Clearwater official resigns after supposed drunken golf cart incident

Image 1 of 3

A leader within the city of Clearwater was forced to resign from his position, after being involved in a fight outside a downtown bar and restaurant on Saturday.

Community Redevelopment Agency Director Seth Taylor, 38, was spotted on surveillance cameras at the Clear Sky restaurant on Cleveland Street driving a city golf cart up and down the sidewalk during Oktoberfest last Saturday night.

Witnesses said Taylor had a drink in his hand and appeared to be intoxicated.

He crashed into outdoor furniture and a potted plant that he said was in his way. He got into an argument with a manager at Clear Sky, and Taylor was asked to leave.

Before doing so, he confronted a customer seated outside who was recording him on his cellphone.

Taylor asked the man, "What are you, a Scientologist?" Shortly after, he walked over to the man's table and grabbed him by the neck, knocking him out of his seat, according to Clearwater Police.

"That behavior was completely unbecoming of any city employee," said City Manager Bill Horne on Wednesday. "This kind of behavior comes with consequences, because of the position we're in. We're held to a higher standard."

Taylor has resigned from his city position. In his role as community redevelopment director, Taylor's job was to bring commercial and housing developments to downtown Clearwater.

He was hired by the city last July on a $96,820 annual salary.

According to Horne, he did not have any prior behavioral issues related to work.

In a written letter to Horne, Taylor acknowledged his lapse in judgment.

He wrote, "It is difficult to put into words the shame and embarrassment I feel," adding that he's, "seeking treatment for [his] mental health, as well as a program to live a healthier and more productive life."

Horne said, "When I talked to him, he expressed complete ownership of the incident that occurred and his misconduct. He's been very consistent in that regard. He has not denied really making a serious mistake."

The assistant city manager will help fill Taylor's role until the city finds a permanent replacement. Taylor is facing an assault charge.

The victim, who spoke to FOX 13 off camera on Wednesday, is a veteran and said he would like to see Taylor volunteer at a veteran's facility as part of his punishment.