For the past two days, Marco Island City Manager Bill Moss was full of nervous energy.
He had spent countless hours preparing and interviewing for a job that would pluck him from his Marco Island home. It was as if, Moss said, he was applying for his first job all over again.
But on Tuesday, after about six minutes and three votes, Naples City Council voted 6-1 to hire Moss as Naples city manager.
“I had butterflies in my stomach,” Moss said after the announcement. “They were very attentive, and they never let on who they were voting for.”
Councilman Bill Willkomm cast the dissenting vote. Willkomm said he supported Chatham, Mass., Town Manager William Hinchey.
“There were more-qualified candidates appropriate to the city of Naples,” Willkomm said. “I was hoping to give the city of Naples a fresh start with a new leader. We missed an opportunity.”
Hinchey was the City Council’s second choice and will be tapped as city manager if contract negotiations with Moss fall through.
Mayor Bill Barnett said negotiations with Moss would begin immediately following Tuesday’s meeting.
As Marco Island city manager, Moss makes $161,032 a year. In addition to his yearly salary, Moss receives an additional 38 percent of his base salary “in lieu of, and as an alternative to, any and all benefits relating to deferred compensation, health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance and retirement contributions.”
Moss’ current contract also provides a car allowance and a cell phone for both business and personal use.
Former Naples City Manager Bob Lee made $154,529 a year. He left the job for a faculty position at the Askew School of Public Administration at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Chet Hunt is acting city manager in Naples.
Barnett said he expected to come to terms with Moss in the coming days. Council then would need to approve the contract during the Nov. 7 meeting.
Moss has been the 10-year-old Marco Island’s only city manager since he was hired in 1997. Prior to coming to Marco Island, Moss held the city manager position in both North Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Atlantic Beach in Florida.
While on Marco, Moss has been at the center of several controversial decisions, including one to install sewer lines in the neighborhoods still on septic tanks.
“I think he’s a class act guy and he’s certainly earned his stripes on Marco Island,” Barnett said.
The seven-year project — currently in its third year — will be paid through $100 million in special assessments. By the end of the year, the city expects that 60 percent of single-family homes will have sewer capability. Residents then would have a year to hook up to the system.
Marco Island resident Godfrey Davies said Tuesday he had hoped Marco Island’s new city manager would handle issues like the sewer replacement program differently.
“This is a small step for Bill Moss to Naples, but a big step forward for the city of Marco Island,” he said. “Bill Moss was the glue that held the (septic tank replacement program) together.”
Naples City Councilman Gary Price said Tuesday he wasn’t worried that Moss’ Marco Island troubles might follow him to Naples.
Price said he received e-mails from Marco Island residents that either touted Moss’ abilities or begged the Naples City Council to take him off their hands. Price said that the majority of e-mails he received were favorable toward Moss.
Marco Island City Councilman Ted Forcht was one of those people who sent Naples City Council an e-mail Monday encouraging them to hire Moss. On Tuesday, Forcht said Moss was an incredible city manager.
“I’m thrilled for him,” Forcht said. “As I said in my note to council, he’s an incredible city manager as far as I’m concerned. I’m glad he’s got the opportunity to work in a little bit larger city.”
As Marco’s city manager, Moss oversees a staff of about 200 employees, compared to the more than 500 employees he will be responsible for in Naples.
While Moss wasn’t Councilman John Sorey’s first choice, Sorey said Tuesday he was confident that Moss would be able to make the transition.
“It was very difficult to rank these folks. I had to really labor over this,” Sorey said. “I think Bill Moss knows this area, and I think he’s a great choice.”
According to Moss’ contract, he must give the Marco council written notice of resignation 75 days in advance. That means that unless the Marco Island City Council waives the 75-day notice option, Moss wouldn’t be able to start in Naples until Jan. 7 at the earliest.
But on Monday, Moss told the council that he hoped to work out an agreement that would allow him to continue his work on the island, while familiarizing himself with Naples.
“If I am accepted (as city manager) I hope ... (we) can come to an understanding that I am a stakeholder,” Moss said during his interview. “I will try to meet the community, and frankly by January 1, I would hope the transition would be smooth.”
That transition time won’t just be spent getting to know the city of Naples, Moss also will need to use that time to tie up loose ends on the island.
Moss said, however, the job offer is coming at a good time.
The Marco Island City Council only meets about a handful of times before the end of the year, and Moss said the majority of the time-consuming projects, like the city budget, already are completed.
“In some ways, it’s a good time for me to leave,” he said. “All of the difficult things (in the city) are complete, and we have a very competent staff.”
Moss also will need to use the next few months to find a home in Naples.
The city manager position is the only position, aside from City Council, that has a residency requirement.
Moss was one of six people to interview for the position. Candidates spent two days interviewing with City Council and city staff, as well as mingling with community members Monday night.
In addition to Moss and Hinchey, the other candidates were Peekskill, N.Y., City Manager Dan Fitzpatrick; Cape Coral Assistant City Manager Hector Rivera; Sunrise City Manager Pat Salerno and Isle of Palms, S.C., City Administrator Linda Lovvorn Tucker.
Prior to selecting Moss as city manager, Barnett said Tuesday’s decision would be monumental.
“We started with 161 candidates ... and I think we could’ve hired (any) one of these candidates in a minute,” Barnett said. “Today is going to shape the history of Naples.”
BILL MOSS NAMED NAPLES CITY MANAGER
- POLL: How do you feel about Bill Moss getting the Naples city manager job?
- DOCUMENTS: Read Moss' contract. 377 kb .pdf file
- RESUME: Daniel W. Fitzpatrick 1.1MB .pdf file
- RESUME: Wm. G. Hinchey 1.1MB .pdf file
- RESUME: A. William Moss 1.1MB .pdf file
- RESUME: Hector A. Rivera, Sr. 1.1MB .pdf file
- RESUME: Patrick G. Salerno 1.1MB .pdf file
- RESUME: Linda Lovvorn Tucker 1.1MB .pdf file
- PHOTO GALLERY: Interview for Naples city manager job
- PHOTO GALLERY: Naples City Manager Candidates
- RELATED: Bill Moss named new Naples city manager (10-23-07)
- RELATED: Search for Naples city manager ends Tuesday (10-22-07)
- RELATED: The six candidates: What they said in their interviews (10-22-07)
- RELATED: Marco's Moss goes before Naples council (10-22-07)
- RELATED: SPECIAL REPORT: Pick from six: The field narrows for next Naples city manager (10-20-07)
- RELATED: SPECIAL REPORT: Six candidates for Naples city manager (10-20-07)
- RELATED: Marco's Moss makes list of six for Naples manager interviews (10-15-07)
- RELATED: Sanibel city manager drops out of race for same job in Naples (10-11-07)
- RELATED: Marco, Sanibel managers in top 10 for Naples city manager post (10-01-07)
- POLL: In the wake of Bill Moss' positive review, pay raise and talk of departure, do you approve of the job he is doing?
- RELATED: 61 apply for Naples city manager job (09-28-07)
- RELATED: Marco's Bill Moss seeking Naples manager position (09-24-07)
- RELATED: Bill Moss' e-mail to councilors about interest in Naples city manager job (09-24-07)
- RELATED: Marco city manager gets high marks from council (09-17-07)