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Port Richey fails to fill council seat at Thursday's meeting

Candidates spoke on why they should be on council
Posted at 10:45 PM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 23:18:24-04

PORT RICHEY, Fla. — The Port Richey City Council held a council meeting on Thursday to hear from residents who want to fill-in on city council.

The city manager, Vincent Lupo, said the city is looking to fill a council member seat. The vacant mayor's seat will be filled during a special election on June 18, according to the city manager.

Port Richey's former mayor, Dale Massad, was arrested in February accused of shooting at swat members who were serving a search warrant at his home. Authorities said Massad was practicing medicine without a license. He resigned after his arrest.

Terry Rowe, who had been vice mayor, stepped into Massad's role. He was also arrested. Authorities said he conspired with Massad to intimidate a witness.

The two arrests left an open council seat.

On Thursday night, residents had three minutes to convince the council why they should join.

"Most of all, I listen to the people. I believe that listening to the people is very important," said Janet Eckermann, a possible city council candidate.

"I am a registered nurse, an educator. I teach nursing at a local college and I’ve been a nurse for some 40 years. I love the city of Port Richey," she added.

"I have no prior criminal records. I'll start off with that, I have two speeding tickets in my life," said Todd Maklary, another possible city council candidate.

In order to be eligible for an interim city council member, candidates must be registered voters, must have no felony convictions and physically reside in the City of Port Richey for 12 months.

City Council could not come to an agreement on nominations at the meeting.

Lupo said he hopes council members can come to an agreement at the next meeting on April 10.

"Between now and the next meeting, perhaps, events will soften people's views and they might come up with a candidate that's acceptable to the majority of the council, it's the only logic sane thing to do," said Lupo.