MARCO ISLAND — After eight years on City Council, Bill Trotter knows a lot about how Marco Island city government works or doesn’t work. He served as council chairman, represented the island on the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and was instrumental in making the second, parallel span of the Jolley Bridge a reality, and without charging tolls.
When the wholesale housecleaning of City Council incumbents took place in last fall’s election, Dr. Trotter left office but only because he was term-limited from running again. After serving on the council, he accepted an unpaid volunteer position on the city’s planning board, continuing to work on the issues he feels are critical for the future of the island he adopted as his home.
And the current members of the council often call on Trotter’s expertise, particularly when it comes to questions of long-range planning or budgetary matters. He sees these, the impact of population expansion, and keeping an eye and a hand on the city’s purse strings, as some of the biggest challenges to maintaining Marco Island’s quality of life.
“We’re under such pressure from growth off the island. And being an island, we need constant attention, and infrastructure like bridges,” he said. “My real emphasis is the council needs to get much more involved in the budgetary process, at a greater level of detail.”
Trotter believes the City Council’s Budgetary Sub-Committee should identify areas of concern, but that the entire council needs to delve more into those expenditures.
“My frustration is I was not on the budgetary sub-committee. Our expenses were up significantly between fiscal year ’12 and ’13. But this council is doing a better job getting involved,” he said. “People have said to me, ‘you held the line until we got in a more fiscally conservative group.’
Trotter said one of the benefits of being a former city councilor is that he does not have to be there gavel to gavel for the meetings.
“I don’t want to interfere, but I try to provide what I call the longitudinal view on major issues. I just turned 70, and my tolerance for long hours at the City Council is down. Now I can go, speak my piece and leave early.”
Another benefit is having the time to look after his other interests, his day job as a management consultant, head of an organization uniting and representing internal consultants in corporations, and author of three books, with a fourth in the works. The latest book, published earlier this year, is entitled “Internal Consulting Excellence: An Increasingly Essential Capability for Any Organization.”
The next book will focus on ROI, or return on investment, he said.
“My relatives ask, “What do you do for fun?’ Reading and writing, that’s my fun.”
Trotter has enjoyed a long and fruitful career in the corporate and academic worlds, teaching at Pace University in New York, where he earned his doctorate and valedictorian honors, to go with his MBA from George Washington University and his bachelor’s from Maryland, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. His years in the business world, starting with AT&T, included stints with major consulting firms and running his own.
Now Trotter is ready to downsize his lifestyle a little. Sitting in the library of the spacious home he and his wife Beverly built, with a spiral staircase leading up to a book-lined loft, 4,000 square feet of space under air and sweeping water views in three directions from the lanai, Trotter said they are preparing to leave the house, but not the island, behind.
“We’ll probably get a condo on the beach,” he said. Business travel and recreation they are avid skiers have taken the couple all over the world, but Bill Trotter said when they found Marco Island, they knew that was where they would settle. They moved here from Oldwick, New Jersey, outside New York City, and “our old stomping ground,” Ocean City, Maryland. Bill and Beverly have two daughters in New Jersey, and two grandchildren.
Bill Trotter garners high praise from those with whom he worked in local government.
“He is such a gentleman, and so knowledgeable,” said County Commissioner Donna Fiala, who worked with Trotter on the Jolley Bridge expansion project. “He always comes prepared, and that impresses me.”
“Bill is the model of a public official. Whether you agree with him or not, he’s never anything less than totally professional and businesslike,” said Joe Batte, current City Council chairman. “No matter how you come at him, he will give you a respectful response. I’ve learned a lot from him. With Bill, everything is for the good of the city.”