With the Holiday Season approaching, the Marco City Council found it a fitting time to thank another group of its employees for over 40 years’ combined service to the citizens of Marco Island. Their service in some cases was spread across a number of different departments within the city.
Top on the list, with 15 years’ service within the Marco Fire/Rescue Department, was Munier Gattas, who attended the event with his family. He serves as a Driver Engineer/Paramedic as well as an Acting Captain within the ranks. Gattas has received a number of awards for his lifesaving actions. He and fellow Marco Firefighter Paramedic Sergio Deleon were awarded the Naples Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Public Service Award in 2015 for their prompt actions that year that saved the life of one of Gattas’ neighbors. The two heroes were off-duty, working on projects at a new home the Gattas family had purchased, when their aid was critically needed by the neighbor who was suffering a cardiac event.
Lina Upham, who today serves as the city’s Purchasing Director and Risk Manager, as well as the Deputy City Clerk, is celebrating her 10th year as a city employee. She attended the presentation with her daughter Karla who is a student at Lely High School. During Upham’s time with the city, she has held a number of positions. Due to her efforts as the Purchasing Director, Upham was responsible for the city’s receiving the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award from the National Procurement Institute. This award was given to only 69 cities nationwide last year, and Marco Island was one of them. Upham holds a law degree from Romeris University in Vilnius, Lithuania, and a Masters of Public Administration Degree from Hodges University in Naples, FL, where she graduated at the top of her class.
Steve Allen, a Fire Inspector for the Fire/Rescue Department, has completed his fifth year with the department as a fire inspector. Allen came to the city after retiring from a career with the City of Naples. He was just getting his feet on the ground when Hurricane Irma struck the city in 2017, placing all city departments under strenuous pressure for increased inspections and reviews of new building permits.
Duane Leitzel is another five-year employee with the city, this time within the Utility Department. “Duane is another one of those great employees we have who no one sees unless, of course, no water flows from their tap when they turn it on or the sewer becomes backed up,” said Jeff Poteet, the City Utility Manager.
Over his five years with the city, Leitzel successfully completed his “C” and “B” Licensing requirements, and is about to test for Certification for his “A” license with the State of Florida, the highest certification within the State for Water Plant Operators. Upon presentation of Leitzel’s award, City Manager Mike McNees reminded folks of the ability for an individual to have a career within the city. He also reminded everyone of the importance of water to us all.
Andrew Lindenmuth was recognized by the City Manager and Council for his five-year anniversary with the city. After retiring from the City of Philadelphia as a seasoned detective with that city’s large Metro Police Department, he took on the responsibilities as a Community Service Officer with the Marco Island Police Department. City Manager McNees raised a laugh or two from Lindenmuth and the audience when he commented that it made sense to put such a skilled officer to work on what he described as “the mean streets of Marco Island.” McNees also recognized Lindenmuth for his commitment to beach and environmental issues around the island.