O'Neal leaving commission for W.Va. job

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Pat O'Neal has announced his resignation from the City Commission effective July 17 to accept a job as lead economic development specialist for the Small Business Administration in Clarksburg, W. Va.

He announced the move in an email and tendered his resignation at Tuesday's combined Community Redevelopment Agency-City Commission meeting. 

O'Neal won election to the commission in May after losing his seat to Dale Register in 2011 after serving three terms. He has also served as mayor of Cedar Key and as emergency manager for the island. 

He brings to the job experience as executive director for the Levy County Business Development Council and Levy County Enterprise Zone Development Agency.  He has also served on the North Florida Broadband Authority since its inception and is the vice chairman. O'Neal was a member of the Gulf Oil Spill Committee representing the Florida League of Cities, Cedar Key and Levy County during the 2011 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 

O'Neal has served as first vice president for the Suwannee River League of Cities, director of the North Florida Economic Partnership, and is an active member of the   Community Development Society; Florida Economic Development Council; International Economic Development Council; Alpha Zeta—Agricultural Leadership Fraternity.

O'Neal is a graduate of Gainesville High School, has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Arkansas; recieved his law degree from the University of Florida, and has done post graduate work in International Relations, Human Resource Development, and Program Planning and Evaluation, Community Development Institute. He also did post graduate study in law at St. Edmund’s Hall, Oxford, England.

The commission will choose his replacement. 

According to the Municipal Charter, Article 2, Section 6, Part B: If a vacancy occurs in the city commission from any cause 90 days or more prior to a general election, the vacancy may be filled by the city commission appointing a qualified person to fill such vacancy until the following general election which follows said vacancy. In case of a vacancy, such appointment shall be only until the next general election of the city and the election shall be for the unexpired term.


Anyone appointed to the position would serve until the next general election which, according to the charter, can be scheduled by the commission between the first Tuesday in May and the last Tuesday in June.

The requirements for a commissioner, according to the charter, include:

• must be a qualified voter who is a resident of the city for at least six months prior to the date the person qualifies to run for office, and

• shall continuously reside within the city during their terms of office.