Boss Hogg won’t be issuing traffic tickets or changing code compliance cases, Marco Island Council decided Monday.
Supporting the idea of disbanding Marco Island’s Code Enforcement Board was the prospect of having traffic infractions handled by a special magistrate.
“I don’t think Marco Island should become Hazzard County with a Boss Hogg” said councilman Wayne Waldack, referring to Dukes of Hazzard, a TV show that aired in the early 80s.
Police officers won’t be issuing more tickets to make money, said Marco Island Police Department Chief Thom Carr.
It won’t become a small town with a money-making speed trap and its own judge, he said.
Council decided, by taking no action following the discussion, to leave the seven-member code enforcement board in tact with traffic infractions to be determined by a Collier County judge.
That decision means the fees will continue to be collected by the Collier County Clerk of Court.
Currently, costs of sending officers to Naples to enforce tickets often exceeds the amount collected, Carr said.
“That’s the catch 22 we’re in,” he said.
A magistrate can be hired to handle either traffic infractions or code cases, but Carr said there wouldn’t be enough work to warrant that.
Code members’ perceived bias in some code cases caused Frank Recker, chairman of city council, to recommend disbanding and replacing the board, Recker said.
Dick Adams, chairman of the code board said the days of an approach of “quasi-punishment are ancient history.”
Nonetheless, councilman Chuck Kiester was among those concerned the code board was not following a new philosophy of being less punitive.
Kiester’s nominee to the board, Carol Glassman, was not following his wishes or direction given by City Manager Jim Riviere to be friendlier to violators, Kiester said.
So, Kiester sent her an e-mail requesting she resign.
However, council voted to keep Glassman on the board with councilmen Jerry Gibson, Bill Trotter, Larry Magel and Wayne Waldack.
In addition to Glassman not fulfilling obligations held by Kiester and the city, Kiester said his preference for her removal was evident during the most recent code board meeting. At that Nov. 9 meeting, Glassman was among three others who voted to adjourn early following a presentation by Sgt. Jim Hassig. He announced that fewer code cases were coming to the board due to orders from Riviere. This was part of the friendly philosophy, Hassig said.
Code board member Tarik Ayasun found the announcement troubling.
“I have a tendency right now to say I’ll probably make a motion to adjourn the meeting and go home because we have no use here as of this moment,” Ayasun said.
Recker said the code board should have no involvement with setting policies or which cases come before the board, when or why.
“They have no right to know what’s in the pipeline,” Recker said.
Batte garnered some nods of agreement among members when he said it was up to council to inform the code board what was expected and to provide training.
Trotter said he was more troubled about how the proposal to disband the board and replace it had gotten so far along that the city attorney was paid to write a new ordinance despite council not having a chance to discuss it.
“It disturbs me,” Trotter said of the $7,000 expense.
In other business council:
■ Agreed to hold an executive session, which is a meeting closed to the public with transcripts available after the cases are concluded, to discuss two pending lawsuits filed by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida regarding alleged violations in Key Marco during a meeting to be scheduled Jan. 3.
■ Tabled a discussion on changing utility rates until Jan. 3.
■ Tabled a discussion of increasing several user fees until April 18.