Marco city manager gets high marks from council

In the midst of a year pocked by vocal criticism of the Marco Island city staff, the city’s seven-member council is holding firm to its support of a city manager often blamed by residents for leading city projects astray.

With just one dissenting vote to raise City Manager Bill Moss’s salary six percent to $161,000, the council otherwise roundly praised his performance over the last year.

Moss, who has been with the city since its incorporation in 1997, is often the target of residents’ anger over implementation of the city’s Septic Tank Replacement Program. One political action committee was formed in 2006 to put the position of city manager up to a vote of confidence during municipal elections.

The political action committee, Preserve Our Paradise, drafted a referendum that would have allowed city residents to vote to oust the city manager if a majority were dissatisfied with his performance. The petition for the referendum was rejected by the City Council in August, following the city attorney’s recommendation that the petition lacked “legal sufficiency.”

Councilwoman Terri DiSciullo defended Moss to her fellow councilors, saying that he is often the fall guy for council directives.

“If four of us are in the majority and three are in the minority, the community sees that as him not listening to each of the councilmembers,” DiSciullo said. “The majority of the council is who he has to move forward with, and I believe he’s moving forward with what the majority wants to do.”

No members of the public addressed the councilors, most of whom said they gave the city manager high marks in every field except communications.

Out of a possible score of five on an optional evaluation sheet filled by some councilmembers, Councilman Rob Popoff said he gave Moss “predominantly fours and fives, with a three for communication.”

Like several of his fellow councilmembers, Popoff lauded Moss for hiring Lisa Douglass, the city’s first public information coordinator, who he said “fills the void” left by Moss’s own lack of public communication expertise.

The vote against raising Moss’s salary came from Councilman Chuck Kiester, one councilmember who stands against the city’s sewering program.

“The way I’ve seen this past year, everything that could go wrong with our city improvement projects has gone wrong,” Kiester said.

He listed off overdue project deadlines, the fiasco involving asbestos found in a city-owned vacant lot earlier in the year and the latest public uproar: allegations that naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide released from the ground during construction is harming residents’ health.

In response to those concerns, the city recently spent $58,000 to hire an environmental monitoring firm, which is currently measuring hydrogen sulfide levels in the city’s air.

“It seems like wherever we stick our shovel we find trouble,” Kiester said.

In the end, he said, Moss’s deficiencies stem from an over-willingness to speed up construction, add new projects and still monitor all of the city’s work at once.

“It just comes down to him being unwilling or unable to say, ‘No, I don’t have the staff,’ ” Kiester said.

After the meeting, Kiester declined to give a simple thumbs up or thumbs down for Moss’s performance.

“You have to judge based on the fact that my vote was ‘no’ for the raise of six percent,” Kiester said.

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 8

patton1 writes:

Chuck Kiester is just an all around negative person who looks in the mirror every morning and hates himself.

strike3 writes:

Lets mail everyone on Marco a survey with two choices. Good job or Poor job. Lets see what the people think??????

davidsmi writes:

Just so happens I got the results of a MICA survey in the mail yesterday which included the results of what the MICA members think of the performance of the city manager. Here are the results:

Excellent: 262
Good: 723
Fair: 518
Poor: 687

Looks like the majority give him a below-average rating, but a signficant minority think he is doing a decent job. In case you are wondering, the City Council received similar marks, while the Fire Department and the Police Department received VERY high marks.

Again, this survey was only of the members of MICA.

15yearsmarco writes:

A good City manager would not have advised going forward with a 100,000,000.00 plus sewer project and years of construction on a small Island with roughly 16,000 full time residents without the full support of those residents.

exposed writes:

Why hasn't the Eagle or the Sun Times published the MICA survey?
Does MICA have someone on their board who is related to Moss or one of the 'notorius four' councillors?

captnjimbo writes:

Almost 3 to 1 the people said Moss was fair to excellent.

But the salary increase begs another question. What is the salary range for this job?

There should be a bottom to the range and a top to the range. Where does Moss fit? How does his compensation compare to other cities our size?

Kiester's objection might be legitimate but there are other ways to approach salaries.

Also, was there anything in his evaluation to encourage him to be less edgy with the citizens? Certainly a 3 for communication is average and a lot of people wouild not agree with that. According to the article Popoff says Moss lacks public communication expertise...yet he gives him a 3 or average grade...and a raise.

If I were Moss's boss I would make him fix this...period. Send him to charm happens that way in business.

Hawke1 writes:

captnjimbo you can see a ray of sunshine even in the darkest of storms. Your analysis of MICA member thoughts on Moss is a little bit misleading. The data presented in the article indicates that 30 per cent thought his performance was fair and that 27 per cent thought his performance was poor. Only 7 per cent believed he had been doing an excellent job. Although 36 per cent rated his performance as "good" (the minimum we should expect), that still isn't much to crow about. Too many (57 per cent) rated his performance as fair (average)to poor and too few rated him as excellent (only 7 per cent). The significant number here is the 27 per cent that rated his performance as poor. How can so many people be so disatisfied and the City Council still felt compelled to give this fellow a raise? They should at the very least have offerred him a shortened contract (90 days)as a warning to either shape up or ship out. Glad to hear that we agree mediocrity is not deserving of a raise. That puts us in the mainstream.

exposed writes:

STRIKE3 is correct lets get an independent survey sent to the residents of Marco and see the results.
Bev Trotter sits as treasurer of MICA and we know how 'slippery' anyone associated with Moss and the 'notorius four' councillors can be with the truth.

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