Port St. Lucie Assistant City Attorney Gabrielle Taylor fired in suspected drinking, driving case

PORT ST. LUCIE — Assistant City Attorney Gabrielle Taylor has been fired, confirmed Mayor JoAnn Faiella Thursday, after a mid-February incident where police stopped Taylor under the suspicion of drinking and driving but never cited her or gave her a field sobriety tests.

The announcement was made on the eve of a special meeting scheduled by City Council to question city and police officials on the events surrounding Taylor's traffic stop.

Despite Taylor's termination, Faiella said the meeting will still take place.

"We're moving forward with the meeting tomorrow," Faiella said.

Faiella said there still needs to be a discussion on accountability and questions need to be answered.

Taylor was originally given a 5-day suspension without pay for the off-duty incidents which violated city rules and regulations. She also signed a "last chance" agreement that stated if she engaged in similar behavior again in the next two years she would be terminated.

Taylor, 45, was stopped by Officer N. Lovechio after she was seen speeding at 60 mph and swerving eastbound on Port St. Lucie Boulevard and northbound on U.S. 1, according to a memo written by the officer.

It states Lovechio could smell the odor of alcohol as he approached Taylor's car, and when he recognized the assistant city attorney, he noticed her speech was slurred and her eyes bloodshot.

Although the memo states Lovechio believed Taylor was impaired due to alcohol, she was not given a field sobriety test nor was she cited or arrested. Instead, a police officer drove her home.

In Taylor's written response to the memo, she said she was "terribly sorry" she inadvertently caused the city to be publicly criticized.

Taylor was hired by the city in June 2006 by City Attorney Roger Orr.

Orr has been publicly criticized by some residents for hiring Taylor despite her work history, which shows she left two previous jobs after alcohol-related incidents, according to public documents and newspaper reports. In 2005, she first resigned as general counsel for the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and then was fired from the same position with Nassau County.

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