MAILBAG: More comment on city's new rental ordinance
Harassment of Victor Rios
I write to you to in the hopes that you can cease the frequent and continuing harassment of councilor Rios by some members the council especially by Mr. Honecker. Does Mr. Honecker have an outside agenda with Mr Rios that he is bringing to the council. His frequent looking at the ceiling and loud and obvious exhale of breath because Mr Rios is asking for more information are so insulting. Let us get things straight Mr. Honecker you have been a disappointment for the people of Marco Island you are not following what they have asked you to do but do only what you want.
Instead of asking how many meetings Mr. Rios has had with city manager, how many meetings have you had with the people of Marco Island who you represent, which I deem as much important. Mr. Sacher started this last year and gave the citizens a chance to voice their ideas in an open forum. What a great idea! We are only allowed four during a council meeting for an explanation of an issue and no response.
Hernstadt correcting city problems
First and foremost allow me to congratulate and thank the Marco Island City Council for finally locating and hiring a city manager with the requisite knowledge and experience to effectively help our temporary elected officials govern wisely.
Mr. Hernstadt's impressive credentials and professionalism will hopefully bring stability and consistency to our island and its political process.
The days when city council members could shy away from making the difficult decisions or blame their actions on a lack of knowledgeable information have come to an abrupt halt. I can see why a couple of the current council members (Rios and Petricca) are uncomfortable with this new reality.
I was impressed with Mr. Hernstadt's proposed tax increase to make Marco Island debt-free in five years. A simple yet eloquent, long overdue solution.
Every organization has a chain of command. Without it chaos ensues. To criticize a city manager for requiring city department heads to report and become accountable is shameful.
Since our city chose not to have a mayor or city president the only way for information to be accurately conveyed is though a chain of command from the department heads to the city manager to the council members.
The job of city manager is one most of us would never undertake. To place your future in the hands of essentially temporary workers (elected officials) is not in my comfort zone. I personally do not want our city manager to be the winner of a popularity contest. His tenure should be based on his abilities and fortitude to take on the difficult problems of governing.
Mr. Herstadt has demonstrated this ability by immediately correcting serious problems that plagued the police department, confusion in the arena of code enforcement and future planning for our island.
I find it extremely troubling that councilmen Rios and Petricca feel the need to satiate their egos by attacking Mr. Hernstadt's actions yet ignoring his achievements.
Our island needs stability, consistency, experience and professionalism to successfully and fiscally guide us in the years ahead. Mr. Hernstadt is just the person for the job. I hope to see him in his position as long as he needs to correct the missteps of past leaders and establish an atmosphere conducive to encouraging cooperation and doing what's in the best interest for the entire island.
Effective city manager
I have worked in public service for 41 years and in administration for 35 of those years. During that time I have worked for three mayors and over a dozen city managers. With this experience I have seen effective and ineffective managers. There were certain qualities observed with each of these managers.
The ineffective managers were inconsistent, avoided controversial issues, blamed everyone and had poor communication skills with the public. Those individuals swayed with the political winds, did not immerse themselves into the community nor did they attempt to mentor, get feedback or guide department directors and city staff. It was all about them and keeping their job.
The best or effective managers were seen with a passion for their job, they lead by example and were extremely involved in the community. They looked to the future and brought forward proposed solutions and options for both positive and controversial issues. They made decisions. These managers built a strong team with their department directors and challenged employees to work to their fullest potential. These effective leaders solicited opinions and encouraged feedback from all citizens and employees.
It has been my experience with city manager Hernstadt over these last 15 months to count him among the best and an effective leader. He is out in the community all the time, attending any event on any subject when asked, invites staff to events and attempts to address and resolve citizen and city problems. He has challenged employees with the motto to lead by example, give back to the community and respect the public we serve just as we would want to be.
Our opinions and input on issues are welcomed at staff meetings and not always agreed with but at least we are asked. Hernstadt encourages the ownership of projects and with that comes accountability. He looks for innovation among his staff and brings experience and leadership to the table on many issues. Employees are urged and given the opportunity to do their best.
If any employee is seeking out council with complaints of this manager's decisions, supervision techniques or management style effecting their areas of responsibility they should, make an appointment and speak with him, speak up at staff meetings or maybe they don't wish to take ownership of their duties or have another agenda. Make the appointment.
As a city we have been lucky to have a few professional managers and he is one of them.
Thanks for help
One of the most wonderful things about living in our island paradise is the tremendous level of community involvement here on Marco Island. That was truly on display at the recent WEAR IT! event sponsored by the Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron. I am deeply appreciative of all of the civic and social groups that turned out to spread the word that lives can be saved if boaters will simply wear their life jackets.
Thank you to the city of Marco Island, its Police and Fire and Rescue Departments, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 9-5, the Marco Island Sportfishing Club, the Yacht Club, the Collier County Sheriff's Office, local media and radio stations, and to all of the members of these organizations and to other community members who showed up in support of their neighbors' safety and well being.
A special note of thanks is due to Dan High, manager of Rose Marina, for hosting the event, providing the crane for picture taking, coffee for attendees, and for donating an inflatable life jacket for the raffle. Thank you also to John Burton of Snikwah, who donated three SUV protective shirts and a second inflatable life jacket. This support from local businesses is much appreciated.
None of this would have worked as well as it did without the involvement from the organizations and businesses listed above. On behalf of our citizenry who may be just a bit safer due to wearing a life jacket while boating as a result of the WEAR IT! event, thank you.
Peggy Reiss, Commander
Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron
Rental ordinance circulating
After receiving petition approval from the Marco Island City attorney, the Committee to Repeal the Ordinance has sent electronic versions of the petition and ordinance to concerned residents and organizations for distribution. The committee chose multiple distribution channels including email from the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce (link available for petition download with instructions); the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors (links for download); website download, and hardcopy versions of the petition at many public locations.
Residents who have received an electronic copy of the petition can print all 10 pages (11 with instructions), sign your name as it appears on your voter registration card (or alternatively your Florida driver's license), enter your Marco Island street address, enter your precinct number (if known), enter today's date, and return via mail or drop off.
You may also download a copy from the committee website: mymarcoisland.com.
Competed versions of the petition can be dropped off or mailed to the following locations: Marco Island Chamber of Commerce, 1102 N. Collier Blvd; Marco Island Area Association of Realtors, 140 Waterway Dr.; Berkshire Hathaway Rentals, 900 North Collier; Horizons Rentals, 661 S. Collier Blvd. Completed petitions mailed should be addressed to "Rental Petition" at any of the above addresses on Marco Island.
Important: Your signed petition must arrive by June 15, 2015. Taxpayers who are not registered voters can't sign the petition. They cab send emails/letters to the editor at this paper and to city council. Share your thoughts. As a Marco Island taxpayer, the committee believes your tax dollars entitle you to a voice in city governance.
Additional press releases will follow the progress of this petition initiative. We ask that concerned Marco Island voters join our efforts.
Anyone interested in assisting this effort to repeal the ordinance is encouraged to contact the Committee in Support of Marco Island Referendum Petition on Ordinance 15-01.
Property owners oppose petition drive
The Marco Island Property Owners rejects the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce's petition drive to repeal the recently passed rental ordinance.
The chamber of commerce, together with a group of self-interested Realtors, has made the political decision to support a challenge against the city council's passage of the rental ordinance. The chamber has acquired a mailing list of Marco Island voters and is actively soliciting voters to sign a petition demanding repeal of the ordinance. The chamber claims this is to improve the quality of life on Marco Island. The chamber's definition of quality of life appears to be focused on economic gain.
In reality, there was overwhelming evidence presented to city council that the quality of life on the Island was being disrupted by unruly rental practicesand there is a need for an enforceable ordinance to protect that quality of life. Significantly, quality of life complaints included home rentals as well as condominium rentals. Councilman Honecker stated at the last council meeting that 25 percent of complaints originated at condominiums.
Clearly, the chamber's motives in this political decision against a rental ordinance is profit driven at the expense of the quality of life of taxpayers and property owners of Marco. MIPO's vision of quality of life encompasses the beauty of our island paradise and tranquility in and around its residences. All property owners should question chamber of commerce administration and members as to the logic for choosing profits for themselves versus quality of life for Marco Island residents.
Marco Island Property Owners board of directors
Regarding the petition to repeal the rental ordinance
Shame on the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has aligned itself with the Realtors in an effort to damage the homeowners of Marco Island. The chamber is assisting in gathering petition signatures to repeal the rental ordinance. They are attempting scare tactics to gather signatures by telling homeowners that their property values will decrease if the ordinance goes into effect.
On the contrary, property values will increase because it will create accountability for rental properties. A person wishing to buy a house or a condo will know that they can depend on the city to enforce ordinances regarding noise, occupancy, trash and safety. Without the registration of rental properties, prospective buyers cannot identify who their neighbor will be and if they would be willing to live next to a rental property.
Most signatories on the original petition are Realtors. They make money selling properties and acting as rental agents. They are not concerned about those of us who live here full time or most of the year. They are happy to turn over a property (gaining a commission) and then act as a rental agent so that the buyer can afford the property he has just purchased. I know most agents are honest business men and women and are careful to whom they rent. To those honest realtors I see that there is no way that this ordinance negatively affects them. It actually insures a better quality of life for everyone.
The chamber's mission according to the petition is to "promote a healthy business and tourism climate in order to protect the quality of life in the community." Are the majority of business owners on the island in agreement with this special interest group in becoming politically active and alienate the community who live here all or most of the year? Most single family homeowners as well as a number of condo owners support the ordinance statistics since January have shown that 25 percent of noise complaints to the police have come from condos. I do not want our island paradise to become a transient rental community like Myrtle Beach. If someone wishes to rent their home or condo I do not have a problem with it as long as they do it in a way that it does not negatively affect my quality of life.
Shame on the chamber and shame on the Realtors who are attempting to repeal this much needed piece of legislation. This is not government over-reach.
Dr. Gerald R. Swiacki