MARCO ISLAND — Marco Island’s top employee got a one-word title change on Monday night that is to symbolize a new stability in City Hall after four months of many leadership changes.
Interim-City Manager Jim Riviere is to become the city manager effective Tuesday.
“I don’t know if there is such a thing around here, but it says a contract for the permanent city manager,” said Chairman Frank Recker, stressing the word permanent.
Councilman Larry Magel initially said he wanted Riviere to receive incentive compensation, but said he has since changed his mind.
“I believe Mr. Riviere is doing an outstanding job,” Magel said.
However, Riviere said that incentive compensation in the current environment is not something he would encourage or even want due to employees’ salaries being frozen, furloughs being encouraged, as well as several layoffs since late April.
Riviere eliminated six top management positions in those months as well as moved several directors and employees to different departments. Positions of public information coordinator, community development director, chief of code enforcement, racket center manager and two police lieutenants were removed.
Riviere, the former Planning Board chairman, was appointed by council as interim manager following the dismissal of then-City Manager Steve Thompson in April.
This is Riviere’s first stint in city management. Riviere’s background is primarily that as a business manager, including a consultant and project manager during the Anthrax scare of 2001 at the U.S. Postal Service.
Council voted unanimously, 7-0, to approve a longer-term contract with Riviere as the manager. In an otherwise vocal community, no one from the public spoke on the issue on Monday night.
Riviere’s compensation is comparable to Thompson’s, except for Riviere’s waiver of health and retirement benefits as well as lack of severance. Thompson received about $175,000 in severance.
The contract includes an annual salary of $150,000, a monthly car allowance of $500, a city-issued cell phone, pay of up to 60 days of unused vacation time upon termination, 30 days notice required if Riviere were to leave and no severance if Riviere is terminated by council. The contract gives Riviere 10 days vacation available immediately and 30 days to accrue over the course of a year.
Initially, Riviere said he wouldn’t want the city manager position long term and was committing only to stay through the budget process this fall.
When asked what made him change his mind, he responded only: “Because seven men asked me to.”
Council, upon a general consensus that was requested by Magel, is to establish specific goals for Riviere to accomplish each quarter or year. Those goals will become the basis for the annual performance review, Magel said.