Monday, November 29, 2021

Marco City Council Looking to Fill an Empty Chair

Photo by Steve Stefanides | The Marco City Council will fill the seat left vacant by former Councilor Sam Young.

The Marco Island City Council will choose someone on June 1st to occupy the seat formerly held by Councilor Sam Young. Young resigned his seat in April after only serving 18 months of a 4-year term in office. He was elected in November of 2016 during that election. 

The person the City Council will select must serve for 5 months, or until the election in November of 2020 when that person will serve out the remaining 24 months of his original term. There are four other seats to be elected at that time in addition to the seat left open due to Young’s resignation, leaving a potential for five new faces on the dais. 

Councilors Grifoni, Reed and Roman all have 4-year terms expiring. Councilor Honig is termlimited and will no longer serve on the council. 

At the May 18 meeting of the Marco City Council, they honed the list of five applications done to three. Those three candidates were Gregory FolleyPhares Heindl and Joseph Rola, all Marco Island residents. 

Individual councilors will be interviewing all three candidates during this weekthen at the June 1st meeting they will present those three to the public and hold a vote to appoint one to fill the opening until the election in November. 

“It is important that we have a fully staffed council to undertake the difficult challenges regarding the budget process for 2020-2021,” stated Council Chairman Erik Brechnitz. “We know we will be seeing reduced revenues and some important decisions will have to be made regarding those issues and we will look forward to having a fully staffed board for these deliberations.” 

A review of their credentials are as follows. 

Gregory Folley has a long list of accomplishments in his background, from an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy which he attended from 1977 to 79 before being injured and receiving an honorable medical discharge. He would go on to receive his BS degree from Notre Dame University in 1981 in Economics and then receive his law degree from Notre Dame in 84. He sharpened his legal skills in the field of Labor and Employment Relations at several firms. In 1994-95, he oversaw the successful resolution to the largest interest arbitration in U.S. airline history. Folley then entered a 22-year career with Caterpillar, Inc., rising through the executive ranks to the position of President, all while holding a duel position as Vice President for Industry Components and Distribution Division. Retiring in 2017Folley now lives on Marco Island. When asked why he applied for the seat, Folley commented, “My wife and I really love it here, as do us all. I just wanted to contribute to assisting the community to meet the high expectations that residents have for it.” 

Phares Heindl is a 1972 graduate of Mississippi State University in Chemical Engineering and the University of Florida with his law degree. He is presently a practicing attorney in Collier County, but is also admitted to the Bar in Mississippi, formerly to the Bar in California and the U.S. District Court/Middle District of Florida. Heindl is also a Licensed Patent Attorney. In his younger years, Heindl taught high school chemistry, physics and biology. He had also worked for 3 years as a Process Engineer for a major chemical company. Heindl has served on the Marco Waterways Advisory Committee as well as being its chairman for a term. He has also volunteered as a Beach Steward and is an active paddleboard enthusiast and was a founding member and President of the Marco Island Paddlers Association. When asked what interested him in the position Heindl commented, “I think I’m the best candidate for the job. With my background as a chemical engineer, I understand the issues facing us with water quality, and feel I’m the best person out there to fill Sam Young’s shoes.” 

Joseph Rola is a 1964 graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, as well as taking Graduate Degree courses at the University of Pennsylvania and the New Jersey Institute of Technology in electrical engineering and computer sciences. He was intrigued by the early development of computers and their technological potential in engineering. After a short stint with the City of Philadelphia as a design engineer for the Power and Light Division, he then moved onto a 15year career with RCA. He then worked in their design and engineering of state-of-the-art computer projects, programming and systems engineering. He then moved onto a 20-year career with Raytheon as a Program Manager in various fields and defense projects. Due to his wide range of expertise, he was hired by Northrup Grumman-Ingalls Ship Constructors and was on the ground floor of the development of the Zumwalt 1000 21st Century Destroyer. He was assigned the responsibility as the Zumwalt’s Prototype Program Manager for the ships that would be constructed in both Bath Iron Works, Maine and Pascagoula, Mississippi for the United States Navy. Rola has been a member of the Marco Island Planning board for almost 4 years but sees service on the City Council as the next step forward to serving the community he has lived in for 15 years in a more productive way. “The city is really at a crossroads in regard to its development and the quality of life issues which we all care about, and I feel I can best serve Marco in that capacity,” Rola stated. 

The Marco City Council will convene at 5:30 PM in Council Chambers on the City Hall Campus at 51 Bald Eagle Drive. All meetings are open to the public. 

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