MARCO ISLAND — An emergency meeting Wednesday of Marco Island’s City Council ended with a plan to move forward with hiring a city manager. Council will take up the search where Robert Slavin of Slavin Management Consultants left off. Council will not replace the firm.
Slavin’s company was the second search firm hired by council. In September, council terminated an agreement with its first search company, Colin Baenziger Associates.
Council learned Monday that Robert Slavin terminated his search services effective Dec. 17. In a letter emailed to the city Friday, Dec. 6, and delivered Monday, Slavin gave no indication why he was cancelling the agreement. He invoked the 10-day termination notice allowed in his Sept. 30 contract and requested outstanding payments.
During the past two months, Slavin submitted two invoices to the city. The first on Oct. 15 requested $5,947 for professional services and expenses. The city received a second invoice for $4,000 around Nov. 15.
Slavin indicated in his letter that he would void the November invoice. He also indicated he will turn over documents he holds on applicants his firm processed. He asked the city to pay for his travel and expenses to council’s Dec. 2 meeting.
At that meeting, some councilors showed a low level of interest in the applicants presented by Slavin. They aired concerns about the search and quality of candidates. That may have contributed to Slavin’s decision.
City Clerk Laura Litzan said Wednesday morning that Slavin was not required by contract to give a reason for terminating the agreement.
If Slavin had continued to secure a city manager, he would have received a total of $13,000 plus expenses. Slavin indicated he had received no payments from the city.
Before the Wednesday meeting, Interim City Manager Guillermo Polanco suggested the termination could have resulted for a myriad of reasons.
“Maybe they’re protecting their reputation or the city’s for whatever happened,” he said.
Polanco summed up his feelings about Slavin’s action.
“It was very unprofessional of them. If they were unhappy, they should have said something at the last council meeting or waited until the next (Jan. 6) meeting.”
Polanco did not discuss the letter with Slavin but indicated Litzan had spoken to him by phone.
Litzan said she called Slavin Monday and was told his decision was final. He also let her know candidate Colin Donnelly, assistant city manager of Dania Beach, Fla., had withdrawn his name from consideration. Slavin told Litzan he had personally recruited Donnelly.
Litzan indicated Slavin may not have been happy with the recent council meeting, but felt council made some progress. She suggested losing Donnelly as a candidate could have impacted Slavin’s decision.
By a vote of 7-0, council agreed to a timeline for vetting and interviewing applicants. Candidates will be subject to background checks by Gleason & Associates, Inc., a screening firm specializing in local government executive finalists.
At its Jan. 6 meeting, council will decide on the number of candidates to be interviewed. Interviews will take place on Jan. 13-14.
In the interim, finalists chosen by council on Dec. 2 will be contacted and given an explanation of the new process and what to expect as council goes forward.