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Fifteen enter but how many will advance?

It’s not quite a steel cage match but the Marco Island City Council will grapple Monday with whittling down the list of 15 current candidates for its interim city manager position.

Since approving a timeline to work with the Florida City and County Management Association’s Senior Advisor Program, City Council has begun to receive and review resumes of individuals interested in serving the city in an interim capacity.

Ken Parker, one of the FCCMA’s nine senior advisors, has sent the council five candidates that were either retired or on its members in transition list. The remaining candidate resumes were taken from parties that expressed interest and had either emailed the council or city clerk’s office.

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The City Council has a checkered history for hiring its top position with it seeing a revolving door in the last few years. It’s most recent hire, Dr. Lee Niblock, lasted a little more than three months before the council voted to fire him with cause. 

At the time of his termination, Niblock was on administrative leave due to an investigation into battery allegations. During the investigation, which resulted in a misdemeanor charge being filed by the State Attorney’s Office, the city found that actions taken by Niblock during his tenure provided sufficient cause for his removal.

While the council voted to release a request for proposals for an executive search firm, it did not have the votes to hire any of the firms that responded to its request.

As an alternative to using a search firm, Vice-Chair Charlette Roman floated the idea of using the FCCMA’s Senior Advisor Program.

The program, which is of no cost to taxpayers, can help cities in the following ways:

  • Outlining to elected officials the placement process based on ICMA guidelines.
  • Determining qualifications, compensation and position requirements.
  • Assisting local staff with position advertisements.
  • Reviewing and recommending semi-finalist candidates based on position standards established by the governing body.
  • Providing assistance to the jurisdiction during the interview phase of the placement process.

In a memorandum to the City Council, Parker wrote that the candidate pool was smaller because it was choosing to hire an interim manager versus a permanent manager. Had the city asked for help with a permanent manager, Parker suggested the applicant pool likely would have been around 50.

Although the city is considering resumes from parties that previously expressed interest, Parker raised some concerns after reviewing them.

“It is my recommendation that no applicant be considered who has not submitted a current resume,” Parker wrote. “It is my recommendation that the city contact all the individuals who submitted resumes, emails, or letters of interest during March and April period and allow them an opportunity to provide an updated resume and letter of interest. Further, it is my recommendation that these individuals must submit new letters of interest and resumes not later than Friday.”

In considering the timeline the city voted to proceed with, Parker wrote that the council should select candidates it wants to interview at its Monday meeting. The following week, the city should commit to two days to interview the candidates, Parker said.

During the week of its Sept. 4 meeting, Parker suggested calling a special meeting to authorize negotiations with its selection after a background check was completed.

Under this updated timeline, the council could then consider the contract during the week of Sept. 10.

Parker also warned the council of having any contact with candidates outside of the Sunshine.

“In my professional opinion, any contact violates professional ethical standards,” Parker wrote.  “If I am notified of any contact, I will notify the entire City Council. This is an attempt to keep the process above board and transparent at all times.”

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