Marco Island City Council names committee volunteers, questions response to public record requests

Marco Island City Council Chairman Joe Batte reads a plaque for past councilor Wayne Waldack Tuesday in appreciation for his service to the community. Past councilor Jerry Gibson, to the left of Waldack, also received a plaque from the council chairman. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island City Council Chairman Joe Batte reads a plaque for past councilor Wayne Waldack Tuesday in appreciation for his service to the community. Past councilor Jerry Gibson, to the left of Waldack, also received a plaque from the council chairman. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

A brace of the old and new, Marco Island City Councilor Larry Magel, past chairman of the council, holds up a gavel plaque commemorating his service. Joe Batte, new council chairman, presented the plaque to Magel. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

A brace of the old and new, Marco Island City Councilor Larry Magel, past chairman of the council, holds up a gavel plaque commemorating his service. Joe Batte, new council chairman, presented the plaque to Magel. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Regina Dayton of the community complains to Marco Islandís City Council Tuesday that she has not gotten satisfaction when requesting public records. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Regina Dayton of the community complains to Marco Islandís City Council Tuesday that she has not gotten satisfaction when requesting public records. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Debate on access to public records set off a bit of a furor Tuesday as Marco Island City Councilors reached deep to understand public outcry for quicker response on records requests.

Councilor Larry Honig initiated a confrontation with Councilor Amadeo Petricca by scolding him for comments made at a homeowners' event. Honig insisted Petricca's constant berating of city staff for lack of response to records requests was unfounded.

Petricca was asking for much more than public records, Honig said, looking instead for staff to produce compilation and analysis of materials.

"I stand by my words," Petricca shot back. "I will do what's necessary to do my job as a councilor. I'm somewhat offended, but I'll take it knowing where it came from."

The thread of discontent on records response carried through public comment. Regina and Tim Dayton, who are suing the city for problems with building inspections, complained they were not able to get public information they had requested.

City attorney Burt Saunders tried to clarify the problem saying request e-mails that were said to be sent to the city were never received. Bill McMullan spoke after the Daytons agreeing information was not being provided as it should be.

When councilors got to the business agenda, they faced another concern: Last minute changes to ordinances.

Councilor Larry Magel brought wording revisions to second reading of an ordinance outlining board and committee terms. Councilor Larry Sacher complained the recommendations did not meet council's 48-hour rule. Councilors had agreed they would have at least 48 hours to review new information.

"It's unfair to the spirit of what we are trying to do that these are last minute changes," he said. "I'm uncomfortable with last minute changes without the public seeing it."

Council determined Magel's changes were "wordsmithing" and not substantive. The ordinance passed unanimously, changing terms to start Feb.1 for all but Audit Advisory Committee and Code Compliance members. The audit committee will have a start date of June 1 to correspond with the work cycle of the city's audit. Code Compliance is addressed under a separate ordinance. All members will be able to serve for two, 4-year terms.

Bryan Milk, city community affairs director, asked council to consider revising several paragraphs during second reading of an ordinance regulating vacant lot use by seawall contractors. Councilors had not been given time to review the changes before the meeting and felt the changes were too encompassing to consider in such a brief time. Approval of the ordinance was tabled until council meets on Feb. 4.

On first reading, an ordinance to update protection of sea turtles and threatened species passed by 7-0. Nancy Richie, city environmental specialist, said the revisions make the city's Land Development Codes more current, eliminate conflicts within city boundaries, and better align with Florida law.

Councilors appointed volunteer members to four advisory committees and the Planning Board. With only two applicants, council set aside appointments to the Arts Advisory Committee. Council also deferred appointments to the Audit Advisory Committee until closer to June 1.

The Beach Advisory Committee will include Ralph Barnhardt, Ruth McCann, Pattie Miller, Debbie Roddy, George Schmidt and Peter Clapp. Petricca passed on an appointment.

Returning to the Beautification Advisory Committee are Susan LaGrotta, Linda Colombo, Bob Kennedy and Syd Mellinger, New members are Peggy Anuta, Stan Niemczyk and Linda Turner.

New Parks and Recreation Committee members are Litha Berger and Gerald Swiacki. Returning are Rich Lutz, Val Simon, Greg West and Paul Meyer. Sacher passed on an appointment.

Planning Board members Bob Brown, Monte Lazarus and Jack Patterson will remain. New on the board are Frank Mulligan, Irv Povlow, Marty Roddy and past city councilor Bill Trotter.

The Waterways Advisory Committee will include returning members Richard Shanahan, Don Dilks, Jim Timmerman and Don Ricci, Jr. New members are Bill Bott, Peter Clapp and Brian Gilmore.

Council scheduled a workshop for 9 a.m., Monday, Feb.4, with a regularly scheduled City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. that evening. Both meetings will be held in the community meeting room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

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Comments » 7

ajm3s writes:

Folks, this story is interesting on several fronts as they relate to public records requests.

Mr. Honig as a council member is now publicly complaining of public records requests by another council member. WOW! [under the definition that compilation of data is outside the scope]

"Petricca was asking for much more than public records, Honig said, looking instead for staff to produce compilation and analysis of materials."

Wow! I guess Mr. Honig was absent when Mr. Magel was asking city (i.e. past financial director)to provide Powerpoint presentations on a host of issues to combat comments being made by citizens last year, especially those related to debt. Or is that NOT a public records request but rather simply a request by past Council chairman to direct staff. Oh yeah, he first asked the city manager, but in essence it was just a formality.

Folks, PAY ATTENTION!!

Note: At the last MIPO meeting of which Mr. Honig references in his attack regarding Mr. Petricca, there was a remark made by Mr. McMullen as to his request for public request for information regarding the Smokehouse Bridge project, denied by Ms. Litzan, City Clerk, on the grounds it would jeopardize homeland security. Interestingl, Mr. McMullan was able to obtain the same information requested from the city through the DOD.

Folks, this public records request stuff is getting interesting to say the least, from denials based on copyright infringement as in the case with Ms. Dayton in her request for drawings and documentation of city records pertaining specifically to her home, to homeland security as indicated above with Smokehouse bridge.

So the breadth of denial is wide and deep and I can only say, "WHY?"

Well, the responsibility lies with the City Clerk (Ms. Litzan) the gatekeeper of records, and quite frankly, I find such denials as bizarre. Or should we adopt Mr. Honig's perspective, the city staff is under "constant berating" with requests for information.

I believe Mr. Honig has lost focus (which is quite remarkable given his experience as a CEO) to waste public time to raisee an issue that was a comment made to members pf MIPO to assist in getting a glimpse of the mindset of the four newly elected council members.

Reminder: (especially to Mr. Honig) focus your attention on policy matters that effect the folks. This petty stuff is a distraction and council is to represent the residents of this island NOT city employees who may vote and live in anther community. If Mr. Honig is concerned about city employee treatment perhaps he can recommend SEIU to represent them. I voted for council members to represent me!

OH MY GOD What am I suggesting? SEIU?

Time for self medication, or a trip to the local watering hole for advice.

LOL

blogsmog writes:

Looks like Hoenig is atrue marco syndicate type..less transparency the better,,..Glenn tucker would be proud

lauralbi1 writes:

If you people would read the story and the quotes, or better yet, be there in person, you would know that Mr. Honig has/had NO issues or problems with Mr. Pettricia's Public Records requests.
The issue is that Mr. Petriccia is also requesting that City Staff, who work for us, not Mr. Petriccia, analyze, coallate and summarize the data in his requests so that he does not have to do it or so he can understand it better.
I would think, as a past Vice President of MITA, that Mr Petriccia would be ashamed and hesitant to request City Staff to do his personal "bidding" or better yet, Vedetta compilation. City Councilors are paid a yearly amount of money. If Mr. Petriccia desires, he can pay someone to do his personal organization and summarizing.
Nobody, including Mr. Honig, has any issues with the Public Records requests.
But maybe those above are not reading or are not willing to admit the extent of Mr. Petriccia's requests.
Ed Issler

OldMarcoMan writes:

Im confused, how did Trotter get appointed to a committee ?? I thought you had to be out of Government for a number of years before you could serve again??

marcofriend writes:

in response to OldMarcoMan:

Im confused, how did Trotter get appointed to a committee ?? I thought you had to be out of Government for a number of years before you could serve again??

The City Charter reads: "No former Council Member shall hold any COMPENSATED City position until four years after the expiration of the term for which the Council Member was elected".

OldMarcoMan writes:

Thank you all for clearing that up for me, I appreciate it.
One more question, is he, Trotter, still in line to get Donna's Job?

JohninMarco writes:

Note to Mr Honig. The city staff is being over used. I had to go to the city for a permit. At that meeting were 5 city employees plus 2 city board members. Talk about being over used. And 2 other city employees refused to be at the meeting. This for a silly one day event. Heaven help us if it was something serious!

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