Guest commentary: Do the right thing Marco City Council

Joe Batte
Former Marco Island City Councilor

Police Chief Al Schettino and his police officers were there for us during the disastrous hurricane Irma.

Joe Batte

When a series of school shootings took place in other areas of our country, it was Chief Al who quickly placed school resource police officers in our Marco Island schools to keep our children safe.

It was Chief Al who brought community policing to Marco Island, whereby police interaction and visibility with citizens became a reality and replaced mere police patrols.

As citizens we began to interact and get to know our police officers out in the community every day, instead of merely seeing them in patrol cars. And as a result of Chief Al’s dedicated leadership, 10 years of service, and love for his city, Marco Island has been named one of the safest cities in the state.

Along with being our chief, Al Schettino is our neighbor and to so many of us, our friend.  He is involved in numerous organizations in the city, social, religious and otherwise. You see, Chief Al is a warm, dedicated public servant and has captured the hearts of so many of us Marco residents as well as neighboring law enforcement agencies who have supported our police officers more than ever, thanks to their great respect for Chief Al.

So now I must ask all seven of you elected councilors, wouldn’t you agree with me, having been a fellow city councilor for the past eight plus years and serving with six of you, that I am correct about Chief Al? Of course, you would!

Marco Island Police Chief Al Schettino

So again, I must ask, why do you sit on your hands and allow a temporary interim city manager, a stranger to our city who will be gone in August, to force your chief and neighbor and friend, into early retirement? Are there not four of you who would agree that Chief Al doesn’t deserve to be treated this way?

So, I ask you again, as I did publicly at the April 15 City Council meeting, please stop the recruitment of a new police chief and save the $18,000. of taxpayer money you will use for this.

Listen to the pleas of your constituents to keep Chief Al. have the courage at the next City Council meeting, to offer a motion to have the temporary, interim city manager reconsider the replacement of our chief at this time and agree to a period of continued service from Chief Al under the direction of your new full-time city manager.

The motion would be an attempt to erase a temporary city manager decision that would smack of government wrongdoing!

This person you hire will be totally committed to our city, unlike a temporary stranger whose name will be forgotten in August, but the pain he will create will linger with us forever.

Please don’t let this bad decision be your legacy as dedicated city councilors!

Don’t let this flawed decision hurt your chances for reelection should you decide to do so!