Marco council makes effort to address staff concerns

Lisa Conley
Marco Eagle

Earlier this year the Marco Island City Council commissioned an organizational climate survey of the city staff; the results were primarily negative, and council’s behavior – especially with regards to its interactions with staff at public meetings – was one of the most glaring criticisms. Now the councilors are striving to address that issue, as well as the staff's other concerns.

City of Marco Island Government Center sign.

More:City of Marco Island employees feel grim about the future

During Monday night’s City Council meeting, councilor Charlette Roman informed her peers of an opportunity to receive leadership training from the Florida League of Cities, and she reminded the council of its need to start acting on the staff's recommendations from the survey.

 “As you know our staff organizational climate survey … resulted in some comments that showed us that there’s some room for improvement,” she said. “The staff suggested that councilors needed to develop more appropriate relationships with the city manager as well as the staff ... and this is the staff that just poured their hearts out and worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week or nine days or 12 days, to really serve this community during the latest disaster.”

Roman said Dr. Scott Paine, director of leadership development and education for the Florida League of Cities, would provide the training She highly recommended that council add it to this month's calendar, especially since it would be at no cost to the city.

Marco Island city councilor Charlette Roman during her time on the Planning Board.

“I think the evidence indicates that the Marco Island City Council can benefit from a presentation, or separate workshop, on the role of a city council,” she said, “and I think our citizens can (benefit) as well.”

Although all of the councilors agreed it was a worthwhile idea, they took issue with the timing.

“I’d like to commend councilor Roman for the suggestion,” councilor Victor Rios said. “However … we’re in the process of having a new city manager and I’d like (the new manager) to be a part of this process.”

Councilor Joe Batte agreed.

“It’s a good idea, but bad timing,” he said.

However Roman said undergoing the training now will show the city manager candidates, as well as the city's residents, that the council is serious about bettering itself.

"The timing was such that it would be before we hired the city manager just so we can show that we're moving forward ... and are really committed to a better government, an effective government," she said. "This is really a golden opportunity for us."

Councilor Howard Reed said the city has already begun to move forward, in part thanks to Hurricane Irma.

"I personally think that the City Council is doing a very good job, and city staff is doing a very good job, and I think we've been learning things ... about working together that would trump any kind of training," he said. "It's sort of like when you go to these retreat seminars and people learn how to trust each other by falling backwards into someone's arms. That's a nice, artificial exercise. You want a real trust exercise? Go through a hurricane. I don't think any training or seminar will give us one percent of what we've learned the past month."

Roman said she would try to find a better time for the training.

In other business

The council approved the Fiscal Year 2018 budget and millage rate. There will be a more comprehensive article about the budget in a future edition of the Eagle.

Council's next regular meeting is 5:30 p.m. Oct. 16 in the community room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive. There will also be a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 18 to review the new list of city manager semi-finalists.