MARCO ISLAND — After a second search for a new city manager for Marco Island, five candidates drew tepid interest Monday from Marco Island City Council. Councilors dismissed an earlier search firm when the candidates presented did not meet expectations.
A sixth candidate, Roger Hernstadt, city manager of Marathon, Fla., who did not apply in the second-round search, was added to the list. Hernstadt was an applicant when the first search was conducted. Council asked that he be contacted as a finalist.
Bob Slavin, owner of Slavin Management Consultants, presented the list of 13 semifinalists from the second search. He asked council to narrow the list.
“There’s only five I would be willing to talk to,” said Councilor Joe Batte. “I’ve eliminated all but five on your list.”
Councilor Amadeo Petricca told Slavin he could only come up with four potential candidates.
“I have the same comments,” said Vice Chairman Larry Sacher. “Maybe we should consider our interim manager as he has done a pretty good job. I’m not at all happy. I’m not crazy about any of them.”
Interim City Manager Guillermo Polanco was not considered as a candidate for the position.
“Why are we so frustrated at trying to find candidates that would jump out at us?” asked Councilor Bob Brown. “I couldn’t rank past a couple.”
Only Councilor Larry Honig spoke positively about the search firm’s work.
Six councilors selected Colin Donnelly and Calvin Peck as worthy of moving forward in the selection process. Donnelly, 46, is assistant city manager in Dania Beach, Fla., a position held for six years, 10 months.
The 2010 census lists the city’s population as 29,639. Dania Beach is located on the East Coast of Florida, north of Hollywood.
Peck, 56, is currently the village manager of Bald Head Island, N.C., a small coastal town south of Buzzard Bay. The census lists the community’s population as 160. He has held his position for seven years.
Glenn Irby was selected by five councilors to move forward. Irby, 56, is currently city manager for Umatilla, Fla. The city is located in central Florida, north of Orlando. In 2012, the population was 3,533. Irby has been Umatilla’s city manager for seven years.
Four councilors were interested in interviewing Mark Kutney and Keith Moody.
Kutney, 58, is the town manager of Loxahatchee Groves, Fla. The town, with a population of 3,262 in 2012, is located west of Palm Beach, Fla. Kutney has been town manager for less than two years.
Moody, 43, is city administrator for Harrisonville, Mo., and has held the position for five years. Harrisonville has a population of 10,000 and is located south of Kansas City.
In selecting semifinalists, council asked Slavin to concentrate on expertise in police and fire departments and utilities. The firm will complete its in-depth “due diligence” of the six finalists, concentrating on credit checks, criminal records, education credentials and verification of previous employment.
That information will come back to council on Jan. 6. Interviewing qualified candidates will take place in late January or early February. Councilor Chairman Ken Honecker and City Attorney Burt Saunders were appointed to conduct negotiations once a candidate has been selected by council.
Council discussed holding two referendums: one for Mackle Park’s new Community Center and one to modify city charter spending cap requirements.
Honecker said city referendums would not be allowed on the 2014 November ballot. He suggested council prepare its referendums for the August 2014 primary elections. The cost for Marco Island to hold its own referendums outside election dates was estimated at $30,000.
“A referendum would have to be on the August ballot because Jennifer Edwards will not allow any referenda on the November ballot,” Honecker told council.
“August is not a good turnout,” Honig said. “Thirty-seven percent is the highest it has been.”
Council discussed a redesign of the Smokehouse Bridge and gave Tim Pinter, the city’s public works director, permission to proceed with creating a design package. Pinter will have redesign plans and an engineer’s cost estimate to council by week’s end.
“The original design was a Cadillac,” Pinter said. “We are going back to a Chevy.”
The original design was estimated to cost more than $8 million. The existing two-span bridge, northbound and southbound, was built in 1963 with an estimated life of 45 years.