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The Marco Island City Council approved unanimously on Monday the contract of Mike McNees, the new city manager. His starting date will be July 1.

McNees told the Marco Eagle that his top priority as city manager will be the city budget, currently being workshopped, and the hiring of a new police chief after questionable decisions and embarrassing incidents by former Police Chief Al Schettino led to his unexpected retirement.

More: Marco Island City Council selects Mike McNees to be next city manager

“Beyond that, it’s kind of too soon for me to say where I think my attention needs to be until I go through the process of assessing the organization (the city government) and getting to know the people,” McNees said.

The contract includes an initial $185,000 salary with a matching contribution to his 401(k), which cannot exceed 6.5 percent, as previously reported by Marco Eagle.

The City Council may increase or decrease McNees’ salary based on his performance as city manager, according to the contract.

McNees is also eligible to receive up to $15,000 in relocation assistance, among other benefits like $400 per month for automobile expenses.

Other than for reasons of misconduct and ethical violations, McNees would be entitled to receive a severance payment equal to 10 weeks of his regular base salary if the City Council decides to terminate his contract within the first two years of employment or 20 weeks if terminated anytime thereafter.

More: Current Marco city manager candidates fell victim to politics in losing previous positions

City Council Chairman Erik Brechnitz said during the meeting he was satisfied with the contract.

“In any contract of this kind, neither party gets everything they want,” Brechnitz said. “I know that Mike didn’t get everything he wanted, and we didn’t get everything we wanted but I think it’s a good contract for both entities.”

Brechnitz also said he was confident McNees would be an exceptional city manager.

“I have no doubt that he will be … the most successful manager we have ever had,” Brechnitz said.

Likewise, Vice-Chair Victor Rios said he is confident that McNees will be the best city manager Marco island has ever had.

“That’s my expectation and I hope to see that happen,” Rios said.

The City Council’s road to finding a permanent manager and providing stability to the government has been long and winding for the past few years. Following the resignation of Roger Hernstadt two years ago, the City Council struggled to stop the revolving door in the city manager’s office.

Councilor Charlette Roman said she expects McNees to continue the path of David Harden, the current city manager, and bring “effective government” to the people of Marco Island.

“They (Marco Islanders) deserve a government where they can go to City Hall and get … the most exceptional services possible within the budget,” Roman said.

Tax dollars were on Councilor Jared Grifoni's mind, as the top issue for the new city manager.   

“My top three priorities for the city manager would be to present a fiscally conservative budget that meets the needs of our community, to effectively administer the policies set by City Council, and to improve the overall level of service and responsiveness delivered to our citizens from the city government,” said Councilor Jared Grifoni.

“Having success in these three areas will go a long way towards de-politicizing the position and will help our city continue forward in a positive direction,” he said. 

Regarding the police department issues, Grifoni said the new city manager will need to "judiciously review the problems that have come to light and take action that he and the new police chief believe will be in the best interest of the community. It's also important that the City Council provide leadership and support, where appropriate and necessary, including on serious matters requiring further investigation."

Additional staff reporting by Devan Patel.

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