Top Marco Island cop re-ups: Don Hunter to stay on as police chief; Riviere announces two-year contract extension

Marco Island Police Chief Don Hunter. File

Marco Island Police Chief Don Hunter. File

— As Marco Island swelters into the long, hot summer, a variety of issues loom, demanding consideration from community leaders and elected officials.

One issue, though, has been put to rest; who will lead the city's police force. City Manager Jim Riviere disclosed that on behalf of the city, he has signed a contract extension with Police Chief Don Hunter, who will continue on in his post.

Less than three weeks before the anniversary of his swearing-in on Aug. 8, 2011, Hunter and the City of Marco have agreed on a two-year extension, said Riviere on Friday.

"I think it's fantastic news," said the manager. "We're able to hire one of the most experienced law enforcement officers anywhere. I think this is a reflection on the entire city."

The Marco Island City Council, he said, was responsible for setting the tone in city governance that led to collegial, efficient operations, and persuaded Hunter to stay on. "The Council sets the mood," said Riviere.

Hunter served as Collier County Sheriff for 20 years, winning election to the post county-wide four times. At age 59, he came out of his early retirement a year ago to take over the police chief job, after the three-year tenure of former chief Thom Carr.

Chief Hunter was out of town, and not immediately available for comment. He had previously made no secret of his willingness to leave the chief position at the end of his initial one-year contract.

"I may have started those rumors myself," said Hunter in February. "I said my contract is for one year, in talking to some people. It's an open question. If I feel I can do something important, I might stay on. I also have an interest in starting my own business." As to the nature of that potential business venture, "I'm not at liberty to say," he said at the time. "I have a partner."

Being chief of a department with about 33 sworn officers is a far cry from running the county sheriff's office, which had as many as 1,392 full-time employees, plus reserve officers, at the peak of Hunter's 16-year tenure. He has taken advantage of the experience and connections he developed during many years in law enforcement in this area, connections both in the sheriff's office, whose current leader served under him, and with state and federal agencies, where many of his contacts are still in place, or have moved into positions of higher authority.

Hunter has called on the Collier Sheriff's Office for added assistance when needed, he said, and is fully aware of the benefits of close coordination. The police chief participated in the recent City Council Budget Sub-Committee meetings, requesting items including new vehicles, radio equipment, laptop and desktop computers, and servers for data storage and backup, although he deferred to Assistant Chief Dave Baer on the technological questions.

On one proposal, a firearms training simulator for Marco police officers, Hunter agreed with the Councilors that using the county's existing setup, in addition to saving money, could help foster cooperation and camaraderie between the island's police force and other nearby law enforcement agencies.

At the most recent City Council meeting, Riviere gave an upbeat assessment of the island economy. In his City Manager's Report, he noted that both the Marriott and the Hilton hotels on the island are performing major renovations of their guest rooms.

The Marriott is renovating 356 rooms, generating significant economic activity and adding over $20,000 directly to city coffers in permitting fees, he said, and the Hilton is redoing 291 rooms. In addition, he reported, 18 new single family homes are currently permitted and under construction on Marco, after a long dry stretch in the construction industry.

With the City Council voting not to raise the millage rate of island property taxes, retaining Chief Hunter, said Riviere, is another piece of good news for the city.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Related Stories

Comments » 23

gladesgator writes:

Does he really make 150k a year?. It seems that would be enough for three full time officers. I really don't kmow what the Chief does so I can't be critical, I am just asking. Does the chief do anything that warrants a salary with benefits like that?
Look at all the people running for city commission with many years of business or other experience willing to serve with virtually no pay. Why is it that we have to pay through the ying yang for a police chief?

gladesgator writes:

in response to Genuine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The City Council serves! Look at the background of those guys and they work for nothing! Why not just answer my question and tell me what Hunter does to earn his salery.

OldMarcoMan writes:

With all due respect, for that amount of money maybe he could move to Marco, or at least rent an apartment?
I normally would ask the Chief in person but he hasn't been available when I was at City Hall the last couple of times.

lauralbi1 writes:

Great News !!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Chief and Capt Baer have been very responsive to issues that I have brought before them and consistency breeds improvements and efficiencies.
Good Luck Chief !!
Ed Issler

JohninMarco writes:

in response to Genuine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I too must agree. Have attempted to meet with the chief only to find he is not in. Seems to either be at meetings or seminars. He does later return calls but I also wish he lived here not in Norh Naples.

gladesgator writes:

in response to Genuine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That is a cheap shot you little snot. Why don't you muster up some courage and quit brow nosing for a living.

You still did not answer my question.

gladesgator writes:

in response to JohninMarco:

I too must agree. Have attempted to meet with the chief only to find he is not in. Seems to either be at meetings or seminars. He does later return calls but I also wish he lived here not in Norh Naples.

I suspect he is just a figure head, hired to make someone look good.

What can you expect from a city manager who wants to increase property tax to keep a walk in clinic open 24/7.

ed34145 writes:

Of course he is staying on; he needs the medical benefits for his young family.

And, what ever happened to Community Policing on Marco? It seems to have disappeared under Hunter.

gladesgator writes:

in response to Genuine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

26yearsonmarco writes:

Let’s face it folks. No one in their right mind would ever consider giving up a sweetheart deal like Hunter, and many of his staff has, by double dipping, working in a relatively crime free environment, and getting all the free pizza they can eat.

Plus, why would Hunter want to move here when, I’m sure, he is provided with free transportation to and from work, and is not required to punch a clock.

As long as “We the People” put up with this kind of thing and go to Happy Hours, it will not change, until we go bankrupt like many cities and towns across America are doing.

Please watch this Video:

www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/EW5IdwltaAc?rel=0

26yearsonmarco writes:

Sorry, here is the Video:

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed...

Throat_Yogurt writes:

in response to Genuine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You've got to be sh**ing me

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

gladesgator writes:

in response to Genuine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I am glad you impress yourself but your fan club is quite small. Then again, perhaps you are used to small and your posts are an attempt for you to feel big.

gladesgator writes:

in response to Genuine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yawn

marcojerry writes:

SO THE CITY MANAGER GIVES HIM A 2 YEAR CONTRACT ON BEHALF OF THE CITY!? HE DIDN'T DISCUSS IT WITH THE COUNCIL AT A COUNCIL MEETING AT ALL?! WHEN THE CITY MANAGER HIRED HUNTER HE SURPRISED THE CITY COUNCIL THEN BECAUSE THEY HAD NO CLUE THE TWO WERE IN TALKS. WHY DO WE HAVE A CITY COUNCIL AT THIS POINT WHEN THE CITY MANAGER DOES WHATEVER HE WANTS??? WE ELECT A CITY COUNCIL TO SPEAK FOR US AND OUR VOICES DON'T COUNT SINCE THE CITY MANAGER DOES WHATEVER HE WANTS, WITHOUT CARING WHAT WE THE CITIZENS OF MARCO ISLAND WANT OR NEED. LET'S GIVE THIS CITY MANAGER A CROWN AND BUILD A PALACE IN HIS HONOR, SINCE HE IS APPARENTLY THE KING OF MARCO AND DOES NOT NEED TO DISCUSS HIS WORKING WITH THE CITY COUNCIL OR THE PEOPLE. I WOULDN'T HAVE MOVED HERE SO LONG AGO IF I KNEW THAT WE WERE GOING TO BE RULED LIKE THIS.

gladesgator writes:

Remember Hunter kissed up to the pizza guy, the pizza guy raised money for fireworks and made the city council look good and save face over the fireworks so we could celebrate justice and freedom on July 4th. Vote out the old guard City Council and bring in some new blood.

seasonala writes:

Citizens have an opportunity to work towards a change on this island. If they are in vote them out. They hired the city manager. This salary along with some others employed by the city are not warranted. Compare it to other cities the same size. And, now you have a council candidate stating city employees deserve rate increases. Is he serious? Pay attention to what is going on in this city. Your paradise is in jeopardy and only the people can change this.

naples_rocket writes:

in response to seasonala:

Citizens have an opportunity to work towards a change on this island. If they are in vote them out. They hired the city manager. This salary along with some others employed by the city are not warranted. Compare it to other cities the same size. And, now you have a council candidate stating city employees deserve rate increases. Is he serious? Pay attention to what is going on in this city. Your paradise is in jeopardy and only the people can change this.

could you please provide links/data that we could compare. Thank you.

lauralbi1 writes:

Seasonala: I encourage you to take YOURSELF up on your own challenge. You can start with the City of Venice, Florida. It is the closest in size, population, services, etc to Marco Island.
I have reviewed their past budgets, City Payrolls, Utility reports and I encourage you to do the same.
Please blog after you have done this and let us all know the results !!
Ed Issler

26yearsonmarco writes:

Klaus,
I want to make sure you knew about this meet and greet on July 31.
Be sure to try the Cool-Aide because I hear it’s to Die For.
OBAMA SUPPORTERS
"Meet and Greet"
for like-minded people who support the re-election of our President
Tuesday, July 31st, 4-8pm
at CJ's on the Bay's “Libation Station”
The Esplanade
North Collier Boulevard & Elkcam Circle
Marco Island

NO DONATIONS - THIS IS NOT A FUNDRAISER
PLEASE WEAR A BLUE SHIRT - WE WANT TO RECOGNIZE YOU
PRINTED BY VOLUNTEERS

seasonala writes:

Naples_rocket and Lauralbi1 look up Miami.gov. Marco salary range is in the middle. Think Miami is a bit more of a difficult city to be chief in? Thanks for proving my point.

lauralbi1 writes:

No point proven, sorry. Comparisons are much more valid.
I am still waiting for the results of your research. I will check regularly.
Ed Issler

seasonala writes:

in response to lauralbi1:

No point proven, sorry. Comparisons are much more valid.
I am still waiting for the results of your research. I will check regularly.
Ed Issler

Sorry, everyone else seems to have understood the original point which is simply put - citizens need to educate themselves as to what government leadership does. And, get involved. That is only way to stop skyrocketing costs. Not sure what else you need to compare that opinion to. Using a city such as Venice to compare does not prove anything to me, or others since no one seemed to pursue.

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