Marco Island City Council loses second city manager search firm

On Dec. 2, Robert Slavin of Slavin Management Consultants listens to criticism from Marco Island City Councilors on his choice of 13 finalists for the vacant city manager's position. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

On Dec. 2, Robert Slavin of Slavin Management Consultants listens to criticism from Marco Island City Councilors on his choice of 13 finalists for the vacant city manager's position. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island’s City Council may be earning an undesirable reputation with management headhunters.

Guillermo Polanco, interim city manager, informed City Council in an email Monday that Robert Slavin of Slavin Management Consultants was terminating his search services agreement effective Dec. 17. The firm is the second to conduct a search for a new city manager.

Council is seeking a replacement city manager for the position vacated by Jim Riviere on Sept. 30.

In September, council voted to terminate the contract of search firm Colin Baenziger Associates (CBA). Councilor Joe Batte called the first search “flawed from the beginning.” A motion to go with a different firm rather than CBA passed 5-2.

At the meeting, council instructed the city attorney to open negotiations with Slavin Management Consultants, a second firm that was considered in the original search firm selection process.

On Dec. 2, Robert Slavin reported to council that his firm had narrowed its candidate pool to 13 applicants. Several councilors expressed disappointment with the quality of candidates and the criteria used to narrow the selection.

“It didn’t give me confidence,” Council Vice Chairman Larry Sacher said at the meeting. He informed Slavin that he had contacted CBA to see if council could reconsider some of its candidates.

After expressing displeasure with Slavin’s candidate pool, council reluctantly narrowed the 13 candidates to five finalists but asked to reconsider as a sixth candidate Roger Hernstadt, city manager of Marathon, Fla. Hernstadt did not apply in the second-round search but was a candidate in the first.

In Monday’s memo, Polanco advised council that Colin Donnelly, assistant city manager of Dania Beach, Fla., had withdrawn from consideration. Donnelly received a “desire to consider” vote from six of seven councilors.

Polanco told council that city staff would contact the remaining candidates directly to complete the vetting process with the hope of preparing them for interviews with council in early 2014.

Council has scheduled a meeting for 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11, in the Community Room to discuss the search firm’s resignation and to consider how council plans to move forward with the city manager search.

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Comments » 24

August8 writes:

Man, this City has trouble with everything and every person they come in contact with, unbelievable?

GorgonZola writes:

Anyone present at that meeting would not be wondering why Slavin bowed out. Why not ask him personally instead of guessing? Slavin showed remarkable professionalism at that final meeting. Any of the candidates watching that meeting would be deemed criminally insane to consider the position, after hearing that one councilor would favor someone retired and looking for a job for a few years, and the others found the preliminary list of people so inferior and wanting. How insulting! Does everyone sitting on that dais have a perfect work record? Never mind a headhunter -- what candidate in his or her right mind would risk trying to work with a group of micromanaging people whose one joy in life seems to be making boring charts, talking everyone numb, and then trying to squeeze what vibrant personality the city may have left, into those parameters? It's a dog and pony show with personal agendas and egos on display -- whatever happened to the constituents who put them there and expected representation? What are the chances now, of attracting a half-decent qualified individual of integrity?

harrisbill239#279036 writes:

Some on the City Council thought Gil Polanco should be offered the job – but he really doesn’t have the qualifications or experience. I recall when Gil became the Interim City Manager; several questions were raised about overloading him. Concerns were that Mr Polanco was our full time Finance Director, and was also expected to be fully immersed in the roll out of the purchased ERP system. And Mr Polanco and his associates have no experience implementing ERP systems. Those concerns were brushed aside, as are most of the taxpayer concerns.
Now, we have Mr Polanco as Acting City Manager (exceeding, by far, the length of time for that position established by the City Charter), and the previous concerns seem well founded, as in addition, we also have Debi Mueller as Acting Finance Director. How many “acting” positions can one small city take? Instead of having “acting” positions, let’s have some “actions” taken by our city council. We voted them in on a promise of change – now let’s see some results!

ed34145 writes:

And so, the comedy show continues!!! GorgonZola is right on!

ajm3s writes:

Here is the posting of the job from Slavin Management Consultants for Marco Island City Manager position:

http://www.slavinmanagementconsultant...

I for one am confused as to why as stated in this article: "Robert Slavin of Slavin Management Consultants was terminating his search services agreement effective Dec. 17."

I agree the comments from the council were harsh and to the point in some instances, but I would have thought, given the consultant's experience in these matters he could have moved on to continue the process, although reluctantly, as a professional.

Slavin Management Consultant mission statement:

"Our mission is to provide innovative solutions that precisely address important issues facing our clients and to assist them to find and implement effective management techniques.

Our values include:

Guaranteed Satisfaction
Realistic & Timely Products
Commitment to Implementation
Interactive Process
Commitment to Quality
“We Listen"

Reference: http://www.slavinmanagementconsultant...

Perhaps there must be more to this story.....for surely Slavin Management Consultants should add one more to the list of values:

"We Quit"

My perspective after viewing the interchange leads me to ask": Is our council overly discriminating to voice an opinion in which the candidates recommended by the consultant were sub-par?

I simply do not know, but I tend to go with the council that demands high standards or criteria that discriminates against mediocrity...I appreciate it in sports, in business and within the informal acquaintances I like to hang around with. I guess I like to discriminate as well.

Given the task before the council, Mr. Batte's comments were close to those I could identify with. The council is our elective body and no one else can make this decision, so I encourage them to move on.

Konfuzius writes:

Quit frankly! This is a disaster for the officials we elected by the majority of the citizens of Marco Island with a tsunami effect..
The headhunter company made a lousy job. 13 aspirants on o short list is a declaration of bankruptcy and professionalization. This city council proof themselves as amateurs. Peters Principe. The Peter Principle is a proposition that states that the members of an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. How will they run professional a city, if they have no ability to hire a city manager professional.
I tell you what: Go to Green Cove Spring, interview the City Manager and make her an offer. Her name is DANIELLE J. JUDD. She is the best. That is what Marco Island needs.
And the best: My service cost you no one cent.
But in your indescribable arrogance you - the city council with the most credibility ever got - will ignore this advice and hire the third headhunter company with non professional briefing on my and all other expensive s of the taxpayer of Marco Island and continue your mismanagement. Somebody of you guys said: Marco Island deserves the best of the best! Why have we from the beginning on second class city councilor except David Brunner and Chuck Kiester?
Guys change your attitude or face your political tsunami in 4 years.

Konfuzius writes:

"In September, council voted to terminate the contract of search firm Colin Baenziger Associates (CBA). Councilor Joe Batte called the first search “flawed from the beginning.” A motion to go with a different firm rather than CBA passed 5-2."

In my opinion it is acceptable if you make a mistake one time. But if you make the same mistake two times you have to take the blame to 100%. Nothing else. It is easy to make the same mistake twice if you have not to pay for it. You and me the taxpayers pay this mistakes. Remember in 2 and 4 years we have to correct this. Look out for new city councilor.
Maybe me the political leader on this blog.

Konfuzius writes:

"Council has scheduled a meeting for 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11, in the Community Room to discuss the search firm’s resignation and to consider how council plans to move forward with the city manager search."

I bet you! It will be on the lowest level.

Konfuzius writes:

And before somebody else posted.

YES! I am frustrated how city council managed my City!

naples_rocket writes:

This is absurd! All seven Council members live in some la-la-land. Last council meeting was absolutely pathetic. No, Marco Island is not what it used to be or what they think it is or should be. It's a place run by a bunch of retired know-it-all naysayers with corporate-real world-business experience. How's that working out for y'all? No to replacing embarrassing park building (putting up for referendum=no), no to Marriott, no, no, no. Lets go count seats at our restaurants instead.

Finding a new City manager should be an absolute number one priority. They should reach out to every possible candidate, offer a decent salary (not as little as possible because Marco is so special) and pray
that someone will consider working for them.

God help us all and hope that tomorrow by 5 pm those seven clowns will be done dreaming and ready to face the reality.

Konfuzius writes:

I am agree with your opinion. But your statement:

"God help us all and hope that tomorrow by 5 pm those seven clowns will be done dreaming and ready to face the reality."

...means: Do you really think a serious and high qualified city manager (the best of the best?) will work together with this - you called - ...seven clowns....? Will be part f the Marco Island comedian show? I have a proposal. Let as do city council meetings by Capt. Brian's on the stage! Where it belongs.

Chuck wake up and race your voice! Stop this undeserving theater. Marco Island is not the clown city of the nation.

naples_rocket writes:

in response to Konfuzius:

I am agree with your opinion. But your statement:

"God help us all and hope that tomorrow by 5 pm those seven clowns will be done dreaming and ready to face the reality."

...means: Do you really think a serious and high qualified city manager (the best of the best?) will work together with this - you called - ...seven clowns....? Will be part f the Marco Island comedian show? I have a proposal. Let as do city council meetings by Capt. Brian's on the stage! Where it belongs.

Chuck wake up and race your voice! Stop this undeserving theater. Marco Island is not the clown city of the nation.

if I'm not mistaken, even Captain Brien abandoned this town not too long ago

marco826 writes:

This spectacle is another big embarrassment for Marco Island. As for why Slavin quit, it was once said that if an Intelligent person argues with a bunch of fools, nobody knows who is the fool....Sad day Marco Council. We look inept. Let me help define that.... showing no skill; clumsy.

1Paradiselost writes:

Time to elect a strong Mayor form of government. If we get 10% of the voters to sign a petition we can make this happen!

I'm tired of this city spending 100's of thousand's of dollars of taxpayer money every 2 years. What do we have to show for it?

Many of the bloggers here feel the current federal minimum wage is fair. We only pay our police force $17.00 and hour. I say let's hire a city manger for $24.00 an hour.

To many unrealistic unhappy egos live on this sand bar!

WizeOlMarco writes:

Perhaps, Slavin resigned because the City has told Slavin that the City has agreed to hire undisclosed person 'candidate x', for which Slavin will not get paid.

26yearsonmarco writes:

1P,

May I suggest there be two petitions:

One to do what you think, and one to dissolve Cityhood, and see which one gets the most signatures.

MrBreeze writes:

I agree revert back to the County. Lets rest all the egos and stop the bleeding.

Start a petition to dissolve.

MrBreeze writes:

Naples_Rocket Please if your name relates that you live in Naples thats fine. If you do not you need to relocte there as your vision of Marco Island is that of Naples. I for one do not want Naples that is why I like Marco Island. I do not care about resturants, comedy bars ect. They can all close as far as I am concerened. I want peace and quiet, the beach, low crime, not a tourist trap. All the things Naples does not have due to being ruined by the thought process that you seem to subscribe to. So please leave the island alone it has been under taxover attack by your kind for a long time now but it can and will survive without the tourist mindset.

August8 writes:

in response to MrBreeze:

I agree revert back to the County. Lets rest all the egos and stop the bleeding.

Start a petition to dissolve.

MrBreeze--- That train left the Station a very long time ago and I feel it can be safely said that action will'never' happen.The City of Marco Island is now well established and has created a beautiful and secure enviorment for the Citizens.
I have long said a mayor/manager form of government will likely work much better than the current strong manager?

1Paradiselost writes:

"The train has let the station" Was the famous comment by Glenn Tucker during the STRP debacle.... Are you his former puppet master? Is your name John?

Time to get Tuckers name OFF our city hall! He was a lair and a crook! Glenn... we are still waiting for those pictures of the tax paying residents you accused of planting asbestos. And his name is on the peoples city hall.. It's an outrage!

I agree with you by electing a Mayor will no longer see this Clown Car Government we are so used to. AS Mr. X waits in the wings..

MarcoberryRFD writes:

Otis, Floyd, Howard, (Marcoberry City Counsel) and Gomer (Monte) at Barbershop ... Otis: "Aunt Bee's cousins Manure Hauling Truck broke, until Goober gets it fixed he can be interim City Manager"

Momface (Inactive) writes:

Keep this record up and soon City Council will need to hire a search team in order to find a search team who will work with them.

August8 writes:

in response to MrBreeze:

Naples_Rocket Please if your name relates that you live in Naples thats fine. If you do not you need to relocte there as your vision of Marco Island is that of Naples. I for one do not want Naples that is why I like Marco Island. I do not care about resturants, comedy bars ect. They can all close as far as I am concerened. I want peace and quiet, the beach, low crime, not a tourist trap. All the things Naples does not have due to being ruined by the thought process that you seem to subscribe to. So please leave the island alone it has been under taxover attack by your kind for a long time now but it can and will survive without the tourist mindset.

The answer here is simple, that's the past and if there are any new islands being built then it's a good Idea to find one to invest in?

harrisbill239#279036 writes:

in response to ajm3s:

Here is the posting of the job from Slavin Management Consultants for Marco Island City Manager position:

http://www.slavinmanagementconsultant...

I for one am confused as to why as stated in this article: "Robert Slavin of Slavin Management Consultants was terminating his search services agreement effective Dec. 17."

I agree the comments from the council were harsh and to the point in some instances, but I would have thought, given the consultant's experience in these matters he could have moved on to continue the process, although reluctantly, as a professional.

Slavin Management Consultant mission statement:

"Our mission is to provide innovative solutions that precisely address important issues facing our clients and to assist them to find and implement effective management techniques.

Our values include:

Guaranteed Satisfaction
Realistic & Timely Products
Commitment to Implementation
Interactive Process
Commitment to Quality
“We Listen"

Reference: http://www.slavinmanagementconsultant...

Perhaps there must be more to this story.....for surely Slavin Management Consultants should add one more to the list of values:

"We Quit"

My perspective after viewing the interchange leads me to ask": Is our council overly discriminating to voice an opinion in which the candidates recommended by the consultant were sub-par?

I simply do not know, but I tend to go with the council that demands high standards or criteria that discriminates against mediocrity...I appreciate it in sports, in business and within the informal acquaintances I like to hang around with. I guess I like to discriminate as well.

Given the task before the council, Mr. Batte's comments were close to those I could identify with. The council is our elective body and no one else can make this decision, so I encourage them to move on.

While it's true that the Council should ask for and get top notch candidates, we must also look for commonalities. We've had two bites of the apple: first with the Colin Baenzinger and then the Slavin headhunter groups. Neither of which offered a slate of candidates that our Council thought was adequate. What's the common denominator? Answer - our City Council. Just like the military troop passing in review - one lady says "look everyone is out of step except my son".

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