Mar 17, 2022 - News

Controversial police chief candidate up for vote

Mary O'Connor. Photo: City of Tampa

Leadership of the Tampa Police Department hangs in the balance as the City Council votes Thursday on Mayor Castor's controversial police chief pick, Mary O'Connor.

The intrigue: O'Connor has been running the department since last month despite lacking a mandate to do so.

Catch up quick: The five weeks since Mayor Castor nominated O'Connor for the job have been choppy.

  • O'Connor addressed a DUI charge 27 years ago that led to her firing from the Tampa Police Department.
  • Castor was criticized for not taking public input before making her pick between O'Connor, interim chief Butch Delgado and Miami Police Department assistant chief Cherise Gause.
  • City Council learned during a meeting that O'Connor was already running the police department before a vote.
  • Then, council members suggested Castor's administration ran a pressure campaign to sway their opinions.

Plus: The council will vote today without now-ex member John Dingfelder, who resigned last week. At least four votes are required for confirmation.

But, but, but: Even the Times editorial board, which criticized Castor's method, said the council should confirm O'Connor.

Zoom in: Council member Charlie Miranda told the Times he's made up his mind, but wouldn't say how he'll vote.

  • Chairperson Orlando Gudes and members Bill Carlson, Luis Viera, Guido Maniscalco and Joe Citro either wouldn't say or said they hadn't made up their minds. When Castor announced O'Connor as her pick, Citro said he didn't think he could confirm her.
  • If the council rejects O'Connor, Castor has 90 days to resubmit her or submit another candidate.

It's the first agenda item for Thursday's 9am meeting.


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