Marco Island City Manager Jim Riviere retiring

Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent
City Manager Jim Riviere consults with City Clerk Laura Litzan. The Marco Island City Council and its Budget Sub-Committee met Monday for a lengthy series of meetings, spending most of the time discussing the upcoming Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

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Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent City Manager Jim Riviere consults with City Clerk Laura Litzan. The Marco Island City Council and its Budget Sub-Committee met Monday for a lengthy series of meetings, spending most of the time discussing the upcoming Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

Jim Riviere, Marco Island city manager, listens to performance appraisals from city councilors Monday. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Jim Riviere, Marco Island city manager, listens to performance appraisals from city councilors Monday. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

— Marco Island City Manager James Riviere surprised City Council Thursday by announcing his decision to retire in September.

Riviere said in a press release he had accomplished his goals for the position and wanted to take time to fix up a new condo he and his wife purchased.

But council members noted he left amid a split vote of confidence in his leadership and critical performance reviews.

Riviere declined comment when reached Thursday evening on the phone, but City Clerk Laura Litzan said those factors did not affect Riviere’s decision to resign when he did.

“That was some time ago,” Litzan said. “The short answer is no.”

In November, Riviere asked City Council members for a vote of confidence at the board’s first meeting with its four newly-elected members.

The vote was split; new council members Larry Sacher, Amadeo Petricca and Kenneth Honecker voted no confidence. Four members voted that they did have confidence in his leadership, including new member Larry Honig.

New council members asked that they be given time to review his leadership style formally.

A month later, Riviere received four critical reviews from the new council members.

Some say that may have factored into his decision to resign.

“Human psychology being what it is, wouldn’t it be plausible that he’s thinking to himself ‘Three of the seven want me out

so one more and I’m gone?’” Honig said.

Honig was the only new member to vote in confidence of Riviere. He also gave him a favorable performance review last month, citing his fiscal responsibility.

“We haven’t had a chance to work with him,” Honig said, referring to the four new council memebers. “So it’s kind of unfair to us and to him.”

Sacher voted no confidence in Riviere and said he gave him a poor performance review. Sacher said Riviere did not have control over his directors and did not conduct regular performance reviews of his employees, awarding bonuses subjectively. Sacher said Riviere was not responsive to his needs as a council member, but that his negative review was not a personal one.

“I didn’t feel he was a very effective leader,” Sacher said.

Still, Sacher said Riviere’s decision to retire seemed sudden.

“I am somewhat surprised since it seemed as though he had a four to three advantage,” Sacher said,

Riviere was appointed interim city manager in April 2010 and hired full time in August of the same year, following the firing of then-City Manager Steve Thompson.

Thompson served for two years before he was fired and paid severance. Litzan said the average tenure for a city manager is short and both Thompson and Riviere served a typical amount of time.

“You serve at the pleasure of council,” Litzan said. “Every day you might as well consider yourself hired for the day.”

Riviere earns an annual salary of $145,000 along with a $500 monthly car stipend. Litzan said he has not received any raises in his three years. His last day, Sept. 30, marks the end of the fiscal year.

“When I agreed to take the position I did so because I believed I could make a difference,” Riviere said in a press release. “I am pleased to report that I have accomplished the goals that I set in the area of fiscal responsibility.”

City Council Chairman Joe Batte said Riviere’s leadership will be missed.

“The citizens of Marco Island have benefited from Dr. Riviere’s extensive management experience,” Batte stated in the press release. “We will certainly miss his sensible solutions to complex issues which were the hallmark of his tenure with us.”

City Council meets for the first time since Riviere’s announcement May 6 when they will likely discuss a timeline and process for hiring his replacement.

Staff writer Jessica Lipscomb contributed to this report.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 12

MrBreeze writes:

It seemed he had a good outlook for the Island and residents,however the spending was still excessive. I think that with the new Council there was a sign of maybee some rough roads ahead. I think he could have stayed on and moved forward to be a very good leader of the island along with the Council.

I hope the new City Manager has the same outlook for the citizens and move us in a forward direction.

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

Good Bye!
So Long!
Farewell!
Get lost Phoney PHD!

August8 writes:

Great job, a new manager should shadow his achievements.

marco97 writes:

Out of all the City managers we have had on this island he was the best. Good luck Mr. Riviere.

26yearsonmarco writes:

Let’s get past the positive and negative farewells to Mr. Riviere and start to focus on his replacement.

I believe “We the People” have an opportunity to become an example of how government in general can and should operate, by not hiring an individual with “government” experience, but rather an individual with “business” experience.

This should be someone willing to work for a percentage of what he or she cuts from our over inflated budget only, without any typical government “perks” like double dipping, pensions, etc.

This should be someone who places the good of the people of Marco Island first and foremost, and does not care if she or he wins a popularity contest, or uses Marco Island as a stepping stone for the next job.

I believe there are many successful business people on this Island that are retired, or active in a business that fit this mold, and it’s just a question of who is willing to sacrifice some of their time for the good of the People.

MrBreeze writes:

26years Great post. Are you available for the job? I think you have exactly the right ideas to set the bar for the City of Marco Island to move forward.

RayPray writes:

in response to happyhorowitz34145:

Good Bye!
So Long!
Farewell!
Get lost Phoney PHD!

Bravo!

"Get lost Phoney PHD!"

I keep wondering about this craving for academic validation.

Americans today are way over-credentialed for the jobs they do.

Could it be that to run a sleepy little island like this, you really don't need more than a high school diploma and a bit of common sense?

August8 writes:

Someone from the outside, perhaps another look at our former manager, maybe he's tired of Naples and would like to return where he lives?

MrBreeze writes:

August8 Hurry, before mom catches you on the computer again making silly posts.

August8 writes:

in response to MrBreeze:

August8 Hurry, before mom catches you on the computer again making silly posts.

Shish Dad, Shish !!!!

captnjimbo writes:

Can we not remember the turmoil and out of control spending that took place before this guy took over?

I give him high marks for stabilizing our city government.

(Also Eagle...I love the spell check! Nice.)

liberator100 writes:

A totally thankless job. He did his best.
And please do not bring the name "Souza" up ever again. Look forward not backward.
Maybe we will wake up and elect a Mayor next time.

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