway entrance. New entertainment center approved for Madeira Beach Center will include hotels, condos and a low-rise marina building It will… Continue Reading

Epilogue: Longtime Madeira Beach public servant Patricia Shontz

Epilogue: Longtime Madeira Beach public servant Patricia Shontz

By Sheila Mullane Estrada, Times Correspondent MADEIRA BEACH — If ever there was an institution embodied by one person, for Madeira Beach that person was Pat Shontz, who died Jan. 19 at the age of 83. “She had a great love for this city,” said longtime friend and business associate Art Broderick. “In the many… Continue Reading

Madeira Beach developments to be reduced in size

Madeira Beach developments to be reduced in size

By WAYNE AYERS Article published on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 – Tampa Bay Newspapers MADEIRA BEACH – Two major developments planned for the city’s east gateway corridor are being downsized. They are the Madeira Beach Town Center, which will redevelop the area along 150th Avenue and part of Madeira Way to Gulf Boulevard, and the… Continue Reading

Madeira Beach to hold tax rate steady

Madeira Beach to hold tax rate steady

By Sheila Mullane Estrada, Times Correspondent MADEIRA BEACH — Despite spending more than $10 million on a new city hall, fire station and recreational complex in recent years and $9.7 million in new general fund spending planned for next year, the city’s proposed property tax rate remains unchanged. Nonetheless, property owners will be paying a… Continue Reading