Interim city manager waives benefits, Marco City Council to offer $150,000 salary

Article Highlights

  • Seawall construction in residential areas to be discussed; Collier Emergency Services to give oil spill presentation
  • Longterm city manager search likely to be put on hold
  • Interim City Manager Jim Riviere, council to consider $150,000 annual salary for Riviere
Jim Riviere, 68, went from being chairman of the Marco Island Planning Board to leading the city as the new interim city manager.

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff

Jim Riviere, 68, went from being chairman of the Marco Island Planning Board to leading the city as the new interim city manager.

— Marco Island City Council will consider a contract with interim City Manager Jim Riviere on Monday evening to include an annual salary of $150,000.

The salary is the minimum in previously advertised descriptions for the position. Riviere also waived all benefits, which have a value of about $50,000.

The contract was negotiated by Chairman Frank Recker and Riviere this week.

“I wanted to give them a bargain,” said Riviere.

Previous City Manager Steve Thompson, who was fired earlier this month, earned $160,000 annually and took the cash equivalent of the city’s benefit package, bringing his total cash earnings before taxes to about $220,000, not including his monthly car and cell phone allowances.

“I just wanted it to be low. I took Steve Thompson’s contract and deleted all the things that didn’t apply,” said Riviere, who already has secured his own health benefits.

The contract also allows Riviere to receive $500 monthly for a vehicle allowance and for a city-paid cell phone.

The contract may be good for one year, although in correspondence with council, attorney Alan Gabriel, of the Ft. Lauderdale-based law firm, Weiss-Serota, which represents the city, advised that the City Charter does not seem to allow for a time frame of employment for the city manager.

Initially, council was also to create a job description and planned process for securing the long-term city manager during a workshop at 2:30 p.m., on Monday. However, that workshop was canceled as of Thursday evening. Riviere said the city is not quite ready to embark on the search for his replacement.

He added that he would not consider taking the job long term.

“Around here, long term doesn’t seem to be very long term, does it?” Riviere asked rhetorically and smiled.

The recent changes in management have added up to a significant payout in severance. Thompson’s severance was about $175,000 and Community Development Director Steve Olmsted’s severance is about $35,000. Olmsted was discharged and his position removed indefinitely on Tuesday.

Marco Island Taxpayers’ Association board member Amadeo Petricca described the costs as a necessary evil that he didn’t think were overly burdensome for city taxpayers.

“You’re at the juncture where something has to be done. Unfortunately, there’s a price to pay. We have to bite the bullet,” Petricca said.

The proposed salary for Riviere seems fair, he added.

“It’s the market price we have here on Marco Island,” Petricca said.

The City Council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive. Other issues on the agenda include:

- A discussion on the current ordinance allowing construction on vacant lots in residential neighborhoods for up to 120 days per year, particularly for seawall construction. Although the rules require lot owner approval, city officials have said that there has been some inconvenience to neighbors caused as the construction takes longer than anticipated in some cases.

-A discussion, likely at the end of the evening, about how and when to begin the search for the permanent city manager.

- Appointments to numerous boards and committees, including the Community Redevelopment Agency advisory committee.

-A presentation from Collier County Director of Emergency Services Dan Summers on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

-Other issues on the agenda and supporting documents may be found in related links below.

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Comments » 20

sailingalong writes:

Finally, a change we all can believe in. Thank you Dr. Riviera for stepping up.

JohninMarco writes:

Well Done!

August8 writes:

" We will see" ????????????????????
Two manager's in 3 years, say what you want but that's not a record to be proud of !!!!! So, an interim that is endeared and permitted to stroke out major decisions without councill approval, if this plays out to a happy end I will eat my hat !!!!!!

jwputnam writes:

And just what permissions did Moss or Thompson need?

Start soaking that hat in salt water.

ajm3s writes:

Dr. Riviere is the real deal. Now that is what I call community service. And this while in retirement? Wow.

blogsmog writes:

now we have some REAL hope and change!

ajm3s writes:

As having been once deemed a CAVE dweller, I ask the spelunkers, "Have CAVE dwellers have been granted representation?'.

August8 writes:

"Putnam"

Both were hired by the council to do exactly that, this guy was not, it's up in the air fella!!!!

NobodysFool57 writes:

Bill, Jerry, and Wayne have looked like deer caught in the headlights lately. What's the matter, is John out of town? Speaking of whom, he should've backed Stef instead of Larry in the election (good lackeys are hard to find). You won't hear me complaining though.

Marconian writes:

All I can say is don't get to proud Dr.Riviera, the first unpopular decision you make you'll be the next one rode out of town on a stick by the minority you represent.

Marconian writes:

Im just curious which council member nominated Jim to the planning board to start with?

max1313 writes:

So what's the deal with a contract on all these people. Jeepers, give two weeks pay is more than anyone could expect in most jobs. In my union job, I get laid off on Thursday after 18 years, (I didn't), I don't even get paid for Friday!
I go look for another company to work for. Offer the job like that. or give 'em a going away party!

Seawaller writes:

Whether or not you are in favor of the CM's dismissal and the removal of a dept. head, it appears this Council is willing to challenge the status quo. Perhaps in these challenging times this is not necessarily a bad thing. Past decisions, good or flawed, will continue to affect this island's future. I would admonish that today's decisions will soon become tomorrow's past decisions and have the same effect. Tread carefully but don't be afraid of weilding a big stick.

foodroadie writes:

Nice work if you can get it. $150K for a retiree with no city management experience, who didn't have to interview for the job and was anointed by his buddy in sunshine law violations Dr. R. Marco is going to regret this whole episode. Sort of like when Ed Day went to work for the county as a "volunteer" and ended up with a $90K per year job.

ed34145 writes:

Good summary, foodroadie.

ajm3s writes:

in response to foodroadie:

Nice work if you can get it. $150K for a retiree with no city management experience, who didn't have to interview for the job and was anointed by his buddy in sunshine law violations Dr. R. Marco is going to regret this whole episode. Sort of like when Ed Day went to work for the county as a "volunteer" and ended up with a $90K per year job.

Excellent point, but did they not fire a City Manager WITH city management experience who was interviewed for the job 2 years ago and was fired from previous positions of similar responsibility. I agree Dr. R regretted the whole episode but it is the episode two years ago in which Mr. Thompson was hired.

And you could make the case, that Mr. Thompson was annoited by Mr. Moss with a Council sympathetic to his influence.

In those two years there was essentially no management of staff, ask the "workers" not the "managers". That is why the Charter was amended to include Council powers to interview city employees. This was brewing almost from the beginning of Mr. Thompson's reign and he exacerbated the problem by his contempt of Council and citizens with dissenting views.

I apologize for going off point, but this may be a time to look outside of government experience and perhaps consider those with managerial experience in an effort to evaluate performance and efficiencies of operations. Dr. Riviere holds an INTERIM position, if he wishes the position then he will undergo the same review process as all candidates that apply. In the meantime, he serves under the guidance of Council.

New Council, New management, New results?

Marconian writes:

Its not Operations you need to identify as flawed it starts with council there is your flaw a now new chairman Dr.Recker who wants to micro manage the world. give me a break this guy rode in to his seat with false intentions gained the Majority voter support then flip flopped great political move Recker actually pretty smart for a snake, but trust you showed your colors sir and when it comes time to vote the silent majority now knowing your politics will throw you out if they don't come out and demand it sooner!

marco97 writes:

Marconian, Dr. Recker must have learned from the best, both Tucker and Popoff flip flopped (STRP). At least Recter is flopping in the right direction.

August8 writes:

"WELL" ??????????????????????????????

What was his salary prior to the anoinment ?? and the fireings ???
"One Heck Of A Guy" ???????????????

OldMarcoMan writes:

Marconian writes:
Im just curious which council member nominated Jim to the planning board to start with?

It was Forcht that appointed him.

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