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[Editor's note: We received more letters than space would allow us to print in today's issue. We'll have more reaction to the city manager decision in Friday's issue of the Marco Eagle.]  

 

A failed process

Councilors, on Wednesday four of you made a terrible choice to reject an excellent city manager candidate.

I expected Batte and Brown to be the typical naysayers; they always are, but I was truly disappointed to Councilors Reed and Roman.

I campaigned for and helped elect four like-minded candidates last year that would work together to move this city in the right direction.

On Wednesday, Reed and Roman betrayed their colleagues that helped them get elected and they betrayed the people who voted for them.

There were over 140 people at the meet and greet at Mango's that were happy and excited to welcome city manager candidate, Josh Gruber and his wife into our community.

Every single speaker that took time out of their Wednesday night to come to the special meeting discussing the selection of a city manager, spoke in favor of Mr. Gruber and asked the council to hire him.

Mr. Gruber would have been a breath of fresh air for Marco Island but Reed and Roman decided to keep stinking up the place with flip-flopping, murky logic, and giving far too much credibility to the handful of bitter complainers who always have something negative to say.

Councilor Roman flip-flopped so many times, its hard to keep track. She went from being a vehement defender of the city manager selection process, to suddenly criticizing the process at Monday's city council meeting and then backtracked again at Wednesday's special meeting saying she would respect the process which led us all to Gruber, she led the audience on an emotional roller-coasting making them believe that she was going to support Mr. Gruber, only to cast her vote against him.

It is every bit as confusing and convoluted as it sounds. In the end, she exposed herself as a rudderless hypocrite.

As bad as Councilor Roman's performance was, it was nothing compared to Councilor Reed's absolutely obnoxious Powerpoint presentations where he wasting the audience's valuable time and his fellow councilors time as he tried to lead everyone down the black hole that is his murky logic. His presentation was definitely the low point of the night. He came off as self-important and condescending and totally failed in his attempt to convince anyone of his position. In truth, he infuriated most of the people in the room.

Councilors Grifoni, Honig and Rios deserve to be commended. They were well-spoken and heartfelt and gave a clear and glowing endorsement and vote of support for Joshua Gruber while demonstrating his experience and abilities. I am totally convinced that they wanted the best for Marco Island and that hiring Mr. Gruber would have set us on that path. Their hands are clean of whatever mess transpires because of the embarrassing failure of Councilors Batte, Brown, Reed and Roman.

The Council is completely dysfunctional. There was no cooperation or harmony to effectively lead. The process set up by the Council failed. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. A new search will have the same results -- no city manager.

We need a new process. This will mean a change to the city charter. The citizens of Marco Island need referendum election on proposed amendments to the Marco Island city charter relating to the type of government we utilize as the current selection is not functional.

I highly suggest we take serious consideration in changing the city charter and type of government to a "strong" mayor/City Council government.

Council members have a duty to carefully consider the needs of Marco Island and its people, as we desperately need a leader to move Marco Island forward.

I believe "Strong" mayor/council government is the only way forward, as the current council/manager government on Marco Island has demonstrated itself to be a total failure and [Wednesday's] meeting was an admission of that fact by each and every council member criticizing their own process and admitting failure in their elected job execution.

Adam Urban, Marco Island

Guidance

The debacle of Wednesday’s City Council meeting was once again an embarrassment to Marco Island.
As someone who has hired hundreds of people in the past and served on a public board in another state that was charged with hiring what was the administrative equivalent of a city manager, I would like to offer some guidance. 
If you are not comfortable with the possibility of being faced with only one finalist, do not limit yourself to interviewing only two people.  When our board did our hiring, we interviewed seven and then narrowed it down to our top two at which time we held further interviews as well as scheduling the opportunity to interact in a social situation. We had a high degree of confidence in both of the finalists and had one withdrawn, probably would have been comfortable with making a final decision. Perhaps you were trying to do it “on the cheap” by only bringing in two for interviews? Trying to do something as important as hire a city manager on the cheap never pays off. 
If lack of city manager experience is something that will preclude you from hiring an individual, then make that experience a requirement. How absurd to not list that as a requirement and then use it as an excuse to tell the public why you are not hiring someone. That is unfair and dishonest to the candidates as well as the citizens of Marco Island. As a resident of this city, I am mystified how if city manager experience was important to you, you would have unanimously selected this candidate as a finalist. 
I also would suggest that if you want to give members of the public at least the illusion that you are listening to their input, then do not construct a Power Point presentation justifying your decision prior to hearing that input. 
Best wishes as you go back to “Square one”.

Vickie Kelber

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