As a past chairman of the Marco Island City Council and having served three plus years as a councilman, I watched Monday's meeting with disgust. The simple request by a councilor to have as a formal agenda item the question of "should the council authorize an investigation of undo influence by a councilman" was rejected by a 4 to 1 vote.

What are the four who voted "no" concerned about? As a formal agenda item, councilors would have to explain why they were for or against an investigation. Now the citizens of Marco Island can only guess what their motivations were.

The City Charter requires that councilmen only inquire of staff and that all other requests for accommodation go through the City Manager. It serves two purposes. First, you can only have one boss. Second, and much more importantly, city councilors should not have preferential treatment or favors by the city staff not afforded to the average citizen.

I heard the police chief's defense of his actions and have two immediate questions. How many citizens email him with code violations directly? How many citizens ask that a code violation be "adjudicated" and he responds, "Will do."

If the city council will not even discuss an impartial investigation, Freedom of Information Act requests should be initiated as follows:

* All emails from individual city councilors to city staff and all responses to those emails.

* All emails to the City Manager from individual city councilors and all responses to those emails.

Only then will the citizens know if and how much undo influence individual city councilors exert on city staff.

If the citizens of Marco Island cannot trust their elected representatives to be open and transparent on all issues before them without prejudice -- what's left?

Larry Magel

Former Marco Island City Council member

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