How many investigations are necessary?

For the past few weeks, councilor Rios on multiple occasions has requested for an independent investigation of allegations involving another Marco Island councilor, the city manager, the city attorney, the city charter and the police department.

The Marco Island City Charter does not give council any authority to investigate other councilors or the city attorney.

The city charter does allow, upon the affirmative vote of five or more council members, authority to conduct investigations into the activities of city departments, administration, city manager and employees. Council may act on any findings as it determines to be in the best interest of the city.

Two independent agencies, the State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Ethics Commission have both been contacted to conduct an investigation of the Brien Spina case, councilor Joe Batte, and the leak of an incomplete police report. These agencies have the legal ability to gather evidence and, if necessary, prosecute.

An appropriate and valid process for the State Attorney’s Office and the Ethics Commission to investigate has been approved. There is no need for Mr. Rios to continue insisting on yet another independent investigation that would unnecessarily spend taxpayer dollars. Let these agencies do their job!

Linda J. Turner, chair

Marco Island Property Owners

Don’t underestimate petitioners

It seems most people believe that councilor Ken Honecker will make a motion to repeal the very controversial short term rental ordinance at the next city council meeting. That will likely be the case. This would, in many peoples’ minds, leave the way clear for an immediate new motion to introduce a new version of the short term rental ordinance.

This will be a way for the council to avoid the March 2016 referendum, but still get a modification of the short term rental ordinance (probably with condos exempted) passed. Council feels that the ordinance, exempting condo's, will be more acceptable to the citizens of Marco. Don't underestimate the petitioners.

Bill Harris

Marco Island

Council ill-prepared or unsuited

Predictably, the Batte/email issue was going to boil over into this past Monday’s City Council meeting. I watched fellow Islanders express their opinions that they believed an independent investigation into whether the Batte emails violated the city charter was appropriate. In response, Council voted to discuss the possibility of an investigation at the next meeting. Council eventually went on recess, most people in attendance left (myself included), and then they came back and flip flopped the decision at the end of the meeting!

In July, an ill-conceived motion was put forth by Councilor Ken Honecker to amend one portion of the rental ordinance. This would have restarted fight and solved nothing. Ultimately, Council voted for a March 2016 referendum. Finally, we can move on, right? Nope. Councilor Honecker made a new motion at the August 3 meeting to debate once again, whether or not the ordinance should be rescinded! All of this occurred during approximately 40 minutes of a comedy of errors masquerading as a “debate” over the proper procedure for adding items to a future agenda.

Putting aside whether an independent investigation should be conducted or whether you support or oppose the rental ordinance, our council, as a whole, continues to demonstrate that they either ill-prepared or unsuited for the duties required of them. Just about the only thing you can count on is that there will be flip-flops, mistakes, do-overs, misunderstandings, revotes, procedurals errors, and a rehashing of all issues of major importance. This, to me, indicates that our Council is not prepared and is making decisions flying by the seat of their pants without proper justification or contemplation over the direct or unintended consequences of their actions.

We may need to start stamping our council agenda with “Warning: Do not blink! Council liable to radically change course without notice!” Marco Islanders are justifiably frustrated with the actions of this council. This is bad government and a disservice to the people of Marco Island.

Jared Grifoni

Marco Island

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