Marco Island City Manager Roger Hernstadt resigned effective immediately during the Feb. 6 City Council meeting. He's been the city manager since Jan. 31, 2014.
Hernstadt, who was not at the meeting, submitted a letter of resignation to city attorney Alan Gabriel, who read the letter to the council.
Hernstadt said he felt it was no longer in the best interests of the city for him to be the city manager.
Councilors Joe Batte and Bob Brown moved to reject Hernstadt's resignation, citing the good that he’s done for the city and hinting that his sudden resignation might be the result of recent political issues, namely a developer’s controversial application to build a hotel near Veterans Community Park; Hernstadt signed the application, without the council's approval, designating the city a co-applicant.
Ultimately, the council accepted Hernstadt’s resignation 5-2, with Batte and Brown dissenting. One resident said accepting Hernstadt's resignation was a "serious mistake (that would) destroy the city.”
The council then discussed the matter of a replacement city manager. In his letter Hernstadt said he would be willing to remain as city manager until his contract expires on July 7, 2017, but — in a phone call with City Council Chairman Larry Honig during a 15-minute recess — he urged the City Council to move forward, and expressed his desire to “focus on personal transition … immediately.”
Hernstadt will be paid for the remainder of his contract.
The City Council decided to respect Hernstadt’s wishes and appointed Finance Director Guillermo Polanco as acting city manager. The council will have a special workshop at 5 p.m. Wednesday to discuss appointing a new city manager.
Hernstadt began his career in 1980 as the code compliance manager for the Public Works Department of Miami-Dade County. He then served as chief of causeways and special taxing districts, chief of public services and administration, and assistant director of public works.
He later joined the Miami-Dade County manager’s office as the capital improvement coordinator and the director of the office of capital improvements. He also served as assistant city manager/chief of staff for the city of Miami. Before moving to Marco Island, Hernstadt was the city manager of Marathon.