Whatever happened to? The shakeup at Marco Island City Hall POLL

Marco Island City Manager Jim Riviere

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff

Marco Island City Manager Jim Riviere

How has the shakeup at Marco Island City Hall worked out?

See the results »

View previous polls »

— There is a second-floor corner office of Marco Island City Hall that no one seems to sit in for long.

It was occupied by then-City Manager Steve Thompson until his removal by the Marco Island City Council in April. He’d been on the job one year and on the chopping block twice before removed.

Following Thompson’s termination, other department heads tumbled in a City Hall shake-up that restructured the 200-plus employee government.

Among the people affected was Lisa Douglass, whose position of public information coordinator was eliminated.

“That part of my life is completely over,” Douglass said in a recent phone interview with the Daily News.

She is now employed by Moorings Park, a retirement community in Naples.

Douglass described her new role as refreshing.

“It’s like I’m working with Bill Moss again … The level of professionalism, respect, accountability and teamwork is comforting,” Douglass said.

Moss was the longtime Marco Island city manager until 2008 when he became the city manager in Naples. Marco has been running through leaders ever since.

Marco’s current city manager, Jim Riviere, was initially hired as interim manager in April. The former Planning Board member has no previous experience managing a city, but was given the long-term job this summer — whatever long-term means — he said at the time.

Meanwhile, about 700 miles away, Thompson began driving town to town in Tennessee, giving advice on governing to any of the leaders within the state’s approximately 350 cities that request information from him.

One of a series of stories looking at people and issues that were in the local news in 2010, though not lately. Have an idea? Post it below this story at naplesnews.com or call (239) 435-3457 and leave a brief message.

City file photo of onetime City Manager Steve Thompson

City file photo of onetime City Manager Steve Thompson

In this October 2009 file photo, Marco Island Public Information Coordinator Lisa Douglass opens up the conversation on the 2010 budget, reviewing the process thus far.

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff

In this October 2009 file photo, Marco Island Public Information Coordinator Lisa Douglass opens up the conversation on the 2010 budget, reviewing the process thus far.

“I’m enjoying it,” Thompson said of the job at the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service.

Thompson, director of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service, said he pays no attention to city business in Marco Island these days but stays in touch with friends back here.

Just a few miles away from Marco, Eric Wardle, who held the since-eliminated position of chief of code enforcement, said he isn’t in touch with city officials any longer either. He continues seeking code compliance work, ideally in a busier, larger city likely on Florida’s east coast where he once lived, he said.

Wardle, currently a Naples resident, doesn’t have strong resentments about the combining of the police and code departments.

“It was a logical move,” Wardle said. “It was between me and the police captain, Dave Baer (for the combined job). Dave Baer is very capable.”

Steve Olmsted, who held the position of community development director, was the first to be laid off — on Riviere’s fourth day as interim manager.

Olmsted, also a Naples resident, initially sought consulting work. He couldn’t be reached to share whether he’s met that goal.

Joining the ranks of the recently ousted are police lieutenants Mike Peña and Cliff Morine, along with the utility manager, Rony Joel, who also held the title of public works director until recently.

“It was the year of ‘who’s next?’” City Clerk Laura Litzan said.

City Council Chairman Frank Recker responded to rumors that he is behind all the change by saying he didn’t even know Riviere planned to terminate Joel. Not that it was a shocker.

“After this past year, I don’t find anything surprising,” Recker said.

Recker didn’t give orders because, as he pointed out, council is prohibited by the city charter from managing staff.

“Whatever he (Riviere) does, he’s asked more councilmen than just me, I’m sure … I’m sure he does some things without talking to people,” Recker said.

Despite the poor reputation that Recker said Joel acquired in his six years with the city, Joel managed to renegotiate one of the more attractive severance packages.

Frank Recker

File

Frank Recker

“It seemed Rony (Joel) was always accused of doing something wrong or messing something up,” Recker said.

Yet Joel’s severance was more than doubled by an agreement signed with then-interim City Manager Tony Shoemaker on Jan. 2, 2008, which was Moss’ last day and Shoemaker’s first day on the job.

Joel is to be paid seven months’ severance instead of three months of salary.

Joel’s last day was initially to be April 1, yet Riviere has since announced that Jeff Poteet will serve as the acting utility manager. Poteet earned a 3 percent salary increase with the promotion, Litzan said.

Buzz words such as transparency, accountability and efficiency are repeated by Recker as he describes the city’s new path. The physical reconstruction of City Hall, an approximately $75,000 project, mirrors the personnel changes, he said.

Walls removed from the first floor create a more-open space than the offices once hidden behind solid closed doors.

“It’s very much attitudinal,” Recker said. “There was a time when it was like ‘there is the city and there was me.’ Now, I feel like it’s my city.”

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Related Stories

Related Links

Comments » 18

RayPray writes:

From the official City Web site bio of our City Manager:

"Dr. Riviere majored in Economics at the University of Washington, obtained an MBA from American Graduate University and a PhD in Industrial Engineering from Pacific Western University."

From this it is unclear exactly how many credits DOCTOR Reviere actually took at the University of Washington.

Sounds like he didn't graduate.

Then where exactly did the BS or BA degree come from?

American Graduate University is an online degree mill dispensing credentials to anyone with a check.

So much for the MBA.

Here is Wikipedia on Pacific Western U.:

"Pacific Western University, also called American PacWest International University and registered with the business name Pacific West University (Hawaii) was an unaccredited institution based in Hawaii that was closed in 2006 following a lawsuit filed by the State of Hawaii a year earlier.

Pacific Western University (Hawaii) was incorporated in Hawaii in 1988. According to the State of Hawaii, it enrolled fewer than 25 state residents, but used several websites (including www.apiu.ws, www.open-universities.com, www.warwicks.com and www.imed-pwu.com) to enroll distance education students from other places.

In 2005, the State of Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection brought a lawsuit against the institution, alleging that it misrepresented itself to prospective students and committed several other violations of state law.

On May 9, 2006, a state court ruled in favor of the state agency, ordering Pacific Western to cease operation and assessing a civil penalty of $500,000."

Hence the dubious PhD!

While Florida seems to be a powerful magnet for individuals boasting factitious academic credentials, could it be that our esteemed City Council has selected a person to mange our island -- with a most generous package of salary & benefits -- possessed legitimately of little more than a High School diploma?

MarcoCitizen writes:

These removals of empire-minded managers, is a skill Dr. Reviere clearly has and his superior performance for Marco taxpayers is the proof. I hope he isn't finished cleaning up and streamlining our City.

OldMarcoMan writes:

No wonder people shy away from public service.
I think Ray is a brave man for his years of selfless service to the citizens of Marco through his participation with the many Boards and Commissions on which he has worked, often times bringing his personal life under examination and scrutiny and always rising above criticism.
I hope one day to be able to rise above those who will try to drag me down like Ray.

Yankee writes:

in response to RayPray:

From the official City Web site bio of our City Manager:

"Dr. Riviere majored in Economics at the University of Washington, obtained an MBA from American Graduate University and a PhD in Industrial Engineering from Pacific Western University."

From this it is unclear exactly how many credits DOCTOR Reviere actually took at the University of Washington.

Sounds like he didn't graduate.

Then where exactly did the BS or BA degree come from?

American Graduate University is an online degree mill dispensing credentials to anyone with a check.

So much for the MBA.

Here is Wikipedia on Pacific Western U.:

"Pacific Western University, also called American PacWest International University and registered with the business name Pacific West University (Hawaii) was an unaccredited institution based in Hawaii that was closed in 2006 following a lawsuit filed by the State of Hawaii a year earlier.

Pacific Western University (Hawaii) was incorporated in Hawaii in 1988. According to the State of Hawaii, it enrolled fewer than 25 state residents, but used several websites (including www.apiu.ws, www.open-universities.com, www.warwicks.com and www.imed-pwu.com) to enroll distance education students from other places.

In 2005, the State of Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection brought a lawsuit against the institution, alleging that it misrepresented itself to prospective students and committed several other violations of state law.

On May 9, 2006, a state court ruled in favor of the state agency, ordering Pacific Western to cease operation and assessing a civil penalty of $500,000."

Hence the dubious PhD!

While Florida seems to be a powerful magnet for individuals boasting factitious academic credentials, could it be that our esteemed City Council has selected a person to mange our island -- with a most generous package of salary & benefits -- possessed legitimately of little more than a High School diploma?

Obviously you don't care for the man. However, he did nothing wrong. Pacific Western University made themselves out to be more desirable than they in fact are. That's a very common practice regardless if it's a school, business, or just an individual. Stating that Dr. Riviere's education level is no higher than high school is quite disrespectful don't you think?

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!!!!

WE ARE WAITING WITH BATED BREATH FOR A POST FROM OUR CITY "PROJECTION" SPECIALIST, SPIRIT OF NEVER ENDING KNOWLEDGE.....NO OTHER THAN THE INFAMOUS BELIEVER IN THE OCCULT........

****K-L-A-B-A-U-T-E-R-M-A-N-N****

marcosandflea writes:

Joel's severance was and is proper. Joel effectively was the operator that implemented whatever the MM (Trotter Tucker Minozzi Moss Taryk Arceri Lasarus Rhodes) wanted including breaking the law repeatedly, lying to federal authorities and lying to the public and city councilors. The risk Joel took (and still is taking since he can not have immunity from prosecution for violating the Clean Water Act) is deserving of the seven month severance package.

ed34145 writes:

"Recker didn’t give orders"- Thank you, Frank, for the biggest laugh of 2010

reallifeswfla writes:

Thank you City of Marco for a 250% increase in utility bills, thank you for imposing an unnneded sewer (and $20k fee) on a reeling (economically) community. Joel pushed this fiasco and am glad to see him go. The next one Riviere needs to clean out is Laura Litzan. She is a remnant Moss clone.

smokey1776 writes:

Lets get back to the waste that goes on with are police deptment.To much Police for such a small island. Why is there no crime spree on Isles of Capri? Becase the Sherrif is doing a good job in a low crime area just like Marco.

RayPray writes:

"Obviously you don't care for the man."

>>> Actually, I have no opinion on him at all.

"Pacific Western University made themselves out to be more desirable than they in fact are."

>>> In fact, a totally bogus website institution shut down by the state of Hawaii.

"Stating that Dr. Riviere's education level is no higher than high school is quite disrespectful don't you think?"

>>> When somebody boasts an educational resume that turns out to be more full of holes than a wedge of Swiss cheese, how credible can the other parts of the resume be?

waverunner writes:

in response to smokey1776:

Lets get back to the waste that goes on with are police deptment.To much Police for such a small island. Why is there no crime spree on Isles of Capri? Becase the Sherrif is doing a good job in a low crime area just like Marco.

Smokey is smoking something.

RayPray writes:

islandeye1#236971 writes:

"The MIPD is...doing a great job!"

>>> When islandeye1#236971 tried out this line last week during his act at Capt Brien Comedy Club, it got the heartiest laugh.

"The above blogger is rated number 2 of Marco Island dummies by my fan club."

Sounds pretty generous at '2' Who is #1?

RayPray writes:

I was worried about that....

JohninMarco writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And Officer Derrig was doing a good job? Watch this is just the tip of the iceberg.

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

in response to RayPray:

"Obviously you don't care for the man."

>>> Actually, I have no opinion on him at all.

"Pacific Western University made themselves out to be more desirable than they in fact are."

>>> In fact, a totally bogus website institution shut down by the state of Hawaii.

"Stating that Dr. Riviere's education level is no higher than high school is quite disrespectful don't you think?"

>>> When somebody boasts an educational resume that turns out to be more full of holes than a wedge of Swiss cheese, how credible can the other parts of the resume be?

How credible can the other parts of the resume be?
How credible is he????
And by the way, What is really needed is an audit of the monies spent on this renovation of City Hall, $75K is not the real amount, it is considerably higher.

If Islander is # 2 and I'm #6 and maybe you're #1 who is #3,4,5? LOL

marcosandflea writes:

Speaking of a good job by the police, how about Officer Linda Guerrero? An excellent job she did under the direction of Chief Reinke and Moss for taking months and months and months to "investigate" who dumped the asbestos in what is now known as Asbestos Park, even blaming a bunch of old guys for manually hauling and dumping TONS OF ROCK, and then when Quality Enterprises and Joel and Moss finally were able to move the asbestos (i.e., destroy the evidence) Officer Guerrero concluded that the investigation was inconclusive as to how the asbestos got there!! Brilliant! The fact that Quality Enterprises was crushing it across the street was not a clue, the fact that Jon Iglehart of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection admitted that the city and QE put the asbestos there, the fact that the city under Moss gave QE city credits for moving the asbestos to a county dump was not a clue! Great job. Oh, and do you think that Guerrero under Reinke asked ONE QUESTION of the person that admitted in public and under oath that he had pictures of who planted the asbestos??? Do you think the MIPD asked the person for the pictures? Interviewed that person? Used the pictures as evidence? OF COURSE NOT! What a great job! A legend of police work that will go down in the annals (not to be confused with anal) of police work!!

Marconian writes:

Everyone rejected by council and terminated by the Good Dr....LOL... (to be determined)...has seemed to have moved on and living refreshing and happy lives this must mean there is life outside of marco and all the backwoods politics.
For now anyhow we will sit and view the fiasco, and the only shame is the laughing stock of the state which is marco politics will continue to operate like a unknowing child and continue to step backwards instead of forward.
The doctor should be made aware that you can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig.(cityhall renovation)your run as city manager is becoming just as controversial as any but with out a do it wont be long before we see your swift exit rest assure that is the way here in paradise...lol... thanks for the laughs!

RayPray writes:

Not to forget this sweet deal:

http://www.marcoislandflorida.com/app...

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features