Appeal of former Marco city manager's termination cancelled

Devan Patel

A special Marco Island City Council meeting has been cancelled after former City Manager Dr. Lee Niblock withdrew his request for a public hearing to challenge his termination.

Lee Niblock, former Marco Island city manager

Sawyer Smith, the attorney representing Niblock, alerted City Attorney Alan Gabriel of the decision Tuesday afternoon, which prompted the city to cancel the meeting because Niblock’s appeal was the only item on the agenda.

“Please allow this letter to serve as notice that Dr. Lee A. Niblock will no longer be participating in the public hearing scheduled on April 4, 2018 as previously requested upon his termination as City Manager,” Smith wrote in a letter to Gabriel.

Former Marco Island City Manager Lee Niblock has withdrawn his request for a hearing to challenge his termination.

The City Council placed Niblock on administrative leave in February after allegations of battery emerged before terminating him for cause by a 7-0 vote on March 19. 

During that night’s council meeting, Gabriel found that Niblock took four actions that could be deemed cause of termination including interviewing a female job candidate at a restaurant and ordering wine.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office investigation is still ongoing. 

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More:Marco Island Council votes to fire City Manager Lee Niblock with cause

A second allegation of battery recently surfaced  for actions taken while he was the Alachua County Manager. Niblock has been charged with battery, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Niblock met Jessica Hurov, managing director of The Hippodrome Theater in Gainesville, on June 10 to discuss a “future job opportunity."

While driving Hurov to other locations related to the job, Niblock put his hand on Hurov's thigh and lifted the hem of her dress, the complaint reads.

Although Finance Director Guillermo Polanco has been serving as interim city manager, the council has yet to make a decision on who or how it will fill the position permanently.