Friday, January 21, 2022

What happened?

Vip Grover

Vip Grover

First, let me say that neither I nor the Chamber of Commerce presume to know the quality of Steve Thompson’s performance, so the Chamber has no position on whether or not the Council should have chosen to retain Steve as the City Manager. Personally, I like Steve and will be sorry to see him go – assuming, of course, that is the end result. Steve has always made himself available to the Chamber and we have always had an open line of communication.

The issue, from our perspective, is the manner in which this happened and the process by which this decision was made. To place this issue on the Agenda and bring it to Council without prior notice — when the City Manager is up for an annual review within the next 30-60 days anyway — seems to be an overzealous style of management. Whether or not the matter was handled within the “letter of the law” is not the point — it was waaaay outside the spirit of the law. What was the urgency?

Had this approach been taken with any other issue that has this kind of financial or operational affect on the City, the citizens would have been in an uproar. This “shotgun” style of management is now going to cost the City at least $175,000 and perhaps as much as $300,000 or more, when you add in the cost of a search, hiring an interim City Manager and paying all the transitional costs. Can you imagine the response if the Council had made another decision with this kind of economic impact without any prior notice the citizens?

I want to be clear — personal opinions aside — the Chamber of Commerce has no position on the retention or firing of the City Manager — that is outside of our purview. But if you are going to compare the City to a business organization — as Chairman Recker did multiple times last night — with The Council being the Board of Directors, Mr. Thompson being the CEO and the Citizens being the stockholders… shouldn’t you manage the company in a business like manner? The citizens, the City — not to mention Mr. Thompson — deserved better treatment from Council.

Vip Grover, President – 2010
Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce

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