Thursday, October 28, 2021

Making the Smart Choice




It is true that most of the population really doesn’t stay abreast of what is going on around them unless it directly affects their daily lives. That doesn’t mean that they don’t care, but in many cases they are absorbed into so many other issues that concern them or members of their family that they hardly pay attention to those other matters until they reach the front page of a newspaper or the 6 o’clock news.

Such has probably been the case as our community leaders have sought to fill the important position of city manager within our community. Now if the fire truck and ambulance failed to show up at your front door after you called to say your husband had fallen off the ladder while trimming your hedges you’d be quite concerned and would let somebody know you were unhappy.

The same would apply if your cable company suffered an outage and you weren’t able to watch your favorite weekly show or the important ballgame you were looking forward to all day. You would certainly let someone know of your dissatisfaction with the service you were receiving.

However, in the last several months your elected officials have begun to leave some within the community questioning the process they’ve employed to find a suitable replacement for the position of city manager and the costs that have been incurred to do so.

Others have been left to question the reliability of the search firm who brought seven semi-finalists forward, with only one that had Florida experience. They have had serious questions regarding the quality of the pool which the search firm brought forward and the experience levels, and the costs to taxpayers of a process that has left the community but with only one choice, which is a travesty.

The community of Marco Island is an exceptional one, which offers a great deal to those that choose to live and work here. Constantly we see publications extolling the qualities of our piece of paradise. They speak to virtues of what we all call home. However, the search firm was only able to bring forth 84 applicants, which the consultant pointed out half were discarded due to not meeting the minimum standards



which were part of our advertised package.

During a recent council meeting at least three of the seven councilors questioned whether the process was flawed, with one councilor eloquently speaking to the need to slow the process down and regroup due to concerns being voiced within the community by many.

The choice of a new CEO for the city is the most important decision that this or any council will face. How you hire great professionals can make or break your organization. The hiring of a leader with great vision and talents can help to take our community to the next level in providing wonderful services and excellent results for our residents and visitors.

We should be looking for problem solvers who will also look at alternative perspectives in regards to the challenges that will face he or she in their responsibilities leading our city. That doesn’t necessarily come from being book smart, but comes from experience. You don’t acquire that experience in only one or two years, but by honing your skill sets over time and taking on tough challenges and learning from those experiences.

We must be strong enough to take a step back and review options and not see that course of action as a failure of personal goals, but instead seeing it as the correct course of action and not the expedient one for political purposes.

That doesn’t mean the name we have before us may not be the name that is chosen going forward, but we owe it to our community to take a step back and take a breath, rather than run headlong into unchartered territories because we don’t have the experience ourselves to realize that this may be the best course of action.

Steve Stefanides, well-known by his nickname “Stef,” is an experienced awardwinning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Stef’s More Straight Talk column (and its predecessor, Straight Talk), on a variety of subjects, is a favorite of readers who trust him to bring them the facts. A Marco Island resident, Stef contributes to the community in many ways, having served on a number of city committees, charitable groups, boards and local organizations. Contact him by email at

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