[Editor’s note: Due to a large number of letters received about the city manager’s resignation, there were many more than we could print in today’s edition. Check back Friday for an expanded letters page. Letters that meet our guidelines are published in the order in which it is received.]

Outraged by the spineless behavior

I would like to begin by thanking Marco Island councilors Batte and Brown for showing the citizens of Marco Island that they have dignity, intelligence and class in their performance on the City Council. Unfortunately, they are the only ones serving on the council who do. They are quite obviously the only councilors who have backbones.

I was outraged by the spineless behavior of the rest of our City Council at the Feb. 6 meeting. By accepting the resignation of City Manager Roger Hernstadt, they fulfilled the promise that they made to the person who organized their sneaky little platform of four in November’s election. I wonder if these four puppets can sleep at night or look at themselves in the mirror. If I was in their shoes right now, I certainly would be unable to do so. But maybe that is because I am an independent thinker. Maybe that is because I have a conscience. I doubt that they could even understand what that means.

City Manager Hernstadt was an asset to city government. He performed his job with honesty, integrity, intelligence and responsibility. Since he has been city manager, my taxes have gone down each year, while city services on Marco Island have improved. He has touched Marco Island in other positive ways as well. He and his wife Jessica have contributed significantly to the good of this community with their time, talents and even their personal money. I have had the honor and pleasure of working with Jessica Hernstadt on committees and events for the American Cancer Society, Kiwanis, Meals of Hope and other organizations. Roger and Jessica brought the island together in a spirit of generosity and volunteerism. Roger and Jessica Hernstadt are two of the finest people I know.

The foursome of Chairman Honig, and Councilors Reed, Roman and Grifoni were able to bamboozle the voters of Marco Island back in November with their fancy signage and advertisements. But I think their days of bamboozling are over as they have exposed themselves for what they really are.

When I asked one of these four councilors if the rumors of their anti-Hernstadt agenda were true, he looked me right in the eye and denied them. In hindsight, that sends chills through me. It would be interesting to hear what this individual has to say for himself now. To be honest with you, I really don’t care what he would say, because it would surely be just another lie disguised as one of his “divine” insights. I can assure you, there is nothing divine about an elected official who not only denies the truth, but chooses to serve in his elected position with total disregard for the very people who voted for him, only addressing and adhering to his own personal agenda and that of his puppeteer.

My husband and I have been homeowners on Marco Island since 1997. We knew this island before it was an incorporated city. We have seen many things happen. Some good, and some bad. The Feb. 6 City Council meeting was by far the worst thing we have ever seen.

Maureen Chodaba, Marco Island       

Shame on you

We have just lost the best city manager Marco Island has ever had I watched the council meeting where the chairman, Larry Honig, would not allow any citizens to speak about Roger Hernstadt’s accomplishments.

Hernstadt has done a great job for this city and will be surly missed. I would like to review some of those accomplishments:

  • Pension reviews and negotiations.
  • Bucket list which will put the xity out of debt in 3-5 years.
  • Hiring a lobbyist that has saved the city millions of dollars.
  • Negotiating new parking spaces which is one of our major problems.

The newly elected council has done reputable damage to our city. Hernstadt cosigned an application in order to move the application forward. This was not an endorsement.

Again I must say, shame on you.

Herb Jermanok, Marco Island

Open Letter to Roger Hernstadt

Dear Mr. Hernstadt: I am very sorry to hear of your resignation as Marco Island’s city manager.

It is regrettable that some of our councilors failed to set aside emotions and find a civil, constructive, businesslike manner in which to work with you on their issues of concern. It was the hope of many citizens that these issues would be resolved by councilors working with you using civil communication and with a “let’s roll up our shirt sleeves and constructively work together” attitude. We are truly saddened that did not happen.

I wish to sincerely thank you for:

  • Always having an open door policy for all citizens and councilors. 
  • Embracing Marco Island by participating in 99 percent of our community and fundraising events. You have cooked countless hot dogs, burgers and pancakes to benefit others. 
  • Generously donating your personal money for many good causes on Marco Island. 
  • Saving us taxpayers a ton of money by instituting the bucket plan to fund current city building assets, replace vehicles, road resurfacing and drainage projects, and $3.5 million for replacement of the dilapidated Mackle Park Community Center.
  • Negotiating the police and fire pensions saving taxpayers millions over the life of current and future contracts.  
  • Hiring the state lobbyist who obtained $2.5 million plus for Marco Island, and hopefully, will obtain another $1.5 million in applications currently under review.

Last but not least, I thank you for bringing into our lives, your wife Jessica, a lovely lady who also wholeheartedly embraced our community.

You will be missed. I wish both of you good health, good luck, and much happiness. As we say in our church, “Peace be with you.”

Linda Turner, Marco Island

Contrasting thoughts

It’s disappointing to read comments of respected Marco Islanders imitating attitudes of losers in our recent presidential elections.

When accusations are spewed against Marco’s new councilors, without a speck of supporting evidence, it’s reminiscent of the senseless actions taken against our new president for no proven reason other than that he was elected.

Some Marcoites wail over city manager Hernstadt’s resignation, leveling the blame on the new councilors, but offering no proof. Others incredibly urge the city to “rise up in arms to stop this City Council … ” Yes, honest! Others forewarn ominously that our fire and/or police chief might be the next victims “hunted down” while still another feels it’s OK if a city manager signs the city unto a multi-million dollar development application without authorization.

Here are some contrasting thoughts regarding the city manager’s resignation: Roger Hernstadt certainly numbers among Marco’s better city managers. Much of his performance in office was indeed admirable. However, I wouldn’t regard him as irreplaceable. His letter of resignation cited only vague reasons for his departure. It should have been presented personally at the council meeting, not in absentia by the city Attorney. Hernstadt was being paid to attend.

Hernstadt chose to leave office immediately, ignoring his contractual obligation to give 45-day notice of resignation. Although quitting immediately, Hernstadt [will] be paid for the next five months, until July 7, 2017.

Apparently, Mr. Hernstadt’s “love and devotion” towards Marco ranks right up there with his loyalty to former employers Miami and Marathon. He leaves when something better comes along, and that’s rather normal. Accordingly, please do save the rocks being thrown to City Council for when they’re deserved.

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

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