Two months, nearly to the day, since his arrest on DUI and related charges, Port St. Joe Commissioner William Thursbay is due back in court next week.

Two months, nearly to the day, since his arrest on DUI and related charges, Port St. Joe Commissioner William Thursbay is due back in court next week.

Thursbay is scheduled to appear before County Judge Timothy McFarland at 1:30 p.m. ET Wednesday for arraignment on charges stemming from his arrest in early October minutes after a city workshop.

Originally charged with several offenses, Thursbay currently faces two: a charge of DUI with property damage and resisting an officer without violence.

Last month, the State Attorney’s Office dropped/abandoned a felony charge of tampering with evidence.

Thursbay was subsequently charged as being a driver in possession of an open container for which he paid a fine.

The State Attorney’s Office last month also transferred the case from Circuit Court to County Court for unspecified reasons.

The scheduling of next week’s hearing, one day after a regular bi-monthly meeting of the Port St. Joe Commission, means it could be 2018 before the circumstances and issues surrounding the arrest are publicly discussed by commissioners.

Thursbay has made no public statements and has not attended a city meeting or workshop in the two months since his arrest.

The other commissioners have remained silent on the issue, with Mayor Bo Patterson decreeing during the most recent meeting that no public comment on the matter would be heard.

“We are aware of the legal situation … and we are aware of what it says in the charter,” Patterson said earlier this month in shutting down any attempt at public comment, adding commissioners will address the issue when required.

The city charter is unambiguous on the subject, stating, in pertinent part, that a commissioner “convicted of a crime shall forfeit (their) seat.”

The sentence prior states that the Commission is arbiter regarding the qualifications of any individual to hold office.

The city’s employee handbook, specifically its drug-free workplace policy, is even more unambiguous.

In effect, Thursbay was on the clock as a city employee in the minutes leading up to his arrest.

His behavior during a workshop, ironically concerning a proposed “open container” zone in the business district, was witnessed by a standing-room-only audience of at least 80.

Thursbay talked in rambling sentences, interrupting fellow commissioners several times while repeating himself, talking about his youth and asserting, “I love you, Mary Lou” to one member of the audience.

Several members of the audience wondered aloud what was “wrong” after the meeting and the video of the meeting has gathered viewers, some of whom have expressed their disgust on social media.

The very public nature of the incident is a complicating factor in the entire situation.

According to the city’s employee handbook, any employee is barred from ingesting, selling or buying any drugs or alcohol and are prohibited from being at the workplace “impaired.”

For those employees, the city operates on a “one strike and you are out” policy and continues, “due to the “City’s responsibility to the public and our employees we can not “forgive and let slide” an action that may endanger out employees or the public’s welfare.

Only if an employee voluntarily, not after being caught, approaches city officials seeking counseling is there a reprieve from the policy.

Otherwise, “Due to the public safety issue, it is understood that termination is the only course of action,” the handbook reads.

Mere minutes after the adjournment of that “open container” workshop in the Commission meeting room on Garrison Ave., Thursday was arrested on the Port City Trail near 20th Street.

A car, ultimately determined to be driven by Thursbay, was observed driving down Garrison “all over the road” and leaving the lane at least three times.

Thursbay turned at 20th and approached the Port City Trail just past Marvin Ave. when the vehicle abruptly made a left turn off the road.

When a Port St. Joe police officer arrived, acting on an anonymous phone tip to Police Chief Matt Herring, Thursbay was standing next to the vehicle roughly 50 yards past a trail sign warning “no motor vehicles allowed.”

Thursbay acknowledged he had been drinking earlier.

The officer noted a “strong odor of an intoxicating beverage” and that Thursbay’s speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet; Thursbay could not produce a driver’s license.

While the officer was in contact with dispatch, Thursbay re-entered the vehicle and poured the contents of a silver cup on the ground.

He was ordered away from the vehicle, but refused, holding onto the steering wheel as the officer attempted to move him.

Thursbay “continued his combative demeanor” by pulling his arms away as the officer was attempting to arrest him.

Several officers brought Thursbay under control, in handcuffs and placed in the back of a patrol unit.

The silver cup, according to the report, smelled of alcohol.

Thursbay refused to take a breathalyzer.

The incident even garnered the attention of the Tallahassee chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), which weighed in on its Facebook page.

“MADD is extremely disappointed when elected officials allegedly drive drunk, setting a dangerous and unacceptable example to this communities,” the statement read. “In the case of Port St. Joe City Commissioner William Thursbay’s alleged DUI arrest, as with anyone, we expect he will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”