Friday, January 28, 2022

Packed Agenda Awaits Council on Tuesday Night

The Marco Island City Council will meet on Tuesday, September 4th for their first meeting this month. On the agenda is a discussion of the investigative/background reports prepared on the four candidates before finalists for the position of interim-city manager are selected.

There are four candidates remaining for council to consider.

David Harden began his professional career as a math teacher at Okeechobee High School, the very same high school he graduated from. He was the city manager of Delray Beach, Florida from 1990 to 2013. From 2014-15 he was the interim manager for Port Orange, Florida prior to the city hiring a permanent manager.

James Hock began his professional career in Sterling Heights, Michigan, where he spent nine years as assistant city manager. From 1994-2003 he was the assistant city manager of Oak Park, Michigan before his promotion to city manager in 2003. After five years as Oak Park’s city manager, he became the city manager of Park Ridge, Illinois, serving there from 2008-2013. Hock’s last manager position was in Joliet, Illinois, from 2013 to May 2017.

Maria Alberro Menendez served the citizens of Coral Gables, Florida from 1994 to 2012 in various roles as an assistant to the city manager and as the assistant city manager. Prior to that, she served as a zoning/code enforcement officer and within the public works department for that city. From 2012 to 2017, Menendez was the assistant village manager of Pinecrest, Florida.

Donald Stilwell was Lee County’s longest serving county manager, serving 16 years until his resignation in late 2013 following allegations of his misuse of the county’s computer email system. In January 2014 Stilwell became interim city manager for Fort Myers Beach, and was eventually hired for the permanent city manager position. Stilwell was fired in 2016 by the Fort Myers Beach City Council for issues regarding non-payment of vendors. Before coming to Florida, Stilwell had extensive county manager experience in California and Oregon, in addition to private sector experience.

A fifth candidate, William Vance, removed himself from consideration in late August. When reached by phone Vance confirmed his withdrawal from the application process, stating only that he was seeking other opportunities.

Council will also take up the approval on the first reading of the fiscal year 2018-19 budget and millage rate.

Prior to the rejection of the referendum for city ambulance service, a line item for $2,000,000 funding was included in the proposed budget. Council will now have to determine whether to keep those monies within the budget and expend it elsewhere, or to remove it and further reduce the budget.

A number of other items will be discussed, including changes to the Land Development Code, which will allow a petitioner to move forward with a request for approval of an Assisted Living Facility/Memory Care Facility. The planning board and the city staff have both rejected that request based on the definitions within the existing codes. Both were concerned that large facilities such as these were never considered, and could create negative consequences for the community’s health, safety and welfare, especially for a barrier island during emergency evacuations.

The regular city council meeting was rescheduled due to Labor Day, and will be held on Tuesday, September 4th at 5:30 PM in council chambers, 51 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island.

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